Catherine E. Greig today asked a federal appeals court to shorten the eight-year prison sentence she is now serving and to require that a new sentencing hearing be held — where relatives of the 19 people allegedly murdered by her boyfriend, James “Whitey” Bulger, would be barred from speaking.
Greig’s appellate attorney, Dana Curhan, filed a 40-page appeal with the First US Circuit Court of Appeals arguing that Greig’s sentence was an unlawful attempt to punish her for her ties to Bulger. Curhan wants the sentence to be reduced to a maximum of 2 years and nine months.
Bulger’s connections to corrupt FBI agents led to a tipoff that allowed Bulger to flee Massachusetts and remain a fugitive for 16 years, until his arrest with Greig, his long-time girlfriend, last year in Santa Monica, Calif. Bulger is accused of having a role in 19 murders while at the same time being protected as a highly prized FBI informant.
“She was not involved in the underlying offense alleged against Bulger,’’ Curhan wrote. “In this case, the record fails to establish Greig did anything more than harbor a fugitive.”
On June 12, Greig pleaded guilty to conspiracy to harbor a fugitive and conspiracy to commit identity fraud before US District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock. The judge imposed the eight-year sentence after listening to five relatives of Bulger’s alleged victims excoriate her.
“Even disregarding the more inflammatory comments, none of the challenged statements addressed Greig’s background, character and conduct,’’ Curhan wrote. “To the extent that [Woodlock] considered such information in determining her sentence, it was an abuse of discretion to do so.’’
Curhan also attacked Woodlock’s decision to boost Greig’s sentence because she lived with Bulger in an apartment where authorities discovered a small arsenal and some $800,000 in cash after the couple’s arrest on June 22, 2011.
“The record fails to establish Greig’s actual knowledge of the firearms, nor was it reasonably foreseeable that Bulger would possess firearms in furtherance of the harboring offense,’’ Curhan wrote.
Bulger has pleaded not guilty to all charges and is scheduled to go on trial next summer. He is being held without bail.
John R. Ellement can be reached at email@example.com.