IN THIS ISSUE|
· Dealing with Sammy the Bull
· "Long John" Martorano - Revisited 1
· Short Takes
· This Week in Mob History
· Trials and Tribulations
Dealing with Sammy the Bull
The first time I saw Geoffrey Mearns was in the Federal Court House in Cleveland on the day John J. Cafaro pleaded guilty to bribing Congressman James A. Traficant, Jr. A short while after that, I asked Assistant US Attorney Craig S. Morford how to get a hold of Mearns, I wanted to see if I could get an interview with Cafaro for a book Rick Porrello and I are working on. Morford told me that Mearns was a former Assistant US Attorney from New York City and in that capacity had the opportunity to work with Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano. Well, that certainly piqued my curiosity.
I met Mearns for lunch and later phoned him to discuss an idea I had about an article on the use of mobsters-turned-government-witnesses and if the practice had run it’s course. This idea coming after three separate trials last year – Merlino, Watts and the Gold Club – in which all had boasted the use of government witnesses. In all three trials, the results were far less than what prosecutors were counting on.
However, during my interview with Mearns, we got off track and I ended up with some interesting stories about Sammy Gravano. This article isn’t an attempt to glorify Gravano, but it provides a rather unique look at him through the eyes of a prosecutor who used his services as a government witness, and a look at a former assistant US attorney.
Introducing Geoff Mearns
Geoffrey Mearns spent his teenage years in the Cleveland area and graduated from Shaker Heights High School in 1977. Shaker Heights is an affluent suburb located on the southeastern border of Cleveland. Mearns’ mother, Patricia, spent ten years on the Shaker Heights City Council before being elected mayor. She served the city in that capacity for eight more years before retiring in January 2000.
Geoff earned his B.A. from Yale in 1981 and his J.D. from the University of Virginia in 1987. After college Mearns entered law school not entirely sure of how his legal career was going to pan out.
"I think my interest in becoming a prosecutor evolved when I was in law school or when I was clerking. I clerked for Judge Boyce Martin, who is the chief judge of the 6th circuit in Cincinnati, Ohio. My interest in becoming a Federal Prosecutor stemmed from that experience," Mearns states.
In explaining how he ended up in New York City, Mearns chuckles, "It always comes back to a girl, doesn’t it? I taught high school in New Jersey. When I went off to law school, she stayed in New York. When I went to clerk, she stayed in New York. Finally she said if I wanted to get married to come to New York. So that’s where I went."
After being in private practice from 1988 to 1989, Mearns joined the U.S. Attorney’s office in Brooklyn where he was employed from 1989 to 1995. During this time, he successfully prosecuted three cases in which Gravano testified.
Mearns’ Impressions of Sammy the Bull
Mearns found Gravano "extremely bright and personable to the point of being charming." When pressed for his reaction to Gravano’s arrest in Arizona, Mearns replied, "In one sense it was extraordinarily surprising and in another sense it wasn’t surprising at all. Apparently he was not able to change the part of his character that had led him to be a gangster all along."
Mearns found that Gravano was extremely effective and thoroughly committed to being prepared when testifying. He claims, "I never met a witness who spent the kind of time that he was willing to spend to be prepared, to review material, and he took that to heart. I can tell you that after the first trial he actually read the transcript that I gave to him. One of things I had said in my closing arguments was that I was not, as a prosecutor, suggesting that we had somehow converted Sammy Gravano, that essentially we had simply channeled his self-interest. That is, that the plea agreement essentially gave him an incentive to testify. He read that transcript and commented to me about how he really wished I had told the jury we had changed him because he wanted to be changed."
As Mearns’ contact with Gravano continued, he talked about the personal side of the man and his interests. "Sometimes when I used to go and meet with him we’d spend the bulk of our time talking business and getting prepared for trial, but there would also be break time and we would talk about other things. I had kind of assumed that he would be interested in sports or whatever, but what he said was that he would spend most of his time reading or watching the History Channel or the Discovery Channel. He also enjoyed watching National Geographic specials."
