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Entries in James Whitey Bulger (15)

Sunday
Jul072013

'Whitey' Bulger Defense Wants California Evidence Tossed

Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(BOSTON) -- Lawyers for James "Whitey" Bulger have filed a motion requesting that the evidence seized when the notorious Boston mobster who spent 16 years as a fugitive was captured be tossed out of his ongoing trial.

Defense attorney J.W. Carney argued that the guns found secreted behind a wall in Bulger's Santa Monica hideout along with a stash of cash totally roughly $822,000 are not in any way connected to the crimes and 19 murders he accused of carrying out as the leader of the Winter Hill Gang.

"The defendant is not charged with anything relating to his time in California. His alleged possession of weapons and cash in California has no bearing on any aspect of the indictment,'' Carney argued in the motion filed Friday.

Jurors were given Friday off and testimony in Bulger's trial was scheduled to resume Monday.

"The government cannot show that the guns allegedly located in the defendant's apartment were connected to any of the charged murders. Absent such a showing, the sole effect of admitting the firearms would be to portray the defendant as a violent person with a predisposition towards firearms," Carney wrote.

Investigators found the money and nearly 30 guns -- many of them loaded -- behind the walls in the Princess Eugenia apartment complex where Bulger and his longtime companion Catherine Greig lived as Charlie and Carol Gasko for 16 years. During that time, Bulger was in the FBI's Most Wanted List second only to Osama Bin Laden.

The raid that led to Bulger's June 2011 arrest also led to the discovery of fake IDs – including the identity of a homeless man Bulger befriended – and books that included Secrets of a Back-Alley ID Man and How to Find Missing Persons: A Handbook for Investigators.

Prosecutors responded to Carney's motion by arguing that the guns were "tools of the trade" for gangsters like Bulger and indicative of his criminal life.

"The guns and cash found in Bulger's apartment are highly probative of the profitable nature of the large-scale criminal enterprise charged in the indictment and the "type of protection" defendant felt was needed to protect his operation,'' the government wrote in its response. "The guns and cash are an important element of the story that should not be withheld from the jury."

Bulger's attorneys also filed a new witness list that includes 85 people who could potentially take the stand including recently replaced FBI Director Robert Mueller; former Massachusetts Governor William Weld; and federal judge Richard Stearns.

The government also released jailhouse audio of phone calls Bulger made from prison. In one call recorded on 9/25/12 Bulger talks about money he paid to a former associate who is now testifying against him. In another call made on 10/13/12 Bulger can be heard imitating a machine gun and describing the death of a bartender he is charged with murdering.

It is one of the rare times Bulger's voice has been heard by the public.

On Monday Bulger sidekick Kevin Weeks is expected to take the stand. Weeks led police to several so-called "Whitey graveyards" where the remains of the Winter Hill Gang victims were buried or dumped. Weeks has also told investigators he witnessed murder of Debra Davis, who Bulger is accused of strangling with his bare hands. Her brother, Steve Davis, has attended the trial every day since it began three weeks ago.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar142012

Catherine Greig, 'Whitey' Bulger's Girlfriend, Pleads Guilty

WCVB-TV BOSTON(BOSTON) -- Catherine Greig, the longtime girlfriend of former Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger, cried as she pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges that she helped Bulger stay on the lam for more than 16 years.

She pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to harbor a fugitive, identity fraud and conspiracy to commit identity fraud.

Despite charges that could have put Greig, 60, in prison for over a decade, the deal cut with prosecutors may land her in prison for as little as 32 months. Sentencing is set for June 12.

In a statement of fact signed by Greig and released in court Monday, the mob moll stated, "I engaged in conduct that was intended to help Bulger avoid detection from law enforcement, and to provide him with support and assistance during his flight from law enforcement."

The charges chiefly concerned her use of false documents and the forging of identities over the 16-year period she lived with the accused boss of Boston's Winter Hill Gang, a man who is charged with 19 murders.

Some of the victims of those murders spoke out about the news, expressing their frustration at what they feel is a slap on the wrist for Greig.

