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James ‘Whitey’ Bulger finally opens up, in letters

He didn’t want to testify at his long-awaited trial, but James “Whitey” Bulger is now talking.

In letters written since his trial last month, the notorious gangster continues to defend himself, says he’s preparing for an appeal, and romanticizes about his long-term relationship with Catherine Greig, who is serving an eight-year prison sentence for helping him stay on the run for 16 years.

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“If I met Catherine at a younger age I would have had a better life. She was the best thing that ever happened to me,” Bulger wrote. “My 16 years on the run were the happiest years of my life and hers.”

The media website Radar Online published the letters, which it said it obtained exclusively. One of his lawyers, Hank Brennan, would only say that Bulger has written multiple letters and continues to state his side of the case. The recipient of all the Radar Online letters was not known, though one was addressed to Eric Morrison.

Bulger, who turned 84 this week, was convicted just over three weeks ago in a sweeping racketeering indictment of running a criminal enterprise that brought terror upon the city for decades through murder, extortion, drug dealing, loan sharking, and gambling.

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The trial, which lasted nine weeks, was a climactic, dramatic end to a crime story that has captivated the city for decades and became the fodder for Hollywood scripts and multiple novels.

Bulger, who was a secret informant working for corrupt FBI agents, was captured in Santa Monica, Calif., in June 2011 after 16 years on the lam.

Bulger confirms in one letter that he offered to plead guilty and avoid a costly trial so that Greig could go free, but prosecutors declined.

“Her sentence is a crime,” he writes in cursive, while complaining that some of his former cohorts, who have acknowledged committing murders in exchange for testifying against him, remain free.

Milton Valencia can be reached at milton.valencia@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @miltonvalencia.
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