"The level of intellectual curiosity he had about the whole world was interesting. Obviously he had a great deal of knowledge and was in some ways focused mainly on life in the street, the history of the mob and all that stuff. But there was a another side to him where he had a great deal of intellectual curiosity about history, nature and foreign cities – it was surprising to me."
The Government Witness Program
When people think about government witnesses, Joseph Valachi is the first name that comes to mind. Valachi, after testifying and cutting a deal with the government, spent the remainder of his life in prison. The program has come a long way since then and is now to the point where you have a guy like Gravano, who has been involved in 19 murders, spending five years in prison.
In three trials held last year these government witnesses were just not effective. Is it because this practice has run its course? Have the defense attorneys become wise to the point where they can tear these people apart? Are the prosecutors not using them properly? Or do they not make good witnesses to begin with?
Mearns, while sounding non-committal to any single theory, admits that without knowing all the facts of those cases, "my experience would tell me it’s a variety of factors. I think some of it is that jurors are becoming increasingly skeptical about these kind of cooperating witnesses. They hear about treatment of cooperators that is inconsistent with what they think is a just result. Notwithstanding what they may say during jury selection, it does leave a little bit of a bad taste in their mouth. I don’t think though that that’s a main factor, nor a significant one."
"I think it is a factor, but not a determining one, that the defense lawyers are becoming more effective in attacking. I think it’s also a factor, but again not a determining one, that prosecutors are over using them, or using them in cases where they might not be effective. For example, if you are using the boss, there is going to be some kind of reflexive reaction by a juror that you are taking the top guy, the guy who generally receives most of the proceeds, and now he is testifying down against less culpable people. That’s a problem. I think frankly, without knowing these individual cases, that the overriding factor is that the particular witnesses involved in these cases were probably just not effective witnesses."
"I still believe that most cases are decided on the facts and that the vast majority of juries evaluate the credibility of the witnesses – not based upon any generalized patterns or trends, or being saturated with these kinds of witnesses – but because they look at them, eyeball to eyeball, and have either believed the testimony or have doubts about it."
To make his point Mearns talked about a trial where Gravano was called to testify. Mearns relates, "Having used Gravano three times I got to watch three juries react to his testimony. The defense lawyer just pummeled Gravano in his opening statements, obviously trying to poison the jury. I remember very clearly that there was a middle-aged woman who was sitting in jury seat number one closest to the witness stand. Several days into the trial it was time for Gravano to testify. This woman – when he walked in the first afternoon to testify – wouldn’t even turn her chair to look at him. She was kind of peeking at him over her shoulder because she was so disgusted by what she had heard. He testified for several hours that first afternoon. The following morning, when Gravano walked in, she was fully swiveled in her chair and was looking at him eye to eye and even said good morning."
Mearns doesn’t see a change in the use of the government using this type of witness and doesn’t think that because of these three shortcomings that it’s going to affect future trials.
"I think they will continue like they have been. These witnesses have been a prosecutorial weapon for decades and will continue to be. That’s not to say that maybe prosecutors shouldn’t become more judicious and more selective in who to put on, but it’s going to be focused on the witness, on the effectiveness and the credibility of the individual witness."
Sammy and the George Pape Trial
Mearns talked about the famous Diane Sawyer interview on ABC. "What was so effective in that interview was what made Gravano so effective as a witness. He didn’t try to present himself as anything but what he was. He was a gangster! And he even used that word. He said, ‘I’m not a racketeer. I’m not a Paul Castellano who tries to say I’m a businessman and wear nice suits. I’m a gangster. That’s who I am, that’s what I was."’
"He had that same attitude when you asked him the question: ‘How many people did you kill?"’
"‘I killed 19 people.’"
"Was one of those people your brother-in-law?"
"He didn’t mince words. I always believed that if a cooperating witness is fully candid and forthcoming about his own criminal conduct that this is the necessary precondition for the jury to accept what he had to say about others. And Sammy was who he was and he told the jury what he was."