Steven Davis, who says his sister, Debra David, was killed by Bulger, was allowed to give a victim impact statement in court and called Greig a "monster."

In an interview with the Boston Globe earlier in the week, Tim Donohue, whose father's 1982 killing was linked to Bulger, said, "She helped that guy on the run…We could have had these answers 16 years ago. She's a criminal, she's not a victim. She's a criminal."

Public opinion of Greig has not improved as details of Greig and Bulger's life on the run continue to leak out. After their capture in California last June, authorities found over $800,000 in Bulger's apartment, most of it in $100 bills.

In the months since their capture five separate safety-deposit boxes filled with money have been found in both the U.S. and Europe, and under the agreement signed by Greig she is not required to reveal where any more may be hidden.

She is also not required to testify against Bulger, who is now 82.

Despite the wealth secreted away by the pair, Greig and Bulger lived a life that was, by all accounts, solidly middle-class. Living under the names of Charles and Carol Gasco they managed to live a normal life before their July 21 capture in Santa Monica.

Greig, a former dental hygienist, was able to keep up her appearance throughout their life on the run, frequenting beauty salons, dentists, and plastic surgeons even as she lived off the grid.

In the end, the looks that gained her the attention of the alleged mob kingpin may have been what brought her to justice. Ron Gollobin, a former television reporter who covered the height of the Boston Mafia wars noted that, "She was a very distinctive woman, stunning even at 60."

"He looked like any old man with a baseball hat," said Gollobin. "There is an irony that it was ultimately Catherine who brought him down."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct102011

Former Miss Iceland Got Cool $2 Million for Whitey Bulger Tip

Anna Bjornsdottir plays with her cat, Mosa, outside of her home in Reykjavik, Iceland. Bill Greene/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(BOSTON) -- A cat and an Icelandic "canary" brought down the FBI's most wanted fugitive James "Whitey" Bulger.

The tip that led the FBI to the former Boston mobster wanted for 19 murders came from former Miss Iceland Anna Bjornsdottir. The 1974 Miss Universe contender collected a cool $2 million reward for her phone call last June.

The Nordic beauty was a former neighbor of Bulger's and his longtime girlfriend and fellow fugitive Catherine Greig who were living under the names Charlie and Carol Gasko, according to the Boston Globe.

The arrest came just days after a fresh publicity campaign mounted by the FBI saturated the airwaves with a 30-second ad aimed at women watching daytime television. The ad showed pictures of Greig and Bulger taken from the 1990's and mentioned her love of plastic surgery and manicures.

"We were trying to reach a different audience to produce new leads in the case. ... We believed that locating Greig would lead us to Bulger. And that's exactly what happened," Richard Teahan, a special agent in the Boston FBI office said.

Immediately after Bulger's arrest, the FBI would only say that an anonymous tip led to the couple's apprehension. Within a few days of Bulger's capture, "law enforcement sources" disclosed that the phone call came from Iceland, a location that led many to question the authenticity of the FBI's claim.

Bjornsdottir and her husband Halldor Gudmundsoon lived for months at a time in an apartment close to the Princess Eugenia complex in Santa Monica, Calif., where Bulger and Greig had spent the past 13 years living a double life.

Catherine Greig, who was known to her neighbors as Carol Gasko, was taking care of an abandoned cat in the neighborhood. The kindness Greig showed to the stray was noticed by Bjornsdottir who also loved cats. She and her husband Halldor Gudmundson had even published a book about a stray cat they adopted named Mosa.

Although the "Gaskos" normally kept to themselves, according to the Globe, Bjornsdottir recognized Catherine Greig immediately after watching a news story on the FBI ad campaign. She picked up the phone and Bulger and Greig were arrested after a 48-hour stakeout.

Bjornsdottir and her husband lived part time in California and their native Iceland. She used to live fulltime in California after achieving some fame competing in the 1974 Miss Universe pageant as Miss Iceland. She was voted Miss Congeniality by her fellow contestants.

