By DENISE LAVOIEAP Legal Affairs Writer
BOSTON (AP) - The day after the longtime girlfriend of mobster James "Whitey" Bulger was sentenced to eight years in prison for helping him while he was on the run, her lawyer filed a notice in court saying she may appeal.
The one-paragraph document filed in federal court Wednesday says Catherine Greig claims her right to appeal to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Though the notice mentions an appeal of the conviction, attorney Kevin Reddington said she is not planning to. The notice can be withdrawn if she decides not to appeal her sentence.
Greig, 61, pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to harbor a fugitive, identity fraud and conspiracy. She admitted she helped Bulger while he was a fugitive, using false identities, accompanying him to medical appointments and picking up his prescriptions.
Reddington said that Greig was in love with Bulger when she fled Boston with him in 1995 and that she did not believe he was capable of the murders he is accused of committing.
Greig's twin sister wrote in a pre-sentencing letter to the judge that Greig deserved leniency because she "never possessed an evil bone in her body" and wasn't involved in any crimes attributed to Bulger.
Margaret McCusker's letter to U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock said Bulger was charismatic and had "a certain power over people" but added, "I cannot speak to exactly why she left with him."
McCusker wrote that her sister grew up in a family affected by their father's alcoholism and always "had a sense of duty to care for people.
"She has touched many with her kind acts, and her love for animals is unsurpassed," McCusker wrote in the letter, unsealed Wednesday.
She said she did not know whether her sister was alive during the time she was gone with Bulger, who's in his 80s.
Bulger and Greig were apprehended in June 2011 in Santa Monica, Calif. They posed as married retirees from Chicago and had a stash of more than $800,000 in cash and 30 weapons in their apartment when they were captured.
On Tuesday, the judge sentenced Greig to eight years in prison, below the 10-year sentence recommended by prosecutors but well above the 27-month sentence recommended by her attorney.
Bulger, the former leader of the notorious Winter Hill Gang and an FBI informant, has pleaded not guilty to charges of participating in 19 murders. He awaits trial.
Under federal rules of appellate procedure, a defendant must file a notice of appeal within 14 days after sentencing. If Greig didn't file the notice, she would be barred from ever considering an appeal, so the notice is a safeguard.
Christina DiIorio-Sterling, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, said it is Greig's right to appeal.
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