Mearns makes his point again about Gravano while bringing up an incident from the George Pape trial. Pape, who had been a juror in the second Gotti trial, which was prosecuted by Diane Giacalone, had been bribed. Bosko Radonjich was an eastern European gangster, and leader of Manhattan’s Westies Gang, who was pretty tight with Gotti and Gravano. Mearns recalls, "I remember very clearly that one of the defenses in the Pape case was that his lawyer said it [the bribe] didn’t happen. Their alternative defense was that because Gravano did not give the bribe directly to Pape – he gave it to Radonjich who was serving as an intermediary – that Pape never received it, because Gravano confessed that he had never met the juror. So the second alternative defense was that it happened and Radonjich took the money and ran away with it. So that was their cross-examination of Gravano."
"I got up and on redirect I asked Gravano a series of very short questions. You heard this questioning that perhaps Radonjich ran off with the money?" I then said, "If you had found out that Radonjich took $60,000 and didn’t deliver it to the juror, what would you have done?"
"He said, ‘We would have killed him.’"
"Then I said to him, ‘And what would you have done if you heard that Radonjich delivered the money to the juror, but that the juror didn’t follow through on what he had promised to do for you?’"
"He paused and looked right at Pape across the well of that courtroom and said, ‘We would have killed him too.’"
"Jurors were thinking that’s exactly right. It completely took the wind out of this ‘Oh, maybe it was a scam on Gotti and Gravano.’ That whole defense went poof, as it should have. Nobody who is in the mob was going to try to cheat John Gotti especially right after he had Paul Castellano murdered in the middle of midtown Manhattan on one of the busiest days of the year."
"That’s where Gravano was so effective. So that’s why I go back to my comment that these results are not the product of some kind of trend, or the jurors becoming dissatisfied with these witnesses. I believe for the most part that while that may have some influence, the bottom line is whether these cooperating witnesses individually are effective, credible witnesses."
Gravano’s Testimony at the Gambino Brother’s Trial
Gravano was being questioned about the murder of Francesco Oliveri. Capo John Gambino had requested the hit after Oliveri, who had no connection with the mob, had killed a member of the Gambino crew in a fistfight. Gotti had asked Gravano to organize and oversee the hit team. The murder was carried out on the morning of May 3, 1988 and involved Robert "Bobby Cabert" Bisaccia, the triggerman, Joe Gambino (John’s brother), Lorenzo Mannino and Ozzie Stantini.
Mearns tells the story that "When Gravano was debriefed and when he testified in the Gotti case he did not recall that Stantini was one of the participants. I was assigned to handle the prosecution of this case. An agent was reviewing the video tapes from the Ravenite and came across one that had all of the participants that Sammy had said in it at the right time and place coming out of the Ravenite to plan the murder of Oliveri. As the agent looked at the videotape he saw that Stantini was along on the ‘walk talk’ with Gravano. The agent called Sammy and asked if Stantini knew anything about the murder? Gravano immediately paused – and he’d recount this at the trial – and said ‘I’ll call you later.’ The next day he called [Prosecutor John] Gleeson and said, ‘I forgot Stantini was in on the murder.’ Gleeson said ‘we’re going to investigate.’"
"Gleeson sent me and the agents out to debrief him. We actually prosecuted that case. I tried that case and Sammy looked the jury in the eye and said, ‘You know what, I forgot. I made a mistake.’ The jury believed Gravano and Stantini was convicted."
Life after Being a Federal Prosecutor
"I had the great fortune of working on some tremendous organized crime cases in New York. I was also the first assistant in the US Attorney’s office in North Carolina and was one of the trial attorneys in the [Terry] Nichols’ case. While I cherished every minute I spent as a prosecutor, it was time for me to move on to learn new skills and get new experience."
On November 12, 1999 Raymond "Long John" Martorano was released from prison after spending more than 17 years behind bars. The tall gangster, from where his nickname was derived, scoffed at rumors that he had plans to take over the Philadelphia Family.
"I want to live the few years I got left in peace," claimed the 72-year-old. The people I know in my world are either dead or in prison. There’s nothing for me in South Philly but bad memories. I want to die in Sicily."