Anna Bjornsdottir did not respond to ABC News' attempts to reach her Monday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul122011

Whitey Bulger's Girlfriend Accused of Helping Him Elude Authorities

WCVB-TV BOSTON(BOSTON) -- Catherine Greig and her long-time boyfriend, ex-mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger, used dozens of aliases in the years he was on the lam, an FBI agent testified in a Boston court Monday.

Greig, who gave her sister seated in the front row a big smile as she entered court in a blue prison-issued blouse and pants, appeared before a judge in U.S. District Court Monday with Bulger's alleged victims also in attendance.

In attempting to show that Greig, 60, was a full and willing partner in Bulger's attempts to conceal their identities and hide from the law, FBI agent Michael Carazza testified that Greig and Bulger fled Boston for Louisiana, where they were called Helen and Tom.

Bulger would make calls on pay phones at Walmart using calling cards, Carazza said.

The government also showed a brief video of Greig entering a pharmacy and picking up medication for Bulger, medication that was under an assumed name.

Late last week, Greig's lawyer, Kevin Reddington, filed papers requesting bail and home confinement for his client.  Reddington described Greig in court documents as a "kind, gentle person" who is "not a danger to anyone."

But the gray-haired Greig, who looks more like a grandmother than a gangster's moll, spent 16 years on the run with one of the most feared and reviled mobsters in Boston's history.  The quiet, former dental hygienist, who now sits in a Rhode Island jail cell charged with harboring a fugitive, could face up to five years in prison.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul112011

'Whitey' Bulger's Longtime Girlfriend to Appear in US District Court

WCVB-TV(BOSTON) -- Catherine Greig, 60, the longtime girlfriend of ex-mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger, is scheduled to face a judge U.S. District Court on Monday.

Late last week, Greig's lawyer, Kevin Reddington, filed papers requesting bail and home confinement for his client. Reddington described Greig in court documents as a "kind, gentle person" who is "not a danger to anyone."

But the gray-haired Greig spent 16 years on the run with one of the most feared and reviled mobsters in Boston's history. And the quiet, former dental hygienist, who now sits in a Rhode Island jail cell charged with harboring a fugitive, could face up to five years in prison.

In 1995, rogue FBI agents tipped Bulger off that he was about to be indicted on racketeering charges, and the couple disappeared shortly thereafter.

The FBI periodically published accounts of what came to be known as 'Whitey" sightings. From London to Louisiana, people across the globe reported seeing the mobster and his moll. Bulger soon made the FBI's Most Wanted List -- along with Osama bin Laden. Greig made it too -- just not the Top 10.

The years slipped away. First it was five, then 10, then 16 years since Bulger and Greig had first disappeared. The last credible sighting of the couple came almost a decade ago in 2002 in London. And many long-time Bulger watchers began to believe the FBI really didn't want to catch "Whitey" at all. After all, when it came out that Bulger had been a long-time FBI informant and that FBI agents had tipped him off time and again so that he could avoid arrest, it became a huge embarrassment for Boston feds.

But less than a month ago, on June 21, the FBI released a new public service announcement that aired in 14 U.S.cities during such television shows as ABC's The View and Dr. Phil. This time the FBI zeroed in on Catherine Greig. The 30-second PSAs included multiple photos of Greig, and asked the public for help in finding her. The idea was that women who watched these daytime television shows might have seen Greig getting her hair or nails done.

Less than 48 hours later, a credible tip came into the FBI hotline, and Bulger and Greig were arrested in Santa Monica, Calif. They had been living in a rent-controlled condo close to the beach. Neighbors of the couple described Greig as sweet and friendly, but said Bulger seemed to have a temper.

Since June 22, Greig has been held at the Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, R.I.

In a court filing, Reddington has said his client could be monitored with an electronic bracelet, and that she has close ties to family members who would support her.

