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Grand jury to look at Bulger’s Calif. stay

Two who knew couple there are subpoenaed

By Shelley Murphy and Maria Cramer
Globe Staff / July 19, 2011

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A federal grand jury in Boston will investigate James “Whitey’’ Bulger and Catherine Greig’s 16 years on the run, a move that could signal additional charges against the pair.

The FBI has delivered subpoenas to at least two people in California who knew the couple as Charlie and Carol Gasko, retirees living in a two-bedroom, rent-controlled apartment a few blocks from the beach in Santa Monica.

Joshua Bond, a property manager of the Princess Eugenia apartment complex where the 81-year-old Bulger and the 60-year-old Greig lived for more than a dozen years, said yesterday that he has been called to testify before a grand jury next week. He said he received a fax last week telling him to be in US District Court in Boston.

“I haven’t been told anything about it,’’ Bond said. “I don’t know what they’re going to ask me. I’m not concerned. It’s a free trip to Boston.’’

Another person who knew the couple from their days at the apartment is also expected to testify, according to two people with direct knowledge of the subpoenas. One of them said the subpoena did not detail the scope of the investigation and only said the grand jury is investigating “possible violations of federal criminal laws.’’

Bulger, who is accused of 19 murders and had been one of the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted, was captured June 22, along with Greig. She is charged with harboring a fugitive. FBI agents lured Bulger from the couple’s apartment at 1012 Third St. by saying his storage unit in the building’s garage had been burglarized.

During a search of Bulger’s apartment, the FBI found $822,000 in cash and an arsenal of knives and 30 high-powered, loaded guns, authorities said. The weapons were hidden behind books and stashed in holes cut into the walls and covered with mirrors or pictures.

Officials said agents found at least 15 aliases for the couple and books titled, “Secrets of a Back Alley ID Man,’’ and “Fake ID Construction Techniques of the Underground.’’

Yesterday, a spokeswoman for the US attorney’s office would not comment on the grand jury investigation. “We don’t confirm or deny grand jury investigations,’’ said the spokeswoman, Christina DiIorio-Sterling.

During a court hearing last week, a prosecutor hinted that Greig might face additional charges as a result of the weapons and fake identification seized in the Santa Monica apartment.

While arguing that Greig should remain jailed without bail, Assistant US Attorney James Herbert said that in addition to facing at least 33 months in prison if convicted of harboring a fugitive, she “also has exposure for other potential offenses.’’

Herbert said Greig could face charges for conspiracy, identity theft, being an accessory after the fact of a felony, failure to report knowledge of a felony, and possession of unlawful firearms.

Greig’s attorney, Kevin Reddington, declined to comment yesterday on the grand jury investigation, but said he was not concerned about the testimony from her neighbors. “I suspect that people out there, from what I understand, have nothing but wonderful things to say about Catherine,’’ Reddington said.

Indeed, neighbors said they were stunned by the arrests and described Greig and Bulger as nice, friendly people, who often held hands as they walked just about every day at the Third Street Promenade, an area dotted with restaurants and shops.

Boston attorney J.W. Carney Jr., who represents Bulger, also declined to comment on the grand jury investigation.

Bulger, a longtime FBI informant, fled just before his January 1995 federal racketeering indictment in Boston. Seven years later, his former handler, retired FBI agent John J. Connolly Jr., was convicted of racketeering and obstruction of justice for warning Bulger to flee in the days before he was charged.

While Bulger was on the run, many of his former associates cooperated against him, leading to the unearthing of secret graves and new charges in 2000 that included racketeering, 19 murders, extortion, and money laundering. He is being held in Plymouth County House of Correction while awaiting trial.

Greig, a dental hygienist who grew up in South Boston and had lived in Quincy, , allegedly joined Bulger in early 1995 and was indicted two years later on charges of harboring a fugitive.

During Greig’s hearing last week, an FBI agent testified that after Bulger’s arrest, the fugitive showed agents where the weapons were hidden in the apartment and said Greig “knew nothing about the guns and never touched them.’’

But Herbert said in court that for Greig, “the only alternative to a potentially lengthy sentence would be the unpleasant prospect of cooperating against somebody to whom she clearly remains very close.’’

While arguing at the hearing that Greig should be freed on bail, Reddington said prosecutors seemed to be trying to intimidate his client with the threat of additional charges.

“It seems like maybe a little kind of being a bully,’’ he said.

Shelley Murphy can be reached at shmurphy@globe.com.