Fast forward to January 17, 2002. The "bad memories" just got worse. Martorano was the victim of an attempted gangland hit, which left him in critical condition with his arm wounded so severely it may need to be amputated.
What brought this aging and wealthy mobster to this point? Given a second chance at life in his twilight years, why couldn’t "Long John" let it go and spend his last years "in peace?" Let’s take a look back at Martorano’s criminal career.
Although Martorano was never a rat, his pointed conversation with Nicholas Caramandi in 1986 led "Nicky Crow" into becoming a government witness whose testimony, along with others, led to the downfall of the Scarfo Crime Family.
Born in Sicily in 1927, by the time he was in his early 20s Martorano had relocated to the City of Brotherly Love and decided on a criminal career. Between 1950 and 1955 he was convicted five times for illegal narcotics or liquor dealing. His sentences began as probation and grew to five years in prison.
In the 1960s and 1970s Martorano became associated with Angelo Bruno the boss of the Philadelphia Mafia Family. In the late 1970s Martorano became one of the most successful methamphetamine dealers in the city. The dealing of drugs was supposed to be taboo in the Bruno Family, but it was obvious the "Docile Don" had turned a blind eye on the Martorano operation. While Bruno was receiving a cut of the drug profits he was also an employee of the Martorano brothers’ – Raymond and John – vending machine business. This was the mob boss’s legitimate job – a commissioned salesman for the company – for which he earned $50,000 a year.
Angelo Bruno’s reign marked a period of underworld calm in Philadelphia. His murder in March 1980 allowed the gloves to come off and inaugurated a period of gangland bloodshed that lasted more than two decades, mostly during the reign of Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo.
Martorano, who was not a made member under Bruno, earned his button in the Scarfo Family by planning the December 16, 1980 murder of union leader John McCullough. Martorano and his brother-in-law Albert Daidone, a union organizer, hired Willard Moran, described as a low-level South Jersey racketeer, to murder McCullough. In the book Blood and Honor, George Anastasia reveals:
"Martorano, who feared for his own life after the Bruno murder, was now working actively for the new mob boss, Philip Testa, and Testa’s consigliere, Nicky Scarfo. He took the McCullough contract to solidify his position with the new regime. But Martorano was a businessman – drug dealer, not a murderer."
Moran carried out the murder of the union boss in spectacular fashion. Disguised as a flower deliveryman Moran dropped off several poinsettias at the McCullough home before shooting him six times in front of Mrs. McCullough.
Nicholas "Nicky Crow" Caramandi, the subject of Blood and Honor, discussed Martorano’s downfall:
‘"Long John fucked up when he hired that kid.’ Caramandi said. ‘He wasn’t supposed to go outside the family. You never do that. If he needed a shooter he should have gone to Scarfo or Testa and asked for somebody. That was a big mistake on their part. This kid was a nobody.’"
After the murder Moran drove the delivery van to a nearby shopping center where Martorano and Daidone were waiting. On the way back to South Jersey the murder weapon was tossed into the Delaware River.
On April 27, 1981 Martorano was on hand for the killing of Chelsais "Stevie" Bouras. The leader of a Greek-American gang, Bouras was dining with friends, including Martorano. Suddenly a gunman appeared at the table, motioned Martorano and others to move aside then began blasting. Tragically the shooting took the life of Bouras’s young girlfriend. Janette Curro.
By the following April Philip Testa was dead and Scarfo was the recognized leader of the family – recognized by everyone except former Bruno loyalist Harry "the Hunchback" Riccobene. After several failed attempts at bringing Harry under control by killing him, Scarfo sent Martorano and Frank Monte, the family consigliere, to speak to Mario "Sonny" Riccobene, the hunchback’s half-brother.
