Bulger plans to take the stand

August 7, 2012

The Boston Globe on August 7, 2012 released the following:

“He would detail an immunity deal

By Milton J. Valencia
Globe Staff

James “Whitey” Bulger, once America’s most wanted criminal, will for the first time ­address the charges against him, taking the stand in his own defense in hope of convincing a jury that federal officials once granted him immunity for his many crimes, his lawyer said Monday.

J.W. Carney Jr. announced that plan during a hearing in US District Court in Boston. He said Bulger wants to provide a firsthand account of his relationship with the FBI and the deal he had for working secretly as a government informant.

“He is going to tell the truth, if the judge permits him to,” Carney later told reporters outside the federal courthouse.

Bulger’s testimony could further shed light on one of the darkest eras of the FBI, as the gangster would probably describe the crimes he committed, what the FBI knew of them, and whether he received promises for his cooperation, providing a firsthand, real-life account of the type of underworld events that have become the fodder of books and movies.

Carney said that Bulger, a ­fugitive for more than 16 years until his arrest in June 2011, wants to tell his story directly to jurors at his trial, scheduled for March, rather than bring it ­before US District Court Judge Richard Stearns, who is presiding over the case.

Bulger’s lead attorney has questioned whether Stearns, who was head of the criminal division in the US attorney’s ­office in Boston during part of the time Bulger allegedly committed his crimes, would be able to look at the immunity claim impartially.

“Our client believes that he will get fairer consideration on the issue of immunity from a jury than he will from the person who was the head of the criminal bureau of the United States attorney’s office,” Carney said, adding, “I expect that he will get a fair jury and trust that they will see the truth.”

Bulger, a notorious gangster in Boston, had been secretly working as an FBI informant while allegedly carrying out his crimes. He fled shortly before a federal indictment of him came down in January 1995, after ­being tipped off by his corrupt FBI handler, John Connolly, who is now in prison for his role in a murder linked to Bulger.

Later, hearings in US District Court in Boston exposed Bulger’s inappropriate relationship with the FBI, and he was eventually charged with participating in 19 murders. He was discovered and arrested in ­Santa Monica, Calif. in a rent-controlled apartment he had been sharing with his girlfriend, Catherine Greig, since 1996.

Family members of some of Bulger’s alleged victims said outside the courthouse Monday that Carney is getting desperate in his representation of the ­notorious gangster, and they questioned how Bulger could believe he had a “license to kill.”

But they also said they look forward to his testimony.

“I want to hear what he has to say,” said Patricia Donahue, whose husband, Michael, was an innocent bystander allegedly gunned down by Bulger in 1982 while giving a friend a ride home.

Whether Bulger will be able to raise an immunity defense before jurors remains an open question, according to legal ­analysts. The courts have established, in the case of Bulger’s longtime cohort, Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, that a ­defendant cannot claim immunity offered by a rogue FBI agent.

US District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf made that ruling, which was upheld by the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, when Flemmi said he and Bulger were granted ­immunity for passing along information incriminating the Mafia.

But Carney has said that Bulger’s deal was different: The 82-year-old gangster asserts the immunity was granted not by the FBI, but from within the US Department of Justice, which has the authority to make ­immunity agreements.

Carney would not identify the law enforcement official he said granted Bulger’s immunity, saying he will do that at trial. But he has indicated in court ­records that he plans to call as witnesses some of the former law enforcement officials who held leadership positions in the US attorney’s office, such as Stearns and William F. Weld, former governor, who was also a US attorney during a part of the time Bulger allegedly committed his crimes.

Carney also said he would introduce evidence that would impeach the credibility of past statements by former and ­deceased law enforcement officials, such as former US attorney Jeremiah O’Sullivan.

O’Sullivan was the US attorney who decided against indicting Bulger and Flemmi in a historic horse race-fixing scheme, though about 20 other gangsters, including associates in their Winter Hill gang, were charged and received lengthy prison sentences.

A.J. Manieri, a Providence-based criminal defense lawyer who has followed the Bulger case and others in organized crime, said the assertion of ­immunity seems to be a question of law that Stearns might have to decide before it reaches jurors. Prosecutors will probably argue that Bulger had no deal of immunity for crimes such as murder, and jurors should not be exposed to the assertion. Manieri said that the judge could exclude testimony that would not be relevant to the charges.

But he also said that Carney will want to show that the agreement came not from a rogue FBI agent, but from within the leadership of the Department of Justice. He said Carney could be successful just in having Stearns take up the legal ­issue because it would settle the question of law. “It’s going to be a bloodbath in there,” he said.”

————————————————————–

Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


James ‘Whitey’ Bulger girlfriend, Catherine Greig, agrees to plead guilty to three charges

March 13, 2012

The Boston Globe on March 12, 2012 released the following:

“By Milton J. Valencia and Shelley Murphy, Globe Staff

Catherine Greig, girlfriend of alleged murderous gangster James “Whitey” Bulger, has agreed to plead guilty to charges that she helped him to escape capture while he was on the lam for 16 years.

