"Whitey" Bulger's girlfriend appears in court

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 11, 2011 7:05 PM
"Whitey" Bulger's girlfriend appears in court

By Lauren Keiper

BOSTON (Reuters) - Former crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger's longtime girlfriend appeared on Monday in federal court in Boston, where an FBI agent described her living under aliases and contacting her family while he was a fugitive.

Catherine Greig, 60, was arrested with 81-year-old Bulger on June 22 in their Santa Monica, California hide-out. At that time, they were known as Charles and Carol Gasko. She has been charged with harboring Bulger as a fugitive and could face up to five years in prison if convicted.

Greig appeared before Magistrate Judge Jennifer Boal for a probable cause and detention hearing, and prosecutors spent the afternoon grilling FBI special agent Michael Carazza.

Pulling from documents, interviews and five years on the Bulger task force, Carazza discussed the pair obtaining and using fake identities, many of which have not been made public.

He also said Greig and Bulger used calling cards to contact associates and in Greig's case, her twin sister in Boston.

Greig's twin, Margaret McCusker, sat in the front row. Greig flashed her a wide smile as she came into the courtroom in her blue prison jumpsuit.

Carazza said Greig contacted her sister by calling neighbors and a friend to speak with her in 1996 and 1997.

He also played security video of what appeared to be Greig in a Santa Monica pharmacy where she picked up prescriptions using an alias.

The magistrate judge scheduled the hearing to continue on Wednesday, when prosecutors plan to wrap up their witness testimony and Greig's defense attorney Kevin Reddington will have an opportunity to address the court.

Reddington has requested that his client be released on bail to home confinement and electronic monitoring pending trial, according to court documents filed last week.

He said the government affidavit shows Greig as nothing more than a "traveling companion" to Bulger.

Greig, born and raised in South Boston, still owns a home in Quincy, Massachusetts, south of the city. Her twin sister will offer her home as collateral in the release as well, the filing said.

Greig's attorney said Greig posed no danger to the community and was not a flight risk, as the government has suggested.

It was Greig, not Bulger, who took a star turn in the recent media campaign that quickly led to a crucial tip from the public and the arrest of the fugitive pair.

Authorities produced television spots that focused on Greig's physical appearance, habits and personality traits.

Greig loves dogs and was known to frequent beauty salons, according to the FBI. She had previously worked as a dental hygienist and had plastic surgery before fleeing with her criminal boyfriend, 20 years her senior.

(Reporting by Lauren Keiper; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Greg McCune)