But prosecutors are likely to argue that any defendant who has just spent 16 years in hiding with a man wanted for murder is a likely flight risk.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul072011

James 'Whitey' Bulger Pleads Not Guilty to 19 Counts of Murder

WCVB-TV BOSTON(BOSTON) --  At his arraignment Wednesday, James "Whitey" Bulger entered a plea of not guilty to 19 counts of murder and other crimes.

Prosecutors told Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler in a Federal District Court they expect the trial to run about four weeks, calling 30 to 40 witnesses.  J.W. Carney, Bulger's court-appointed attorney, anticipates the trial may run even longer.

"It is not unusual for a murder case to take two to three years to get to trial … this man has been charged with 19 murders," Carney said outside the Federal Courthouse Wednesday.

During the proceedings, which lasted 20 minutes, Bulger, 81, stood up and clearly said, "not guilty" to all the charges against him.

A status hearing has been set for Sept. 14.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun302011

Despite Cash Stash, Bulger Gets Paid Defense

WCVB-TV BOSTON(BOSTON) -- Notorious fugitive James "Whitey" Bulger, captured last week as authorities seized $822,000 cash hidden in the walls of his rent-controlled apartment in Santa Monica, Calif., has been assigned taxpayer-financed lawyers to defend himself against 19 murder charges.

After Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler in Boston ruled that the alleged former South Boston mob boss is entitled to taxpayer-funded counsel, attorneys J.W. Carney and his law partner, Janice Bassil, were appointed to represent Bulger, 81, who eluded capture as a fugitive for 16 years.

"I find at this time that the defendant is unable to retain counsel," Bowler said, adding there will be a review down the road to determine if Bulger should repay those attorney fees.

Bowler's ruling came after U.S. District Chief Judge Mark Wolf ruled that the 1994 indictment on racketeering charges against the alleged former South Boston mob boss can be dismissed as the government requested, allowing federal law enforcement to focus its case against Bulger on 19 murder charges.

"It is in the public interest that this case be dismissed," Wolf said.

The issue of just who was going to represent Bulger and how the lawyers were going to be paid sparked outrage among Bulger's victims. Bulger himself taunted Judge Bowler last week when he said he could fund his own defense if the feds just gave back his $822,000.

However, legal observers, including Boston defense attorney Anthony Cardinale, said Bowler's ruling made sense.

"He has said he doesn't have enough money to pay for a lawyer," Cardinale told ABCNews.com. "It's as simple as that. And this is the kind of case that requires a lawyer with very specific qualifications and abilities and manpower....The guy deserves the best defense that can be given to him, even though he is a monster. Now, if his financial statement later turns out to be false and he does have money hidden around, well, then he could be charged with perjury. But that's the least of his problems."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun282011

James 'Whitey' Bulger Case: Feds Want to Focus on Murder Charges

WCVB-TV BOSTON(BOSTON) -- Federal prosecutors said Tuesday they want to drop racketeering charges against James "Whitey" Bulger so they can press on with murder-related charges against the former boss of Boston's Irish mob.

Bulger, who was defiant in his first appearance last week, shuffled into court Tuesday afternoon looking tired and subdued. Wearing an orange jumpsuit with the letters PCCF on the back, the mobster said nothing during the 30-minute proceedings.

It was a sharp contrast to his cocky performance last week, when he told the presiding judge he wouldn't need a court-appointed attorney if the feds would give him his money back.

The hearing Tuesday was supposed to revolve around Bulger's financial status and whether he needed taxpayer money to foot the bill for his legal representation. According to a court filing by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Massachusetts, Bulger had $822,198 in cash hidden in a wall when he was arrested June 22 after 16 years on the run.

Instead of money, the hearing before Judge Mark Wolf dealt with the government's request to dismiss "with prejudice" the 1994 racketeering charges against Bulger. The government filed a motion Tuesday to dismiss those lesser charges in favor of concentrating on more serious charges involving 19 murders that were filed in 1999.

Both the court and the defense have a chance to fight the dismissal of those charges. Peter Krupp, Bulger's current court-appointed attorney, made a plea for time to confer with his client and called the government's request to dismiss the racketeering charges "troubling" and referred to it as "forum shopping."