In a plea agreement filed in federal court today, Greig said she would plead to three charges — conspiracy to harbor a fugitive, conspiracy to commit identity fraud, and identity fraud — without an agreed-upon recommendation for sentencing by the government and her attorney. Greig is slated to go before a federal judge Wednesday.

In a statement of facts signed by Greig, also filed in court, she said, “I engaged in conduct that was intended to help Bulger avoid detection from law enforcement and to provide him with support and assistance during his flight from law enforcement.”

She admitted that she and Bulger had obtained false identification documents including driver’s licenses and Social Security cards of real people.

She admitted that she used one fake identity to pick up medicine and obtain medical services between 2002 and 2011, and used other aliases while dealing with a dentist who treated Bulger while they lived in Santa Monica, Calif.

Greig said she never used the fake identities “to defraud anyone else of money, good or other property, although I do readily agree that I was in possession of the false identities and that I used the false identities to fill out forms to obtain medical services.”

The documents were filed after relatives of people who were allegedly murdered by Bulger met with prosecutors.

Emerging from the hour-long meeting at US District Court in Boston, Tom Donahue and Steve Davis said prosecutors told them that each charge Greig faces carries a maximum five-year sentence, but that, under federal sentencing guidelines, she could serve as little as 32 months in prison. They also said prosecutors had told them that Greig, 60, would not be forced to testify against Bulger and that the government was not seeking forfeiture of her house.

Donahue and Davis said prosecutors didn’t disclose what sentence they would recommend. Prosecutors declined to comment in a statement issued this afternoon.

Donahue said he was disappointed by the news and felt the government should have been tougher on her.

“She helped that guy on the run,” he said. “We could have had these answers 16 years ago. She’s a criminal, she’s not a victim. She’s a criminal,” he said.

Davis said he understood that Greig was not the murderer — Bulger allegedly murdered 19 people — but Davis was disappointed by “the fact that the government has not put a tight enough grip on everything.”

“What they want out of this is they want the conviction,” he said.

Davis’s sister, Debra, was allegedly strangled by Bulger in 1981. Donahue’s father, Michael, was allegedly shot and killed by Bulger in 1982 on the South Boston waterfront.

Relatives of at least four of Bulger’s alleged victims attended the meeting.

Bulger, who fled just before his January 1995 federal racketeering indictment after being warned by his former FBI handler that he was about to be arrested, was a fixture on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list. He was finally captured on June 22 in Santa Monica, with Greig, a former dental hygienist who lived in South Boston and Quincy.

The FBI found more than $800,000 cash and 30 weapons hidden inside the walls of the rent-controlled apartment where the couple had lived as Charles and Carol Gasko for at least 13 years, according to the FBI. They also found numerous false identities allegedly used by the couple.

Since they were returned to the Boston area last year, Greig has remained jailed without bail at a Rhode Island facility, and Bulger is being held at the Plymouth County Correctional Facility.

Greig’s attorney, Kevin Reddington, has argued in court that her only crime was falling in love with Bulger and that she had no knowledge of any of his crimes. He also said she would not cooperate against Bulger.”

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Investigators conducted secret search of Mehanna’s home in Sudbury in 2006

October 29, 2011
Tarek Mehanna
Tarek Mehanna – Booking Photo

The Boston Globe on October 28, 2011 released the following:

“By Milton J. Valencia and Martin Finucane, Globe Staff

Investigators secretly searched the Sudbury home of alleged terror supporter Tarek Mehanna in August 2006, while Mehanna and his family were on vacation in Egypt, a state trooper testified today in Mehanna’s federal trial.

Trooper Thomas Sarrouf, who was assigned to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, was the first witness called in the high-profile trial in US District Court in Boston.

He said a team of investigators found a number of documents promoting jihad in Afghanistan and Iraq. He said investigators also found videos depicting “jihadist scenes, combat scenes, in areas of conflict around the globe.”

Defense attorney Janice Bassil, who cross-examined the trooper, called the operation, which was authorized by a secret intelligence court, a “sneak and peek” and questioned the quality of the search.

Mehanna, an Egyptian-American with a degree from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy who was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in Sudbury, faces charges that include conspiring to support a terror organization, providing support to terrorists, conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, and lying to a federal agent. He faces a maximum possible sentence of life in prison.

Prosecutors say that after unsuccessfully trying to enlist as a terrorist, Mehanna decided to become the “media wing” of Al Qaeda in Iraq, distributing materials he hoped would incite violence via the Internet.

Defense attorneys say Mehanna was neither a member of Al Qaeda nor a terrorist. He was an American citizen who was critical of US foreign policy and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — and simply exercising his constitutional right to free speech.

After Sarrouf testified, a second prosecution witness, Kevin Swindon, a computer expert for the FBI, testified about participating in the search, saying he scanned a computer, as well as CDs and DVDs for evidence.”

————————————————————–

Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

Federal Crimes – Appeal

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.