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Bulger planned to ask for ‘break’ for girlfriend

An image of letters sent by James “Whitey” Bulger.

An image of letters sent by James “Whitey” Bulger.

James “Whitey” Bulger said in letters sent from jail last fall that he planned to write to the judge who sentenced his girlfriend, Catherine Greig, to eight years in prison and urge him to “consider a break” for her and release her early.

“At present she is training a puppy to be a Service Dog for a handicapped child – it take 18 months would ask him that at the completion of the 18 months Catherine will suffer the seperation of missing this dog she will live with night and day and could he consider at that point she can rejoin society?” Bulger wrote.

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Bulger, one of the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted, was arrested in June 2011, along with Greig. They had been found living in a rent-controlled apartment in Santa Monica, Calif., just two blocks from the beach. Greig, 63, pleaded guilty to helping Bulger evade capture for more than 16 years and is serving her time at the federal penitentiary in Waseca, Minn. Her projected release date is June 10, 2018.

Bulger, 84, was convicted last summer of participating in 11 murders in the 1970s and 1980s while running a sprawling criminal organization, and is serving two life sentences at the federal penitentiary in Tucson, Ariz.

Eight letters, written by Bulger between September and October of last year when he was being held at the Plymouth County Correctional Facility, were filed Monday in Norfolk Superior Court in Dedham in support of a defense motion that has been pending since last year to overturn the 1981 murder conviction of Fred Weichel. Weichel’s defense team argues that Weichel was wrongly convicted of the 1980 slaying of 25-year-old Robert LaMonica in Braintree.

In the lengthy letters, Bulger portrayed himself as a gangster with values and standards who has been demonized by the media and was convicted on the word of lying former associates. He wrote that Weichel was wrongly convicted, but denied claims by Weichel that Bulger paid him a couple of visits after LaMonica’s slaying and threatened to kill him and his family if he implicated the true killer.

In one letter, which was accompanied by a copy of a Boston Globe article published in October about Weichel’s efforts to get his conviction overturned, Bulger wrote, “Shocked to see Fred says I helped frame him.”

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Bulger also wrote that several of his former associates were lying when they claimed that Bulger urged then-FBI agent John J. Connolly Jr. in 1980 not to tell authorities that he saw Weichel in a Boston bar some 15 minutes before LaMonica was shot to death miles away in Braintree.

Connolly could have provided Weichel with an alibi, according to the associates, but at Bulger’s urging never testified at his trial.

“Christ they make me look like some kind of a mental case,” wrote Bulger, referring to statements made by his former associates, as well as Weichel and his lawyer.

“This article hurts because of the lies and more bad press,” Bulger wrote. “No way I would have told J.C. [Connolly] to forget it – I had control but not that much if that were the story he would never backed off because I said that truth is if that came up Id have encouraged his testimony.”

Connolly was convicted in 2008 of leaking information to Bulger and Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, both long-time FBI informants, that prompted them to orchestrate the 1982 slaying of Boston businessman John B. Callahan in Florida. Connolly is serving a 40-year prison term for murder. He had previously served a 10-year prison term after his 2002 federal racketeering conviction in Boston.

In his letters, Bulger repeats claims made at his trial last year that he was never an informant, but instead paid Connolly and another corrupt agent for information. He accused Connolly of fabricating his informant file to cover up their corrupt relationship.

Bulger wrote, “Correction I wasn’t buying ‘Protection’ I bought info. On who was being bugged by Gov – what cases on – how far directed them keep me up to date – I was Santa Clause and no one wants to see Santa out of action because they have developed a serious Habit that is only statisfied with $. That’s it.”

Bulger wrote the letters to one of Weichel’s supporters. Weichel’s lawyer redacted the person’s name from the documents, saying the person did not want to be identified and is no longer in contact with the defense.

The Globe reported today on Bulger’s emergence as an unlikely ally for Weichel. Bulger wrote in the letters that the real killer was an unnamed close friend of Weichel. Bulger also offered to give a tape-recorded statement but warned that it should be done soon “just in case I have a heart attack,” citing several heart problems.

Shelley Murphy can be reached at Shelley.Murphy@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shelleymurph.

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