Girlfriend's lawyer: Bulger was 'hero-like figure'
BOSTON - July 13, 2011 (WPVI) -- The longtime girlfriend of James "Whitey" Bulger left Boston with him at a time when many people saw him as a "hero-like figure," her lawyer said in a court filing ahead of her bail hearing Wednesday.
Catherine Greig's attorney makes the argument in a written objection to a proposal to allow family members of people allegedly killed by Bulger to speak at the hearing.
When Greig fled with Bulger in 1995, he was only facing racketeering charges, attorney Kevin Reddington said. A second indictment in 1999 charged him in connection with 19 murders.
"It is noteworthy that James Bulger, at that time and era, was considered to be a hero-like figure in the city of Boston. He was alleged to have kept drugs off the street, helped the elderly and the poor. He was a man of almost mythic proportion," Reddington wrote.
Reddington argues that Greig did not directly harm the family members of the people Bulger is accused of killing and they should not be allowed to offer testimony at Greig's bail hearing.
Magistrate Judge Jennifer Boal indicated Monday that she would allow family members to speak at Greig's hearing.
Bulger and Greig were captured in Santa Monica, Calif., last month after 16 years on the run. Greig is charged with harboring a fugitive.
Prosecutors have asked that the family members be allowed to speak at Greig's hearing to talk about how her release on bail would affect them. They argued in court documents that Greig's assistance to Bulger during his time as a fugitive has harmed the families, thus entitling them to make victim impact statements.
"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," First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Pirozzolo argued in documents filed in court Tuesday.
Pirozzolo said three family members have expressed interest in speaking during the hearing.
Victims typically make statements during the later stages of criminal cases, most often during sentencing hearings. But the federal Crime Victims' Rights Act says victims have "the right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district court involving release, plea, sentencing or any parole proceeding."
boston, california, organized crime, national/world
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