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

  • Ousted Malaysia PM formally questioned about looting of state fund

    World News CBC News
    Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was grilled for more than four hours Tuesday over a corruption scandal that could lead to criminal charges against him, while the country's new anti-graft chief said investigations into the case were suppressed by intimidation during Najib's rule. Source
  • Toronto police arrest man suspected in transit stabbings

    Canada News CTV News
    Toronto police have arrested a man alleged to have stabbed two people while using the city's transit system. The first incident happened early Sunday morning on a Toronto Transit Commission bus in the city's west end. Source
  • Heatwave in Pakistan's Karachi kills 65 amid power cuts

    World News CTV News
    KARACHI, Pakistan - A Pakistani welfare organization says the heatwave gripping the region amid widespread power cuts has killed 65 people in Karachi. Anwar Kazmi, a spokesman for the private group Edhi, which is also the country's largest ambulance service, said on Tuesday that their morgue received 65 bodies over the past four days, including of people who died after losing consciousness on the streets. Source
  • Ontario party leaders campaigning in the GTA

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO - With a little more than two weeks left before Ontario voters cast their ballots on June 7, all three major party leaders will stick close to the Greater Toronto Area today. Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne will make an announcement at a mental health hospital in Toronto before heading to a downtown variety store and an evening interview with TV network CP24. Source
  • Canadians stranded in Cuba after plane crash begin returning home

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL - A Montreal-based travel agency says hundreds of Canadians who were stuck in Cuba since a plane crash last week are returning home. Caribe Sol said Monday that Cubana Airlines was resuming operations after the passenger jet crash on Friday killed 111 people. Source
  • Trump fundraiser sought to leverage access to Oval Office for fortune in contracts from Persian Gulf

    World News CBC News
    In a pursuit of money and influence that began at U.S. President Donald Trump's inauguration, two American businessmen sought to leverage connections that stretched from Persian Gulf palaces to the Oval Office into more than a billion dollars in contracts. Source
  • Man ordered free decades later in murder case of pizza deliveryman

    World News CTV News
    BATON ROUGE, La. - A Louisiana judge has ordered the release of an inmate whose attorneys have accused prosecutors of withholding "staggering" evidence of the man's innocence in a pizza deliveryman's killing two decades ago. Source
  • Foreign media arrive for North Korea nuclear site closing

    World News CTV News
    WONSAN, Korea, Democratic People's Republic Of - Foreign journalists have arrived in North Korea to cover the dismantling of the country's nuclear test site later this week. South Korean media initially scheduled to join were not allowed onto Tuesday's charter flight from Beijing. Source
  • Depression preceded fatal crash into N.C. restaurant, pastor says

    World News CTV News
    BESSEMER CITY, N.C. - A North Carolina man accused of crashing a car into a restaurant table full of loved ones, killing two, had suffered for weeks with depression and previously asked his family to take his guns away, his pastor says. Source
  • Australian archbishop convicted of child sex abuse cover-up

    World News CBC News
    An Australian archbishop who was the most senior Roman Catholic cleric in the world charged with covering up child sex abuse was convicted Tuesday and faces a potential two years in prison. Magistrate Robert Stone handed down the verdict against Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson in Newcastle Local Court, north of Sydney, following a magistrate-only trial. Source