Time running out to charge anyone who helped 'Whitey' Bulger

BOSTON -- Investigators who spent years building a criminal case against gangster James "Whitey" Bulger have long believed he had multiple helpers when he fled Boston and went on the run.

See Full Article

But if prosecutors don't bring charges within the next few months, the only person to be charged with actually assisting the notorious crime boss during his 16 years as a fugitive will be his longtime girlfriend.

The statute of limitations for harbouring a fugitive is five years. The clock began ticking when Bulger was captured in Santa Monica, California, on June 22, 2011, and runs out on June 22, 2016.

Catherine Greig, who accompanied Bulger on his long flight from justice, was sentenced to eight years in prison for helping him.

Greig faces additional prison time after pleading guilty last month to contempt for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating who else may have helped Bulger.

Now the question is, without Greig's help, will anyone else ever be charged?

"I don't think the chances are great. I'd be happy to see it, but I'd be surprised to see it," said retired state police Col. Thomas Foley, who spent two decades pursuing Bulger.

Bulger, now 86, is serving a life sentence after being convicted of a litany of crimes during a 2013 racketeering trial, including participating in 11 murders.

Over the years, investigators suspected Bulger received help from his family, and attention focused on his brother, William Bulger, a powerful political figure who was president of the state Senate for 17 years.

But William Bulger has denied helping his brother while he was a fugitive and has never been charged. In testimony before a federal grand jury in 2001, William Bulger acknowledged that he and his brother spoke by phone shortly after he fled Boston in late 1994. William Bulger also acknowledged that he did not encourage his brother to surrender.

"I don't feel an obligation to help everyone catch him," he said, according to leaked transcripts of testimony published in The Boston Globe.

Another brother, John "Jackie" Bulger, pleaded guilty to perjury and obstruction of justice in 2003 for lying to federal grand juries. Jackie Bulger admitted he had spoken to his brother while he was a fugitive. He also admitted lying when he testified he had no knowledge about a safe deposit box owned by his brother.

Greig's twin sister, Margaret McCusker, pleaded guilty to lying to a grand jury about having contact with her sister after she fled Boston with Bulger.

Kevin Weeks, a key Bulger henchman, admitted that he provided Bulger with fake identification while he was on the run. Weeks, who testified against Bulger, served five years in prison for being an accessory to five murders, but was not charged with helping Bulger as a fugitive.

Although the statute of limitations on the harbouring charge ends in June, prosecutors could potentially have more time to bring a different charge. If, for example, Bulger had assets hidden and someone moved them after his arrest in 2011, that person could potentially be charged with obstruction of justice. The statute of limitations would begin running on the date the assets were moved.

Or, if someone lied to the grand jury after Bulger's arrest, that person could be charged with perjury for up to five years. Likewise, if someone lied to the FBI after Bulger's arrest, that person could be charged with making a false statement to a federal agent.

With Greig refusing to testify, another key question could remain unanswered: where is the money investigators believe Bulger hid?

While Bulger was a fugitive, the FBI seized cash and other items from safe deposit boxes in Florida, London, Canada and Ireland. But investigators believe that was just a fraction of the money Bulger made through his gang's illegal activities.

"I think the general belief was yeah, he had money stashed all over the place," said Tom Duffy, a retired state police trooper.

When Bulger and Greig were captured, authorities found $822,000 in cash in their apartment.

Prosecutors have said they will divide that among the families of Bulger's victims.

Patricia Donahue, whose husband was killed by Bulger and another man in 1982, said she has little hope any more money will be distributed to Bulger's victims.

"I'm sure there is probably money stashed out there somewhere, but I don't think we'll see it," she said.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Human rights group calls on Indonesian forces to stop virginity tests

    World News CTV News
    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Indonesia's military and police continue to perform abusive virginity tests on female recruits three years after the World Health Organization declared they had no scientific validity, an international human rights group said Wednesday. Source
  • 3-year-old killed, 3 others injured in Conn. crash after pursuit

    World News CTV News
    WATERBURY, Conn. - Authorities say a teenage driver fleeing police in Connecticut has crashed his car at an intersection, killing a 3-year-old and injuring three other people on the sidewalk. State police say Waterbury officers in an unmarked car tried to stop the unidentified 18-year-old Tuesday afternoon. Source
  • Australia loses 9th legislator in citizenship crisis

    World News CTV News
    CANBERRA, Australia - An Australian senator who is British by descent has become the ninth lawmaker to leave Parliament over a 116-year-old constitutional ban on dual nationals running for office that threatens to bring down the government. Source
  • Full interview: Zimbabwe opposition leader pushes for democracy

    World News CTV News
    Despite being arrested and beaten for challenging ousted Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe, the country’s opposition leader wishes to see a peaceful transition of power. In an interview with CTV National News Chief Anchor and Senior Editor Lisa LaFlamme, Morgan Tsvangirai said the top priority in Zimbabwe is installing a democratic election process that is fair, credible and “irreversible. Source
  • White House personnel investigated for improper foreign contact during Trump's Asia trip

    World News CBC News
    Three U.S. military personnel allegedly had improper contact with foreign women while traveling with U.S. President Donald Trump on his trip this month to Asia, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday. The three Army non-commissioned officers, who worked for the White House Communications Agency, have been reassigned from their White House jobs, according to the Post, which cited officials familiar with the situation. Source
  • Dramatic video shows escape, shooting of North Korean defector

    World News CTV News
    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of -- A North Korean soldier made a desperate dash to freedom in a jeep and then on foot, being shot at least five times as he limped across the border and was rescued by South Korean soldiers, according to dramatic video released by the U.S. Source
  • Inmate dies after meth-laden kiss of death; girlfriend gets 2 years

    World News CTV News
    PORTLAND, Ore. -- An Oregon woman whose inmate boyfriend died from a meth-laden kiss after a prison visit was sentenced to two years behind bars Tuesday on a drug conspiracy charge. Melissa Ann Blair and Anthony Powell shared a long kiss at the end of a visit last year at the Oregon State Penitentiary and she passed seven tiny balloons filled with methamphetamine into his mouth. Source
  • Creative, humane solutions needed in Nova Scotia feral cat crisis

    Canada News CTV News
    Nova Scotia faces an uphill battle when it comes to the area’s feral cat problem, but experts are working to find creative and humane solutions to the issue. While the total numbers are unknown, Halifax city staff estimate there could be as many as 90,000 feral cats in the Halifax Regional Municipality alone. Source
  • 'Mladic must answer for these crimes': Former Bosnian Serb general awaits war crimes verdict

    World News CBC News
    Enes Paratusic, who was tortured, beaten, and nearly starved to death years ago during the Bosnian war, says true justice for Ratko Mladic would be forcing him to live near the graves of his victims. "They should build a house there for him and let him live with those people. Source
  • Under new mayor, Montreal moves to repeal pit bull-type ban

    Canada News CTV News
    Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante's new administration isn't wasting any time moving ahead with its election promise to repeal the city's controversial ban on pit bull-type dogs. City councillor Craig Sauve says there are plans to consult with scientists, veterinarians, the SPCA and dog owners about a new bylaw. Source