Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

South Boston Federal Detention Hearing For Catherine Greig Continues – Want To Know Why?

Yesterday was another day in the Whitey Bulger/ Catherine Greig Follies (hereinafter, the “Follies”). It was Day Two of the bail hearing for Ms. Greig, during which time witnesses with absolutely nothing relevant to say were given the chance to throw verbal barbs at the couple-at-issue as the court decides whether to hold Ms. Greig, a woman with no criminal record and charged with something punishable by relatively little prison time, without bail.

As you know, Greig is accused of helping Bulger elude authorities throughout their 16 years “on the lam”.

During the hearing, Ms. Greig’s attorney portrayed her as a woman who was subservient to her infamous beau and knew little about the extent of his crimes. With little else to gnaw on, fascinated onlookers surmise that this provides a crack through which her likely defense can be examined.

“This woman is not a violent person. … Her only crime is a crime of passion — falling in love with this gentleman,” the experienced criminal defense attorney argued. He described his client as a meek woman who knew little about Bulger’s crimes when she fled Boston with him. Thereafter, one is left to imagine, to whatever little degree she learned of his past, she was too frightened to turn him in.

Interestingly, F.B.I. testimony at the hearing reflected that the feds, in their own documents, acknowledged that it seemed as though Bulger treated Greig like a servant.

According to said reports, he was harsh and controlling and his wish was her command.

Prosecutors argue that she liked living like that. After all, “She liked bad boys”.

In one of the more interesting moments of the Follies, the defense attorney called Bulger’s former top lieutenant, Kevin Weeks, as a witness to testify on his client’s behalf.

Mr. Weeks testified that Greig was not involved in Bulger’s crimes (which, of course, chiefly occurred before she took off with the man). He further said that Bulger’s reputation among some people in South Boston as a Robin Hood who kept drugs out of the neighborhood and helped old people. In other words, his client had no real reason to suspect he was a bad guy.

Now who could question the credibility of such testimony?

Well, the government did. They argue that weeks is painting a picture that differs from reality. On the other hand, he was apparently to be believed, as far as the government was concerned, when he aided them in the investigation and trial in earlier years which gained him a “better deal” when he faced charges.

In fact, it is probably why he is free today.

As mentioned above, the capper of yesterday’s Follies were the relatives of four people Bulger is accused of killing being allowed to give victim impact statements during the hearing.

Such statements are, of course, heard at the end of trials when there is a conviction. Hence the definition of the word “victim” and the relevance to the convicted defendant(s).

In this case, people expect a trial…but I don’t see why. After all, both defendants have already been convicted, haven’t they?

Attorney Sam’s Take On Prosecutorial Deals And Credibility

You do see what is going on here, don’t you?

The government had been after Whitey for a very long time. Many people actually believed that the feds would never “find” him for a variety of reasons. One of the chief reasons was that the man had been a government informant.

In other words, he supplied information to federal law enforcement upon which they relied in order to gain convictions against others. You know, similar to Kevin Weeks who’s credibility they now question. Of course, it goes without saying that anything that comes out of Whitey’s mouth at this point that does not inculpate him is also to be disregarded as far as they are concerned.

But, back then, he was the pillar of truth. Further, it would appear, the feds actually bent if not broke the rules in order to keep him free and in power. There are ex-federal agents who have spent time behind bars in connection to that debacle.

Now, you might think that, seeing how this all worked out, federal prosecutors would be less willing to utilize such “help”. Nope. They aren’t. In fact, they would probably tell you that they “can’t“. Sometimes you need to turn bad guys to catch even worse guys.

There is a problem with that about which nobody likes to talk. You see, it would be one thing if the criminal investigators really checked out, with an open mind, what informants tell them. However, this is not what happens.

As we have discussed many times in this blog, investigators decide early on what the truth is. Informants who are willing to be consistent with that truth are considered reliable. Otherwise, they are not.

Credibility, it seems, changes with the times and the ever-shifting winds of loyalty. Kind of like what happened to Sadam Hussein and our very same government.

And do we learn? Of course not…and that is, in my humble opinion, what is going on with Ms. Greig.

The prosecutors keep waiving the flag to the Magistrate Judge, “Hey, we may indict her with more charges!!!”
Well then, why have they not done so? They just learned about her this week and haven’t had the chance? Gee, that’s funny. Didn’t they say they caught Whitey because of their tactic of focusing on his girlfriend?

Well, it worked. But why do they want it both ways?

Simple. They were never interested in Greig. Searching for her, as they said, was a tactic to find Whitey. She has not become more important to them as time has gone by.

At least, not as a criminal defendant.

Ms. Greig’s real value to the government is as a potential witness against Whitey. No, she might not have much to give them about observing the crimes of which he is committed. But, he likely made some inculpatory statements. She likely knows where more assets are, should they exist. In other words, whether she is valuable at Whitey’s trial or not…she could be a warehouse of useful information both about him…and maybe even…of information of misdeeds of our governmental agents.

Wouldn’t it be nice for said government to have control of her, her memory and her mouth?

To view the articles upon which this blog is based, please go to http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2011/07/14/bulger_girlfriend_offers_glimpse_of_her_defense/ and http://www.boston.com/Boston/metrodesk/2011/07/catherine-greig-could-face-kin-boyfriend-james-whitey-bulger-alleged-victims/01ZENjr5tf0vB8mndpXwuI/index.html?p1=News_links

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