Notorious gangster James “Whitey’’ Bulger appears to have written one and possibly two memoirs, including one titled “My Life in the Irish Mafia Wars.’’ And now prosecutors hope to use his own words against him, according to documents filed Tuesday in federal court.
A manuscript, “which appears to be autobiographical,’’ was recovered when FBI agents captured Bulger and his girlfriend, Catherine Greig, 60, last June 22 and searched the apartment they shared at 1012 Third St. in Santa Monica, Calif., according to a status report filed by prosecutors.
A second document titled “My Life in the Irish Mafia Wars’’ was seized on Jan. 5, 1995 - the day after a warrant was issued for Bulger’s arrest in Boston on federal extortion charges - during a search of the South Boston home he shared with his former girlfriend, Teresa Stanley, the report said.
“It is unclear at this juncture whether [Bulger] authored this document,’’ prosecutors wrote. However, they said, they may use the document as evidence against the 82-year-old Bulger when he goes to trial in November on charges of racketeering and committing 19 murders.
Federal prosecutors revealed the existence of the two documents for the first time in their report detailing all of the evidence that may be used against Bulger and has been shared with his lawyers as required by law. Prosecutors did not disclose what was in the memoirs.
Bulger’s attorney, J.W. Carney Jr., declined to comment on the court filing or any plans by the gangster to turn author.
Bulger’s possible literary aspirations came as a surprise to his former girlfriend Stanley, 70, who said during a telephone interview Tuesday that she did not know anything about the memoir seized from the Silver Street home in South Boston that she shared with Bulger for several decades before he went on the run.
“I never even saw him write in a journal or anything,’’ Stanley said. “It does surprise me. It’s not going to be a jolly book. . . . He was just so private with everything so to write a book doesn’t seem like him.’’
Stanley said an author sent Bulger a proposal decades ago urging him to collaborate on a book or magazine piece about his life, but the gangster did not seem interested. “He wanted to know what [Bulger] thought and was he interested in talking to him,’’ Stanley said. “Nothing ever came of it.’’
Stanley, who spent several weeks on the run with Bulger when he first fled, said she was hiding out with her fugitive boyfriend in New York when state and federal investigators searched her home. She said she later learned they seized boxes of books, mail, and papers from the first-floor exercise room in her house that Bulger had set up as a weight room and used to store his personal belongings. But, she said, she was never told about the memoir.
A longtime FBI informant, Bulger fled just before his 1995 indictment after being tipped off by his former FBI handler that he was about to be arrested. He is charged with 19 murders and was one of the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted when agents finally captured him and Greig, who allegedly joined Bulger on the run after he dropped Stanley back home in early 1995.
During a search of the Santa Monica apartment where Bulger and Greig had lived since at least 1998, the FBI not only found the manuscript believed to be penned by Bulger, but also more than $820,000 in cash and 30 loaded guns hidden inside the walls.
After his arrest, Bulger boasted to FBI agents that while investigators were conducting a worldwide manhunt for him he had slipped back to Boston several times and even made trips to Las Vegas where he “won more than he lost,’’ according to prosecutors.
Investigators have found a photograph of Bulger in Las Vegas, according to the report filed Tuesday. However, it does not say when the photo was taken.
Greig is slated to plead guilty Wednesday to charges that she helped Bulger evade capture for more than 16 years. A plea agreement made public Monday prohibits Greig from profiting from her life with Bulger with a book or movie. She would have to forfeit any profits to the government.
Many of Bulger’s former criminal associates have collaborated on books about their lives, including John Martorano, Kevin Weeks, Patrick Nee, John “Red’’ Shea, and Eddie MacKenzie.
But Bulger, who is being held at the Plymouth County Correctional Facility, will face a battle if he turns author. More than a dozen civil suits were filed against him by his alleged victims.
Julie Dammers, formerly Julie Rakes, holds a $31 million judgment against Bulger after a judge found the gangster used threats of violence in the 1980s to seize control of a South Boston liquor store from her and her former husband.
“If [Bulger] makes money selling some . . . story, some fanciful recreation of his life, terrific because some of the victims could get some money,’’ said Anthony Cardinale, a Boston lawyer who represents Dammers. “He owes the money, and if he’s got any money coming in, we expect the marshals to execute on that judgment.’’
The family of 26-year-old Debra Davis, who was allegedly strangled to death in 1981 by Bulger and his partner, Stephen “The Rifleman’’ Flemmi, won a $15 million state court judgment against each of the gangsters in 2009.
“It sounds good, but look at the whole picture,’’ said Davis’s brother, Steven, who is not optimistic about collecting from Bulger and doubts he would pen a candid memoir. “Do you actually think he would write a manuscript on all the bad stuff he’s done without a statute of limitations on murder? It would be like him saying, ‘Here’s the key, lock me up.’ ’’Shelley Murphy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.