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Kevin Cullen

No defense for this plea

By Kevin Cullen
Globe Columnist / July 12, 2011

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Can’t wait until tomorrow. That’s when Kevin Reddington, a very fine lawyer, will try to explain why his client, Cathy Greig, should be let out on bail.

This, of course, is the same Cathy Greig who spent 16 years on the run with her boyfriend, Whitey Bulger, not the nicest guy in the world.

Whitey has probably put more people in the ground than O’Brien Funeral Home in Southie, and Cathy Greig was his willing and able traveling companion all those years on the lam.

Reddington filed a memorandum opposing the government’s insistence that Greig remain locked up.

The memo cites case law about the right to bail. It puts Greig, who has no criminal record, in some illustrious company. Among the cases cited are those involving Anthony Salerno, Raymond Patriarca Jr., and Carmen Tortora.

Fat Tony Salerno used to run a successful family business in New York: the Genovese crime family.

Raymond Patriarca, known as Junior, ran the family business his father built up - the Patriarca crime family - into the ground. When the feds wanted to match Junior’s voice to one they picked up on a bug, Junior made it nice and easy for them by going on a Providence radio talk show.

Carmen Tortora worked for the Patriarca family business. Carmen got put away for leaving a death threat on the answering machine of some guy who hadn’t paid the vig to one of their loan sharks. Like his boss, Carmen was never invited to join Mensa.

Cathy isn’t in Fat Tony’s or Junior’s or Carmen’s league, but she did help the most wanted man in America stay on the lam for 16 years. And if she didn’t know where the bodies were buried, she must know where some of the money is. If she’s locked up, the feds have leverage. If she makes bail, they got nada.

Reddington’s memo includes this ode to Ms. Greig: “By all accounts, she is considered by family, neighbors, and acquaintances as a kind, gentle person with a loving personality.’’

Funny. She wasn’t so kind, gentle, and loving when Tom Foley, the state cop, showed up at her house in Squantum on the night of Jan. 5, 1995, asking if she had any idea where Whitey was.

When arrest teams fanned out to lock up Whitey for a case that Foley had built in spite of FBI interference, they found that Whitey was already gone. Whitey’s former FBI handler, John Connolly, had given him the head’s up, so Whitey grabbed his longtime squeeze Teresa Stanley and hit the road. Foley drove out to Squantum with his old pal, the late, great Pat Greaney. Cathy had some choice words for the two troopers, none of which can be printed in a family newspaper.

Teresa missed her kids, so Whitey dropped her off in Hingham and picked Cathy up at Malibu Beach in Dorchester, just up the shore from all those shallow graves. Sixteen years later, Whitey and Cathy got grabbed in Santa Monica, a lot closer to Malibu Beach.

If released, Cathy will put her $350,000 house and her twin sister Margaret McCusker’s $500,000 house in Southie up as collateral. That’s a little more than the $822,000 in cash the feds took out of the apartment in Santa Monica.

At yesterday’s hearing, Assistant US District Attorney James Herbert noted that Margaret drove Cathy to Southie to meet with Kevin Weeks, Whitey’s gravedigger, who then brought her to Malibu Beach for the pickup.

Margaret pleaded guilty in 1999 to lying to a grand jury investigating Whitey’s and her sister’s whereabouts. That might get a mention at tomorrow’s hearing.

Good luck, Counselor Reddington.

Kevin Cullen is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at cullen@globe.com.