BOSTON – U.S. prosecutors asked Friday that the girlfriend of a violent mobster who famously eluded authorities for 16 years on the run be sentenced to a decade in prison.
In a sentencing memo filed in court, prosecutors said 61-year-old Catherine Greig deserves the long sentence -- above federal sentencing guidelines -- because of the length of time she harbored James "Whitey" Bulger as a fugitive and the number of things she did to protect him.
Greig, 61, pleaded guilty to three charges in March and is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday. She admitted using aliases and obtaining Bulger's prescription medications by pretending to be his wife. The couple was caught in California last June.
The 82-year-old Bulger is charged with participating in 19 murders as head of a Boston-area Irish gang.
Although the charges against Greig carry a maximum of 15 years in prison, prosecutors had warned family members of the people Bulger is accused of murdering that she could get as little as 32 months under federal sentencing guidelines.
In their memo, prosecutors said Greig deserved a much longer prison term.
"Greig's conduct also did far more than protect Bulger from law enforcement. It also denied victims and family members of victims for many years the opportunity to see Bulger answer for his alleged crimes," they wrote.
Greig's lawyer, Kevin Reddington, declined to comment on the recommendation from prosecutors.
"I'm going to leave it up to the judge," Reddington said.
Also Friday, the man who led the gang before Bulger pleaded not guilty to attempted extortion and conspiracy charges.
Howie Winter , 83,and co-defendant James Melvin, 70, were arrested Thursday after authorities said they tried over several months to extort $35,000 from each of two men who had arranged a loan for a third man.
The judge ordered them held on $25,000 cash bail, an amount their lawyers said they will likely be able to raise. If they do post bail, both men will be confined to their homes wearing electronic monitoring bracelets.
Bulger replaced Winter as leader of the gang years ago after Winter was indicted in a horse race-fixing scheme.
In their memo, prosecutors say Bulger fled Boston in late 1994 after being warned that he was about to be indicted. They say he left Boston with another girlfriend but returned a couple of months later, dropped that girlfriend off and picked up Greig.
Greig and Bulger traveled to Chicago, New York City and Grand Isle, Louisiana, during the first year they were on the run, posing as a married couple and using aliases. They arrived in Santa Monica in 1996, rented a two-bedroom apartment and pretended to be a married couple from Chicago, according to prosecutors.
While in Santa Monica, Greig paid the bills and the rent, usually in postal money orders or cash, and did all of the couple's shopping while Bulger remained indoors most of the time, prosecutors said. She also helped him get medical and dental care and stayed by his side during several procedures. Prosecutors said dental and medical records showed Bulger was a "high-anxiety" patient, had a fear of shots and described himself in one written form as a "dental chicken, from Chicago."
The couple was caught just days after the FBI began running a new public service announcement focusing on Greig, a carefully groomed woman who was known to frequent beauty salons and dental offices. .
Bulger had seen the announcement and told Greig, "`This is it,"' prosecutors said.
Two days later, the couple was caught after a tipster reported meeting them in Santa Monica.
The Boston Globe reported that the tipster, a woman from Iceland who spent months at a time in Santa Monica, bonded with Greig over a stray cat.