By Lauren Keiper
BOSTON (Reuters) - James "Whitey" Bulger's longtime girlfriend was headed on Wednesday to federal court in Boston, where family members of the gangster's alleged murder victims could be granted time to speak.
Catherine Greig, 60, was arrested with 81-year-old Bulger on June 22 in their Santa Monica, California hide-out. She has been charged with harboring Bulger as a fugitive and could face up to five years in prison if convicted.
Greig was scheduled to appear before Magistrate Judge Jennifer Boal in a continuation of her probable cause and detention hearing that began on Monday.
Prosecutors said at least three family members of Bulger's 19 alleged murder victims wanted to speak in court and were relevant to the case. The government said it has evidence showing that Greig harbored Bulger and caused direct harm to the families.
Greig's defense attorney has said the charges against her are not related to these crime victims.
In a separate filing, her attorney wrote that when Greig fled with Bulger, he was "considered to be a hero-like figure in the city of Boston," and only many years later was the brutality of his alleged killings revealed.
If the court allows the families time to speak, they will be limited to a few minutes, court filings said. The defense has requested that victim impact statements be addressed to the court and not directly to Greig "in any type of highly charged, emotional or pejorative terms."
During Monday's session, prosecutors called one witness, FBI special agent Michael Carazza, who detailed the early period of Bulger and Greig's 16 years on the run together.
He discussed the pair obtaining and using fake identities and played video footage from a Santa Monica pharmacy showing Greig picking up prescriptions under an alias.
Carazza also said Greig and Bulger used calling cards to stay in touch with associates and with Greig's twin sister in Boston. Greig would speak with her sister in calls placed to the homes of neighbors and friends, he said in his testimony.
Carazza said the pair crossed the country spending time in Louisiana and New York, sometimes indicating they were from New York and that Bulger was a retired real estate broker and Greig was a dog groomer.
The couple was arrested in Santa Monica, California where authorities found a stash of about 30 firearms and $822,000 in cash hidden in holes in the wall.
Prosecutors said they plan to wrap up Carazza's testimony on Wednesday, and Greig's defense lawyer Kevin Reddington was slated to address the court.
He has requested that Greig be released on bail to home confinement and electronic monitoring pending trial, according to court documents.
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 authorities' recent media campaign that led to a crucial tip from the public and the arrest of the pair.
Authorities produced television spots that focused on Greig's 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 Jerry Norton)