If the judge agrees to the rarely used approach, relatives of James “Whitey’’ Bulger’s alleged victims can speak for three minutes tomorrow when Bulger girlfriend Catherine Greig renews her bid to be free while awaiting trial.
In a joint statement released this afternoon, US Attorney Carmen Ortiz and defense attorney Kevin J. Reddington said they agreed on the rules that would be used if Magistrate Judge Jennifer Boal gives her final approval to the unusual plan.
But the statement also said Reddington remains adamantly opposed to the idea and will continue pushing Boal to abandon the idea before Greig’s detention hearing resumes tomorrow.
Letting relatives of Bulger’s alleged victims appear in court would be unusual because their kin were allegedly harmed by Bulger, not Greig.
Moreover, crime victims usually only speak after a defendant has been convicted; Greig is only asking to be released from pre-trial detention.
However, Assistant US Attorney Jack W. Pirozzolo addressed the unusual legal situation by drawing a direct link between the 16 years Greig spent living with Bulger on the run, and the 19 murders Bulger is alleged to have participated in.
Greig’s “continuing offense of harboring Bulger caused direct and proximate harm to the family members of those victims,’’ Pirozzolo wrote. “Not only have those family members suffered the emotional trauma from the violence that was done to the victims as alleged in the case against Bulger, but for 16 years they lived with the anguish that Bulger might never be found and never have to answer to those allegations.’’
Prosecutors said Greig “persisted in her efforts to harbor Bulger from at least early 1995 through June 22, 2011, when the two of them were apprehended in Santa Monica, California.’’
By helping Bulger to avoid capture, Pirozzolo wrote, “that harm – in and of itself – permits them to speak as ‘crime victims’ in this case against the defendant for harboring Bulger.’’ ‘’
Reddington, according to the court papers, will file a detailed objection with the court before tomorrow’s hearing.
Federal prosecutors asked Boal for the right to let the relatives speak on Monday during the first part of Greig’s detention hearing, which was attended by Greig’s twin sister, Margaret McCusker of South Boston.
At least three relatives of Bulger’s alleged victims have told federal prosecutors they want to address the Greig hearing. They would speak after all other information has been presented to the court.