By Scott Malone
BOSTON (Reuters) - An effort to extend the imprisonment of the long-term girlfriend of former Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger for refusing to say whether anyone helped the couple during their 16 years on the lam is unfair, the woman's identical twin sister said on Thursday.
Catherine Greig, 64, who is already serving an eight-year prison term related to the couple's years in hiding, last month pleaded not guilty to contempt of court charges for refusing to testify on whether anyone else had helped Bulger evade arrest during his years atop the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted" list.
"She's already gotten eight years and now they want more time? Enough is enough," said Greig's sister, Margaret McCusker, ahead of a brief procedural hearing about the case in Boston federal court. "Everybody is so angry at Jimmy Bulger. But what did she do?"
The is no maximum prison term for a contempt of court charge.
Bulger, 86, was convicted in 2013 of murdering or ordering the killings of 11 people while he ran the notorious "Winter Hill" gang in the 1970s and 1980s. He is serving two consecutive life sentences in a federal penitentiary in Sumterville, Florida.
Greig pleaded guilty in 2012 to charges of identity fraud and harboring a fugitive stemming from her years in hiding with Bulger, who fled Boston in 1995 on a tip from a corrupt FBI agent that arrest was imminent. Police caught up with the pair in a southern California condo where they had been living in 2011.
McCusker said Bulger, with whom she has exchanged letters, told her that he had long planned an escape from Boston and had not involved Greig in the planning.
"What Jimmy wrote to me was that he'd done it all himself, he'd been planning it for 16 years. He knew one day he'd have to go," McCusker said, flanked by three friends carrying signs of support for Greig, one of which read "In New York, mob wives get TV shows."
Bulger's trial highlighted his dealings with the FBI's Boston office, where Irish-American agents turned a blind eye to Bulger's crimes for information on the Italian-American mafia.
A recently released film, "Black Mass," starring Johnny Depp and based on a book of the same name by two Boston Globe reporters, chronicled his rise and fall. Greig does not appear as a character in that film, which portrays an earlier romantic relation of Bulger's.
(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Sandra Maler)