Silence earns mobster Bulger's girlfriend 21 more months in prison

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 28, 2016 7:35 AM

By Scott Malone

BOSTON (Reuters) - Former Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger's girlfriend will spend an additional 21 months in prison for refusing to say if anyone helped the couple evade capture during their 16 years on the run, a U.S. federal judge ruled on Thursday.

That was less than the three years that prosecutors had wanted to add to the eight years in prison Catherine Greig, 65, is serving for harboring a fugitive and identity fraud, but more than triple the six months her attorneys sought.

Bulger, now 86, is serving life in prison after being convicted of charges including 11 murders he committed or ordered while he ran the Winter Hill crime gang in the 1970s and 80s.

"History will, I think, remember Bulger as a monster and if she chooses to be loyal to that person, that is her affair, but I don't need to respect that loyalty," U.S. District Judge Dennis Saylor said.

The former dental hygienist joined Bulger shortly after he fled Boston in 1995 on a tip from a corrupt FBI agent that arrest was imminent. They remained at large until 2011, when the FBI arrested them at their Santa Monica, California, apartment. She did not speak during Thursday's hearing other than to confirm that she understood the proceedings.

Greig received the additional sentence for contempt of court. She and Bulger have stuck stubbornly to the underworld's code of silence. Bulger's attorneys admitted at his 2013 trial that he was an "organized criminal" but repeatedly denied that he had been an FBI informant.

Greig's attorney noted on Thursday that her initial sentence was longer than the five years Bulger associate Kevin Weeks served for his role as an accessory to five murders and now will approach the 12 years that "Winter Hill" gang member John Martorano served for 20 killings.

Both Weeks and Martorano testified against Bulger.

Greig had been granted immunity from prosecution to testify, but defense attorney Kevin Reddington said she had no information to share.

"She knows nothing," he told reporters following the sentencing, adding she believed Bulger had been wrongly convicted.

"She does not believe that he was guilty of any of the offenses," Reddington said.

Saylor denied a request by some of the survivors of Bulger's victims to address the court. Afterward, several said they were unhappy with his decision.

"I'm disappointed," said Patricia Donahue, whose husband was murdered by Bulger. "It's not enough."

(Editing by Bernadette Baum and David Gregorio)