BOSTON (AP) — Just minutes after the longtime girlfriend of mobster James "Whitey" Bulger was sentenced to eight years in prison for helping Bulger stay on the run for 16 years, federal prosecutors began discussing Bulger's trial.
The former leader of the notorious Winter Hill Gang is scheduled to go to trial in November on charges he participated in 19 murders.
Prosecutors had once said they would try to compel his girlfriend, Catherine Greig, to testify against Bulger. But after Greig was sentenced Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said prosecutors are no longer seeking Greig's cooperation.
"We indicted and we're ready to prosecute without her help."
Greig, 61, showed no emotion when U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock handed down the sentence after listening to emotional pleas from family members of Bulger's alleged victims.
She pleaded guilty in March to charges of conspiracy to harbor a fugitive, identity fraud and conspiracy to commit identity fraud.
Greig's lawyer, Kevin Reddington, urged Woodlock to impose a sentence of a little over two years, arguing that Greig was in love with Bulger when she fled Boston with him in 1995.
"Catherine Greig fell in love with Mr. Bulger, and that's why she was in the situation she was in," Reddington said. "Miss Greig did not believe that Mr. Bulger was capable of these homicides."
But prosecutors dismissed her professions of love and said Greig had numerous opportunities to leave Bulger during their time on the run.
"This was not a romantic saga," said Ortiz. "She helped and protected and concealed a fugitive."
Family members of some of Bulger's alleged victims lashed out at Greig during victim impact statements, with one relative using an expletive to describe her. Another relative made a derogatory reference to her brother's suicide, prompting Greig to put her hand over her mouth and fight back tears.
Tim Connors, the son of a man allegedly killed by Bulger on June 12, 1975, called Greig "a cold-hearted criminal."
"You're as much a criminal as Whitey and should be treated as such," he said.
Patricia Donahue, the widow of Michael Donahue, a truck driver who was allegedly killed by Bulger in 1982, said she believes Greig is responsible for Bulger being able to remain a fugitive for so long.
"I believe he never would have survived all those years without her help," she said.
Prosecutors asked the judge to sentence Greig to 10 years in prison, citing the length of time she continued to help Bulger and the number of things she did for him, including taking him to medical appointments, posing as his wife so she could pick up his prescriptions and using false identities.
Greig and Bulger posed as married retirees from Chicago and had a stash of more than $800,000 in cash and 30 weapons in their apartment when they were captured last June in Santa Monica, Calif.
Greig's lawyer had appealed for leniency, asking the judge to give her 27 months in prison. After the sentencing, Reddington told reporters that Greig has no regrets about what she did.
"He's the love of her life and she stands by him … of course she doesn't regret it," Reddington said.
Greig, a former dental hygienist and dog groomer, faced a maximum of 15 years in prison — five years on each of the three charges.
In her plea agreement with prosecutors, Greig admitted that she used aliases, unlawfully obtained identification documents and repeatedly helped Bulger, now 82, get prescription medication from a pharmacy by pretending to be his wife. Greig's plea deal with prosecutors doesn't require her to cooperate in the case against Bulger.
Authorities have said that Bulger initially fled Boston with girlfriend Teresa Stanley in 1994 after being tipped off that he was about to be indicted. The tip came from former FBI agent John Connolly Jr., who was Bulger's FBI handler when Bulger was an informant who gave the FBI information about the rival New England Mafia. Connolly was later convicted of racketeering for his role in Bulger's disappearance.
After a few months on the run, Bulger returned to Boston, dropped off Stanley and picked up Greig, who had been his side girlfriend for 18 years while he lived with Stanley.
Greig and Bulger traveled extensively during their first year on the run — to Chicago, New York City, Grand Isle, La., and other places — but then settled in a two-bedroom rented apartment in Santa Monica.
Last June, Bulger and Greig were apprehended just days after the FBI began a new publicity campaign focusing on Greig.