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Daily Archives: July 11th, 2011

Margaret McCusker, right, arrives to give support to her twin sister, Catherine Greig. The woman on the left is unidentified

In testimony that may undermine Catherine Greig’s bid for freedom, an FBI agent testified today that Greig routinely walked by herself during the first weeks she and James “Whitey” Bulger were on the run together.

Special Agent Michael Carasza also testified that Greig used a phone card – purchased by Bulger in Oklahoma – to call her twin sister, Margaret McCusker, while she was living with Bulger, who was then a fugitive from justice.

McCusker is trying to help her twin be released and has offered her South Boston home as collateral. McCusker appeared to be upset by some of what the FBI agent is saying, and has left — and returned to the courtroom since Carasza — at least twice. At one point, she was seen nodding her head in apparent disagreement as the agent described how McCusker kept in touch with Greig over the years.

Carasza testified that Greig called a neighbor of McCusker’s, identified in court as Thomas Sheehan, to get a clear line to use while talking with her twin. McCusker took the phone call, the agent testified.

Carasza also testified that Greig and Bulger both used several different identities over the years, but he did not say if the people were aware their personas were being used by someone else. He said that some false identities were made in Chicago in 1996 when Bulger and Greig posed in front of a blanket for the photographs.

Bulger, the agent said, wore a false moustache.

Prosecutors submitted a list of those fake identities – but they were immediately sealed.

Carasza testified that after she joined Bulger, the two made their way to Grand Isles, Lousiana.

“People indicated Catherine Greig would often walk along the beach and roads of Grand Isles, alone,” Carazza testified, suggesting that Greig was free to leave when she wanted.

McCusker told reporters before court got underway that she was hoping for a positive outcome today, but declined further comment.

“Not now, hon,” she said, smiling to a reporter.

When Greig showed up in court, the two sisters exchanged smiles.

Carasza later testified that McCusker drove her sister to a meeting with Weeks, who then drove Greig to Malibu Beach in Dorchester where she met Bulger – and left with him.

Carasza said that during the search for Bulger, investigators tracked Greig by focusing on her use of surgery.

“We developed information Catherine Greig had cosmetic surgery … more than once,’’ he said.

He said investigators checked with coin stores in hopes of finding information that would lead them to Bulger.

Carasza said investigators checked with coin stores in hopes of finding information that would lead them to Bulger. The FBI agent said Bulger had safe deposit boxes in Dublin and London where his brother, former Senate president William Bulger, was listed as a contact.

In January 1995 when Bulger learned from his associate, Kevin Weeks, about a racketeering indictment, Bulger went to a Clearwater, Fla., safe deposit box – which his brother, Jack, began paying rent on, the agent testified.

US Attorney Carmen Ortiz’s office, which is prosecuting both Bulger and Greig, did not file a public response to Greig’s request for bail.

However, federal prosecutors and Greig’s attorney, Kevin J. Reddington, this afternoon filed a joint request that the defense not publicly disclose any evidence the government provides to Reddington in the coming weeks.

The information can include forensic test results, information from informants, and investigative reports that incriminate Greig, according to the paperwork filed in court.

In its proposed order, both sides said they fear pre-trial publicity will damage Greig’s right to a fair trial and that there is a concern that witnesses will alter their testimony to match what they read in the news media.

Greig, a dental hygienist by trade, was arrested along with Bulger in Santa Monica, Calif., last month and had been living with him during most of his 16 years as one of America’s most wanted fugitives. Authorities allegedly seized more than $800,000 in cash and a small arsenal of weapons in the walls of the home.

Reddington argued in court records that Greig was simply Bulger’s longtime companion, and that she did nothing to conceal or protect him from arrest, the threshold for the harboring charge.

“By all accounts, she is considered by family, neighbors, and acquaintances as a kind, gentle person with a loving personality,” Reddington said in court documents asking for her release. “She has no criminal conduct and has the strong support of her family and close friends.”

Reddington said Greig will be willing to abide by certain conditions such as wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet to convince the court she will not flee before trial. He also argued that the potential jail sentence she faces of about three years does not rise to the level of potential incarceration that is needed to detain her pending trial.

Greig is appearing before US Magistrate Judge Jennifer Boal this afternoon.

Bulger, the notorious gangster who was an FBI informant before his handler tipped him off of a pending indictment in 1994, faces a series of charges that include 19 slayings. He pleaded not guilty after his arraignment last week and has agreed to remain detained pending his trial.