People who say their relatives were killed by former Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger are expected to testify Wednesday against a request for bail from the girlfriend accused of helping him elude authorities for 16 years.
But Catherine Greig's lawyer has objected, arguing that the people who want to make the unusual testimony are Bulger's victims, not Greig's.
Bulger, who was long one of the FBI's most wanted fugitives, and Greig, his longtime companion, were arrested last month in Santa Monica, Calif., where authorities say they were living in a modest apartment with 30 guns and more than $800,000 in cash.
Bulger, 81, is charged with participating in 19 murders and has pleaded not guilty. Greig, 60, is charged with harboring a fugitive but hasn't entered a plea.
Tom Donahue said his father, Michael Donahue, was gunned down by Bulger in 1982. Michael Donahue wasn't targeted by Bulger but happened to be giving a ride to Bulger's target when Bulger shot both men, authorities have said.
Tom Donahue said he plans to tell the judge that Greig added to his family's pain by helping Bulger elude capture for so many years.
"I will be talking about the pain of losing my father, without a doubt," Donahue said Tuesday. "She's been on the run for the last 16 years with this man. My father has been missing christenings, birthday parties, family parties all these years while she's out helping him elude the police."
Bulger's former top lieutenant told authorities that Bulger initially fled Boston in late 1994 with another longtime girlfriend, Teresa Stanley, but returned in early 1995 to drop her off and pick up Greig, who went with him willingly, an FBI agent testified Monday.
Bulger, the former leader of the violent Winter Hill Gang and a former top-echelon FBI informant, was the inspiration for the 2006 Martin Scorsese film "The Departed," starring Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon. He was on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list, with a $2 million reward for information leading to his arrest.
Authorities have said they captured Bulger and Greig after receiving a tip from a woman who saw a story on a television news show about a new publicity campaign focused on Greig. The couple was captured within days of a new public service announcement being aired during daytime television shows.
Magistrate Judge Jennifer Boal indicated Monday that, at the request of prosecutors, she would allow some testimony from people who claim they're victims of Bulger's violence.
Greig's lawyer, Kevin Reddington, filed a written objection in court late Tuesday. He said that Greig had nothing to do with violent crimes Bulger is accused of committing and that presenting impact statements from people who claim to be his victims during her bail hearing would be "inappropriate."
"Alleged victims' wish or desire to see Catherine Greig punished by being kept in jail is irrelevant to this issue before this court," Reddington wrote. "Allowing the expression of such desire for retribution and/or revenge prior to the conviction of this defendant who is clearly presumed innocent flies in the face of the very bedrock of constitutional principles of our criminal justice system."
Prosecutors argued that Greig's assistance to Bulger had harmed the families of his victims, thus entitling them to make victim impact statements.
"Not only have those family members suffered the emotional trauma from the violence that was done to the victims as alleged in the case against Bulger, but for 16 years they lived with the anguish that Bulger might never be found and never have to answer to those allegations," First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Pirozzolo argued in documents filed late Tuesday.
Pirozzolo said three family members have expressed interest in speaking during the bail hearing.
Victims typically make statements during the latter stages of criminal cases, most often during sentencing hearings. But the federal Crime Victims' Rights Act says victims have "the right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district court involving release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding."
Former U.S. Attorney Don Stern said it is unusual but not unprecedented for victims to testify during bail hearings.
"I think the judge will give them a fair amount of latitude to talk about how her release would affect them as a victim of a crime," Stern said.
He said the statements would be taken into consideration by the judge and there's really no risk the testimony would "inflame or prejudice the jury."
But Boston defense attorney Stephen Weymouth, who's not involved in the case, said he has never seen a victim testify at a bail hearing.
"The question during a bail hearing is is she a danger and is she going to flee, and I just don't see how the testimony from the families would be able to provide any relevant evidence about those particular issues," he said. "The strongest argument against this is the fact that the people who want to testify are victims of Whitey Bulger's alleged criminal activity, not Catherine Greig's."
An attorney who represents the family of Quincy fisherman John McIntyre, whom Bulger is accused of killing in 1984, said McIntyre's son, Christopher McIntyre, now 50, may testify at Greig's hearing.
"A lot of their anguish came from (Bulger) not being accountable and him being on the run," Boston attorney Jeffrey Denner said. "To the extent she facilitated his life on the run, that damages them greatly."