If prosecutors were allowed to drop the charges that include extortion, loan sharking, witness tampering and conspiracy, it would remove Bulger's case from Wolf's court, since another judge is assigned to the indictment on the murder charges.

Wolf asked Bulger's attorney to file paperwork related to the federal prosecutors' request by the end of the day Wednesday.

Krupp then asked the judge to look into leaks by law enforcement officials to members of the press. Government lawyers quickly jumped in to say they were conducting their own investigation into leaks and would respond to the court by Wednesday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun282011

Whitey Bulger Back in Court for Ruling on His Defense

FBIUPDATE: The decision on whether taxpayers should pay for Whitey Bulger's defense was postponed Tuesday. Prosecutors dismissed one of the two indictments against Bulger so they can focus on what they believe is the stronger indictment that could put Bulger away for life.

(BOSTON) -- James "Whitey" Bulger, a suspected organized crime boss charged in connection with 19 murders, returns to a Boston courtroom Tuesday where a judge is expected to rule whether taxpayers have to pay for his defense.

Bulger, 81, asked for court-appointed counsel -- something prosecutors reject -- pointing out that he "financed a relatively comfortable lifestyle for himself and his [60-year-old] girlfriend," Catherine Greig, in Santa Monica, California in the years before his arrest.

Court records say Bulger bragged to the FBI that he visited Las Vegas "on numerous occasions" to play the slots, claiming he won more than he lost.  Associates have also said that Bulger has been hiding money for years.

Regardless of whether any of this is true, prosecutors argue that it doesn't matter.  They say Bulger has "every incentive to lie and stick taxpayers with the bill for his defense."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun272011

Whitey Bulger on Life as a Fugitive: 'I Was Armed to the Teeth'

WCVB-TV BOSTON(BOSTON) -- Whitey Bulger told federal officials he dressed in disguise and snuck into Boston "armed to the teeth" to visit close confidants and "take care of unfinished business" while he was living in hiding as a fugitive, according to a government court document, obtained by ABC News, arguing against the mobster getting taxpayer-funded defense.

Bulger spilled that staggering detail -- along with the news that he stashed money with people he trusted -- while traveling from California to Boston's Logan Airport after his capture at a Santa Monica rent-controlled apartment where he had spent the last 15 years on the lam, according to the government's argument.

"Bulger acknowledged visiting Las Vegas on numerous occasions to play the slots and claimed he won more than he lost,'' according to federal prosecutors.

Bulger, according to prosecutors, did not specify whom he visited with or what kind of "unfinished business" he engaged in. The 81-year-old Boston mobster, who was the FBI's most wanted fugitive, fled Massachusetts in 1995 with his moll, Catherine Greig.

The couple were arrested without incident June 22 outside his apartment where investigators found $822,198 in $100 bills bundled together and secreted in a hiding space behind the walls. He also stashed more than 30 weapons at the apartment.

Tuesday, the federal prosecutors plan to argue that Bulger has hidden money with friends and possibly family members since he became a fugitive. They will petition a judge to require affidavits from Bulger's brothers, William Bulger, the former speaker of the House in Massachusetts, and John Bulger, about their assets. John Bulger used a check from his personal checking account to pay rent on a safe deposit box at a Clearwater, Fla., bank where Whitey Bulger had obtained the box in 1982 and put in the name of another longtime girlfriend, Theresa Stanley, prosecutors said.

"Bulger may have additional assets and or allies willing to assist him in his current predicament,'' the government argued. "After he was arrested, defendant Bulger told the U.S. Pretrial Services Office in Los Angeles that the defendant's brother, William Bulger, might be willing to assist in posting bail for the defendant's long-time companion Catherine Greig."

On Monday, Greig hired well-known criminal defense attorney Kevin Reddington. It is unclear who is paying for the defense, and Reddington did not return calls from ABC News. Bulger attorney Peter Krupp could not be reached for comment.

Investigators also said they are analyzing two cellphones to see whom the Boston mobster was contacting.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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