A South Boston woman who spent 16 years on the run with one of Boston’s most notorious gangsters, James “Whitey” Bulger, was sentenced to spend another 21 months behind bars by a federal judge who called her longtime companion “a monster” not worthy of her “love and affection.”
Catherine Greig, 65, is currently serving an eight-year sentence for her role in helping Bulger escape and evade capture after he was tipped to a pending federal indictment by his rogue FBI handler in 1995. She wore a black sweater in court today, her white hair cut short, and smiled at her twin sister Margaret, who was in the courtroom, sitting across from the relatives of two Bulger murder victims.
The couple was captured in June 2011 living in a rent-controlled apartment near the Santa Monica Pier using the monikers Charles and Carol Gasko. Investigators found 30 high-powered weapons in the walls along with a stash of $822,000 in cash. Their bedroom was lined with bookshelves stocked with Bulger’s favorite mob books. Many featured him.
Today’s sentencing dealt with new federal criminal contempt charges stemming from what prosecutors called Greig’s “consistent, dogged and tireless” refusal to cooperate with a grand jury that continues to investigate who, if anyone, helped Bulger while he hid from authorities.
“The public has a right to know who else had a hand,” Assistant United States Attorney Mary Murrane argued. The government wanted the U.S. District Court Justice Dennis Saylor to sentence Greig for 37 months.
Greig’s defense attorney, Kevin Reddington, argued that the only crime his client was truly guilty of was falling in love with the wrong man and said the government was overzealously seeking to punish Bulger’s paramour because she refused to give up “her friends and family.”
“It is obvious that she is a kind, gentle woman who has literally done nothing bad in her life except fall in love with James Bulger and live with him for 16 years until his arrest,” Reddington told the court.
The judge was unmoved.
“Bulger is a monster," the judge said. “Ms. Greig is not remorseful. She is not apologetic. She is not trying to distance herself from Bulger. She is not inclined to change her behavior. She’s an adult she knows the rules. She brought this entirely upon herself."
As for “her only crime here is being loyal to Whitey Bulger, and that she loves him,” the judge added, “I hardly know what to say to that. It’s hard to imagine a less worthy object of love and affection.”
The judge did say he was swayed by Reddington’s argument that the government cut sweetheart deals with Bulger compatriots, including John Martorano, who confessed to killing 20 people but spent just 12 years behind bars.
In addition, a Defendant’s Sentencing Memorandum filed with the court “suggests that the ‘cross reference’ to Bulger’s crimes including murder and RICO violations is a gross due process violation. Greig has pled guilty to a crime of contempt; a non-violent offense.”
The memo also argues that “although the court may consider a virtually unlimited array of facts in determining a fair sentencing, it may not impose a sentence that exceeds the ‘substantively reasonable’ threshold.”
Bulger, 86, is serving a life sentence at a maximum-security prison after a 2013 conviction for 11 murders, racketeering and other federal charges.
Meanwhile, federal officials will hold a public auction in June at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center to sell Bulger’s belongings seized from the Santa Monica hideout where the couple lived for more than a decade, part of a way to recoup some of the $25.2 million forfeiture judgment that came with Bulger’s conviction.
Profits from the weekend auction, which will include a coffee mug shaped like a rat, along with the $822,000 in cash found secreted in the walls of the hideout, will be divided among the families of 20 people killed by the gangster or his associates and among several people he extorted, according to court filings. The guns will not be sold at the event, slated to be held from June 24 to June 26, according to court records.