Martorano and Monte asked Riccobene to set up Harry for a kill. Sonny promised to get back to them. The failed attempt to get Sonny Riccobene to "serve up Harry" marked the beginning of the Riccobene/Scarfo War. (See my story http://www.americanmafia.com/Allan_May_5-8-00.html )
In 1982 Martorano was indicted for his drug operation. He was convicted and sentenced to ten years. While in prison he had other problems. In 1983 the authorities arrested Willard Moran and charged him with the McCullough murder. Anastasia wrote, "Poor planning and idle chatter" led to his capture. Moran would be the first in a "long line" of Scarfo Family members and associates to become government witnesses. Sentenced to die in the Pennsylvania electric chair, Moran flipped and ratted out Martorano and Daidone to save himself. In 1984 Moran was the key witness for the prosecution against the two men. Martorano and Daidone were found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.
In October 1986 Nick Caramandi was arrested by the FBI on extortion charges. He was placed in the Philadelphia Detention Center, which housed Martorano and his son, George "Cowboy" Martorano. The younger Martorano had built a drug empire believed to be worth $75 million before he was convicted in 1984. Under what was called "the Federal drug king pin statute" he was sentenced to life in prison.
Caramandi, feeling like he was about to be hung out to dry by Scarfo, went and talked to "Long John" about his situation. A few days later Martorano got back to Caramandi and they talked in the prison yard. In Blood and Honor Caramandi recalls:
"He tells me, ‘Bobby Simone [Scarfo’s defense attorney] and Nicky Scarfo sold you down the river. They’re gonna go with Beloff and Rego.’ And he says, ‘You know what that means.’ And he jumps onto the ground like, ‘You’re dead.’ I says, ‘Are you sure?’ He says, ‘Look, I shouldn’t be telling ya this, but this is the way it is. If I was you, I would get a different lawyer. Nobody’s gonna help ya.’"
Caramandi returned to his cell dazed and confused. He waited for George Martorano to return to the cellblock.
"What your father says, I mean, could I take stock in it?" asked Caramandi.
"Brother, you could take it to the fuckin’ bank," George Martorano assured him. "You listen to my father. He’ll never steer you wrong."
Caramandi listened and did what he felt he had to do. The result? On November 19, 1988 Scarfo and sixteen others were convicted on RICO charges and "Little Nicky" was sentenced to life in prison.
Next week: Long John Martorano is released after nearly two decades in the can.
Miami – Our resident Miami expert, Scott Deitche, reports that John O'Sullivan, a former New York City police officer, pled guilty to racketeering conspiracy for serving as a debt collector. Federal prosecutors claimed O’Sullivan acted "as the eyes and ears" for reputed Trafficante Family member John Mamone. Last year Mamone pled guilty to an assortment of crimes in response to his October 2000 indictment. There are five family members left to face a scheduled February 11 trial. Scott reports that some are going to plead guilty before the trial begins. Steve Raffa, alleged to be Mamone’s boss, committed suicide after he was indicted.
January 28, 1920 – Anthony "Tony" Alescio, according to Detroit mob expert Paul Kavieff, "had been adopted and raised by the Giannola family since childhood." He repaid them by gunning down Anthony Giannola in the opening volleys of the Giannola/Vitale War in January 1919. Giannola loyalists caught up with Alescio and extracted revenge a year after Anthony Ginannola’s murder. For more information read Kavieff’s The Violent Years.
January 28, 1939 – Louis Cohen, alias Louis Kushner, pulled off one of the most sensational mob hits of all time when he climbed on the back of a taxi and shot Nathan "Kid Dropper" Kaplan to death in front of hundreds of witnesses and dozens of police officers who were seeing Kaplan off. Kaplan was seated in the back seat of the cab next to a New York Police Captain who despised him. In court Cohen was defended by future mayor James J. "Jimmy" Walker. Cohen served a few years in prison and went back to work in the labor rackets. Cohen was a victim of Lepke Buchalter’s purge when he was eliminating potential witnesses that Prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey could use against him.
January 28, 1966 – The Troutman Street Ambush was an ill fated attempt to murder acting Bonanno Family boss Salvatore "Bill" Bonanno. Allegedly set up by Gaspar DiGregorio during the "Banana War," no one was injured on this Brooklyn Street. Police investigating the shooting found seven guns left behind.
