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In letter, Greig’s sister pleaded for leniency

Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

Defense lawyer Kevin J. Reddington had urged a shorter, 27-to-33-month sentence for Catherine Greig.

Aassociated Press

Catherine Greig

One day after Catherine E. Greig was sentenced to eight years in prison for helping James “Whitey’’ Bulger elude law enforcement for 16 years, her lawyer filed a brief legal document Wednesday seeking to overturn her conviction.

Kevin J. Reddington filed the one-paragraph “claim of ­appeal’’ in US District Court in Boston, where Judge Douglas P. Woodlock sentenced Greig Tuesday to eight years in prison.

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On Tuesday, the US Probation Office advised Woodlock that Greig should face a sentence ranging from 27 months to 33 months, based on the ­nature of the charges, her personal history, and the fact that she had no prior record.

Reddington urged Woodlock to sentence her to 27 months, while prosecutors argued that her prison sentence should be increased to 10 years.

Prosecutors argued that Greig, 61, should face a longer sentence because she had to have known about 30 guns Bulger hid in their apartment in Santa Monica, Calif. They said she lied to court officials in California after her arrest last year by saying she had no ­assets. She owns a house in Quincy and at the time had a bank account in Boston containing $135,000.

Leaning toward prosecutors’ recommendation, Woodlock sentenced Greig to eight years.

Reddington did not return telephone calls Wednesday. US Attorney Carmen Ortiz’s office declined comment, except to note that Greig has the right to appeal court rulings.

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Boston lawyer Michael ­Kendall, a former federal prosecutor now handling white collar defense cases, said by phone Wednesday that there is probably just one issue Reddington wants reviewed: the eight-year sentence.

“Hypothetically, you can do that, but practically, I wouldn’t bet the rent money on it,’’ said Kendall of the firm McDermott Will & Emery. “It doesn’t sound like an appeal with a great chance of success.’’

Steve Davis, whose sister Debra Davis was allegedly killed by Bulger in 1991, offered the sarcastic suggestion Wednesday that Greig should drop her appeal because she has what she wants. When they lived in California, Bulger and Greig had separate bedrooms, he noted.

“They are going to be in the same place [prison], but sleeping in different cells, so she should be happy with that,’’ ­Davis said.

Also on Wednesday, federal officials unsealed a letter that Catherine Greig’s twin sister, Margaret McCusker, sent to Woodlock pleading for leniency. McCusker wrote that she wanted him to know that Greig grew up with an alcoholic ­father and that her sister had no role in Bulger’s alleged crimes.

“Cathy never possessed an evil bone in her body and was never involved in Jim Bulger’s activities,’’ McCusker wrote in the letter.

McCusker said she did not know why her sister went on the run with Bulger. McCusker said her sister had “a sense of duty to care for people that most of us do not have. She has touched many with her kind acts and her love for animals is unsurpassed.’’

McCusker stated that while growing up in South Boston, her family had a “lonely life’’ because they were kept isolated from their neighbors because of a family secret. “My father drank to excess,” she said. “ We grew up in a family environment that did not interact with society well. . . .Cathy did not have a strong father figure in her life.’’

McCusker urged Woodlock to note “the positive influence she had upon Bulger.”

“She is portrayed by the ­media and the US attorney’s ­office as a person who was corrupt; that assertion is so far from the truth,’’ McCusker said.

She added: “She did not participate in any criminal enterprise then or now. She is guilty of falling for someone that was involved in those kinds of things. . . . Cathy saw a side of Bulger that tough guys who worked for him never did.’’

Tim Connors,37, whose ­father, Edward, was allegedly shot to death by Bulger June 12, 1975, said Wednesday that ­McCusker’s letter should never have been allowed to be added to the case. He noted she was convicted of perjury in 1999 for lying about telephone calls she got from Greig after Greig went on the run with Bulger.

“She was convicted of perjury, so this thing should have been put through the paper shredder,’’ he said. “You can’t have a convicted perjurer as a character witness.’’

McCusker’s letter to Woodlock was unsealed Wednesday along with letters sent by relatives of some of the people Bulger allegedly conspired to murder.

John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Shelley Murphy can be reached at
shmruphy@globe.com.

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