Catherine Greig will not appeal her conviction for helping her gangster boyfriend James “Whitey” Bulger evade capture for more than 16 years, but is thinking about whether she wants to challenge her eight-year prison sentence, her lawyer said today.
Kevin Reddington said during a brief telephone interview that Greig will not try to back out of her decision to plead guilty in March to conspiracy to harbor a fugitive, conspiracy to commit identity fraud, and identity fraud, but she does have the option of appealing the sentence that was handed down Tuesday.
“Obviously I’m not going to try to vacate the plea,’’ Reddington said. “If we do appeal, the only issue is whether the judge abused his discretion’’ in calculating what her federal sentencing guideline range was.
US District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock ruled that the court’s probation department had incorrectly concluded that Greig should face between 27 months and 33 months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines, which are based on numerous factors, including the nature of her crimes and the fact that Greig had no prior criminal record.
The judge found that Greig’s guideline range should be much higher — seven years and three months to nine years – because of wrongdoing that she should be held accountable for, even though it didn’t lead to charges. Siding with prosecutors, Woodlock found that Greig had to have known that Bulger had cut holes in the walls of their apartment in Santa Monica, Calif., and stuffed them with 30 high-powered weapons and ammunition.
Bulger, 82, who fled just before his January 1995 federal racketeering indictment in Boston, was captured along with Greig on June 22, 2011, in Santa Monica, where they had lived in the same apartment since at least 1996. Agents found the guns and more than $822,000 stuffed in the walls. Woodlock found that Greig lied to court officials in California after her arrest by claiming she had no assets, failing to disclose that she owned a home in Quincy and had a bank account in Boston containing more than $135,000.
Prosecutors had argued that Greig should be sentenced to 10 years in prison; Reddington argued for 27 months.
Reddington acknowledged that federal sentencing guidelines are advisory, and therefore even if an appeals court ordered a new sentencing hearing for Greig, the judge could still find that the eight-year sentence was appropriate.
Bulger, a long-time FBI informant, is slated to stand trial Nov. 5 in federal court in Boston in a sweeping federal racketeering case that charges him with participating in 19 murders.