January 28, 1993 – Mario "Sonny" Riccobene was the half-brother of Harry "the hunchback" Riccobene, the adversary of "Little Nicky" in the Riccobene/Scarfo War that took place in Philadelphia during the early 1980s. Sonny, jailed on racketeering charges, cut a deal with the government and testified in 1984 at the trial of murdered underboss Frank Monte. In the early 1990s, without explanation, Sonny Riccobene left the Witness Protection Program and returned to South Philadelphia. His death was believed ordered by John Stanfa.
January 29, 1939 – Isadore Friedman, a.k.a. Danny Fields, was another onetime associate of Louis Buchalter who made Lepke’s laundry list of people who had to go in the wake of Thomas E. Dewey’s investigation.
January 29, 1926 – John Balke and Ohmer Hockett, two St. Louis area law enforcement officers on the take, attempted to shake down a still operation belonging to the Green One’s Gang. After ignoring an opening offer of $200, the two men waited until "the boss" arrived. The two lawmen were greeted by four members of the gang who beat them unconscious. The following day they were taken into the woods and watched as their graves were dug. The two men were then shot and buried. See my story http://www.americanmafia.com/Cities/St_Louis.html
January 29, 1939 – George Weinberg’s brother was the infamous Abe "Bo" Weinberg, ace triggerman of Dutch Schultz. George was indicted by Thomas E. Dewey after a long investigation into the policy rackets. He decided to testify for the government against Tammany leader James J. "Jimmy" Hines. While in police protection in a safe house George Weinberg took the revolver of one of the men assigned to protect him and committed suicide.
January 29, 1992 – Felix Bocchino, according to George Anastasia, "had spent more than fifty years making a comfortable living as a mob-connected bookmaker, extortionist, and drug trafficker…" When Nicky Scarfo became boss Bocchino had to pay a "street tax" to continue operating. After Scarfo went to prison, Bocchino thought he was off the hook. When John Stanfa ordered the taxes be paid again, Bocchino ignored him. Bocchino was shot four times in his automobile in the early morning as he went through his daily ritual of walking his dog and buying a newspaper. He was 73 years old.
January 30, 1920 – Salvatore P. Russo and Frank Ulizzi were victims of a Blackhand murder in Cleveland. Their bodies were discovered late at night in a ditch, in a residential neighborhood on Cleveland’s near-West Side, along with that of a third man. By the time police arrived the third "body" had walked away leaving a bloody trail in it’s wake. Russo and Ulizzi were both from New York. Russo and Ulizzi’s killers, and the identification of the third person, is still a mystery. See my column http://www.americanmafia.com/Allan_May_2-15-99.html
January 30, 1968 – John E. Fitzgerald, Jr. was severely maimed by a bomb planted under his automobile. Fitzgerald was a Boston attorney who represented Joseph "the Animal" Barboza, who had become a government witness and was testifying against the New England Mafia Family. When Fitzgerald refused to intercede on behalf of the underworld a bomb was planted in his car as a warning to his client. Fitzgerald had a habit of leaving his door open and having his left foot on the pavement as he started the car, which he had purchased from Barboza. This habit may have saved his life. The blast cost him his right leg below the knee.
January 31, 1967 – Amedoe "Mathew" Capone was the youngest of the seven Capone brothers. In the mid-1940s, Matt was running the Hall of Fame tavern in Cicero. One night an employee was killed after a fight in the bar and Capone went into hiding for over a year. By the time he reappeared, witnesses had disappeared and the case was dropped. When Capone died, at the age of 59, only 25 people attended the service. Two reporters covering the funeral were called upon to act as pallbearers. See my column http://www.americanmafia.com/Allan_May_11-15-99.html
February 1, 1932 – Florio Basile, Patsy Del Greco and Emily Torrizello were murdered during the Coll/Schultz War in New York City. The Schultz gang received word that Vincent "the Mad Mick" Coll would be attending a card party at a small home on Commonwealth Avenue in the North Bronx. Four gunmen entered and began blasting. Killed were Coll triggermen Del Greco and Fiorio Basile, and Emily Torrizello, an innocent woman who was playing cards with them. Wounded were Basile’s brother Louis and another woman. Miraculously, four children, two of whom were in cribs, avoided injury. Thirty minutes after the shooting, the "Mad Mick" arrived. See my story http://www.crimelibrary.com/gangsters/schultz/
February 2, 1919 – Pasquale Danni was murdered as he and Sam Giannola arrived at the latter’s Ford City home. The shooting was part of the Giannola/Vitale War which one month earlier had claimed the life of Sam’s brother Anthony Giannola. Sam Giannola was unscathed in the shotgun attack, which killed Danni. For more information read Paul Kavieff’s "The Violent Years."
