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Catherine Greig may fight sentence

Catherine Greig

AP

Catherine Greig.

Catherine Greig, the longtime girlfriend of James “Whitey” Bulger, who was convicted of helping the gangster evade capture for more than 16 years, is considering whether to challenge her eight-year prison sentence, her lawyer said Thursday.

The lawyer, Kevin Reddington, said during a brief telephone interview that the 61-year-old Greig will not appeal her conviction.

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She pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to harbor a fugitive, conspiracy to commit identity fraud, and identity fraud. But he said she is trying to decide whether to appeal the sentence of eight years handed out Tuesday by US District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock.

Reddington filed a notice of appeal on Wednesday that preserves his client’s right to challenge the case, but he said Greig has yet to decide whether she will pursue any appeal.

“Obviously I’m not going to try to vacate the plea,’’ Reddington said. “If we do appeal, the only issue is whether the judge abused his discretion’’ in calculating what her federal sentencing guideline range was.

Reddington had asked that Greig serve 27 to 33 months, the time frame that probation officials calculated under sentencing guidelines.

But Woodlock agreed with prosecutors that probation officials did not add certain enhancements in their calculations that were unique to Greig’s case: the fact that she lied to authorities after her arrest and that she knew about the cash and guns hidden in the walls of the Santa Monica, Calif., apartment she and Bulger had been staying in.

Woodlock, however, rejected a request by prosecutors to toughen the sentence based on Greig and Bulger’s targeting of homeless people with mental illness to buy their identifications. Prosecutors submitted a letter unsealed Thursday from one of those people in which the woman rambles about terrorism, evidence that she was mentally disturbed. However, the judge said both people willingly sold their identifications.

The judge calculated a sentencing range of seven years and three months to nine years in prison, before handing out the eight-year sentence. Prosecutors had asked that she serve 10 years.

Bulger, 82, who fled just before his January 1995 federal racketeering indictment in Boston, was captured along with Greig on June 22, 2011, in Santa Monica, where they had lived in the same apartment since at least 1996. Agents found the guns and more than $822,000 stuffed in the walls. Woodlock found that Greig lied to court officials in California after her arrest by claiming she had no assets, failing to disclose that she owned a home in Quincy and had a bank account in Boston containing more than $135,000.

Reddington acknowledged that federal sentencing guidelines are advisory, and therefore even if an appeals court ordered a new sentencing hearing for Greig, the judge could still find that the eight-year sentence was appropriate.

Bulger, a longtime FBI informant, is slated to stand trial Nov. 5 in federal court in Boston in a sweeping federal racketeering case that charges him with participating in 19 murders.

His attorney, J.W. Carney Jr., plans to ask a magistrate judge to postpone the trial, saying the amount of work required for the case is overwhelming and that he needs more time to prepare. The request is due June 20, and a hearing is slated for June 25.

Milton Valencia contributed to this report.

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