February 2, 1943 – Estelle Carey was murdered in one of the most heinous crimes ever committed by the Chicago Outfit. Carey, the longtime girlfriend and business associate of Nicholas "Nicky Dean" Circella was killed on orders from Anthony Accardo because they believed Circella was tempted to talk to authorities investigating the members of the Outfit involved with the infamous Hollywood Extortion Case. The Chicago Tribune reported: "Her body lay on the dining room floor. There were five cuts and severe bruises on her face. Her left eye was cut, her nose was broken, her lips smashed. There were bloodstains on the kitchen cabinet and sink. A blood stained bread knife, a blood spattered rolling pin, and a 10 inch blackjack lay on the kitchen floor." The killers took their time committing this torture/murder. While she was still alive her clothes were set afire.
February 2, 1964 – Nicholas Delmore, according to Organized Crime: 25 Years after Valachi, was the boss of the Elizabeth, New Jersey Family now referred to as the DeCavalcante Family. Delmore died of natural causes and was succeeded by his nephew Samuel Rizzo DeCavalcante.
Due to space constraints, in the future the complete "Trials and Tribulations" listing will only be shown on the first Monday of the month. Weekly we will show the ones that are due to occur in the next 30 days and any new additions.
AmericanMafia.com attempts to keep its audience advised of ongoing legal matters in the world of organized crime. New entries and addition to existing information will appear in RED.
January 28, 2002 – Boston – Retired state trooper Richard J. Schneiderman goes on trial on charges that he hampered the FBI’s search for James "Whitey" Bulger by letting Bulger family members know that the FBI had requested pen registers on their telephones.
January 2002 – Chicago – Michael Spano, Sr., alleged mob boss of legendary Cicero, Illinois, goes on trial for attempting to bribe a high-ranking federal official to obtain a pardon or clemency for former Chicago Outfit boss Rocco Infelice in 1998.
February 4, 2002 – Cleveland – Mahoning County Congressman James A. Traficant, Jr. begins his third trial. The flamboyant former sheriff is one for two in successfully representing himself.
February 7, 2002 – Washington DC – The Government Reform Committee will resume its hearings and will listen to testimony from Massachusetts Federal Judge Edward F. Harrington and former FBI agents H. Paul Rico and Dennis Condon and their handling of murdered government witness Joseph Barboza.
February 11, 2002 – Miami – Five members of the Trafficante Family go on trial for racketeering and money laundering. The key defendant in the case, John Mamone, pled guilty on January 16. Look for others to follow. AM.com contributor Scott Deitche will keep us posted on this one when it comes up.
February 2002 – Boston – Stephen "the Rifleman" Fleming is scheduled for trial this month. The co-Winter Hill Gang leader is charged with killing ten people.
January 21, 2002 – New York City – John "Porky" Zancocchio, a Bonanno Family soldier will be sentenced for his October 28 guilty plea to charges of loan sharking and tax evasion. I have not seen any further info on this.
January 23, 2002 – Boston – Four men found guilty of involvement in an armored car heist will be sentenced. I have not seen any further info on this.
February 26, 2002 – Miami – Gambino Family members Anthony "Tony Pep" Trentacosta and Frederick Massaro and associate Ariel Hernandez will be sentenced for their December 14, 2001 convictions. The convictions ended a four-year probe into mob influence in Southern Florida.
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