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   Allan May's book MOB STORIES
· New Binion Bimbo
Bonadonna Suicide
· River Quay Incident – Revisited
· Mob Sperm – Humanized
· Short Takes
· This Week in Mob History
· Trials and Tribulations

LAST ISSUE 4-15-02


New Binion Bimbo

     There is a new and interesting twist for Rick Tabish, who, with Sandra Murphy, was convicted of murdering Ted Binion in September 1998. Tabish’s newest lawyer, J. Tony Serra of San Francisco, is calling for US District Judge Joseph Bonaventure "to disqualify himself from further post-trial matters," the Las Vegas Sun reported. Why? Because Serra claims the judge "showed bias toward his client when he autographed books at a book-signing held at Binion’s Horseshoe [casino] last August for Murder in Sin City, written by Sun reporter Jeff German.

     Serra called German’s book "biased and inflammatory." The Frisco attorney said he would file additional post-trial motions soon, including one seeking to dismiss the case because of alleged prosecutorial misconduct. He claims Bonaventure should not be allowed to hear the motions.

     Meanwhile, left with egg on his face, was Tabish’s regular attorney, William Terry. Last month Terry met with Bonaventure and received permission to have Serra work with him as co-counsel. The motion to remove Bonaventure took Terry by surprise. Not only did he not support the move, Terry now wants to withdraw from the case. If this happens Serra’s motion could falter. Nevada law calls for out-of-state attorneys to be associated with in-state attorneys in order to be heard in the Nevada court system.

     Terry wasn’t the only one surprised by the motion. Herb Sachs, working for Murphy, wasn’t notified before hand about the motion either. An obviously upset Sachs stated, "He should have discussed it with me. He should have shown me the papers before he filed them."

     Serra’s motion to remove the judge and Terry’s motion to leave the case are scheduled to be heard April 18 by Chief District Judge Mark Gibbons.

     On April 15 Chief Deputy District Attorney David Roger filed court papers to rid the case of Serra. It appears Serra left negative information regarding his background out of the application he filed to represent Tabish. Serra received a rebuke from the California State Bar Association earlier this year. In addition he was convicted of failing to file tax returns in 1974 and 1985.

     Since the revelations Serra has crawled in a hole and has been unavailable for comment. Let’s hope he stays there.

     The now infamous book-signing was also attended by prosecutors David Roger and David Wall, Al Lasso, the judge’s law clerk, and Becky Behnen, Binion’s sister and the owner of the Horseshoe casino.

     Anyone who watched the Binion murder trial on Court TV couldn’t help but being impressed by Bonaventure’s handling of the trial. A no-nonsense judge, Bonaventure’s booming voice and decisiveness in his rulings moved the trial along. If any bias was accorded either side it was not apparent to this viewer.

     Prosecutor Roger revealed that if the judge’s presence favored either side it was Murphy and Tabish. Murphy’s attorney, John Momot, is a longtime friend of the judge. Mrs. Bonaventure is the godmother of Momot’s daughter. Meanwhile, famed defense lawyer and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz will be handling Murphy’s appeal in a hearing scheduled for June.

Bonadonna Suicide     ^TOP

     Fred Harvey Bonadonna defied the mob and made a name for himself. His cooperation with the FBI in Kansas City’s River Quay incident (see my story below) led to guilty pleas in 1978 from Willie "The Rat" Cammisano and his brother Joseph, both powerful members of the Kansas City Mafia. However, Bonadonna paid a price for his heroism until the day he died.

     First, his father, a made-member of the Kansas City Mafia, was murdered and then Bonadonna had to uproot his family from their home after entering the Witness Protection Program. In April 1980 Bonadonna was called for the last time to appear before a Senate committee investigating organized crime. During his testimony Bonadonna stated, "I know why people aren’t too concerned with the Mafia. They think that it is a story and that it could never happen to them. I never thought it could happen to me. It happened to me. It could happen to you."

     When his work for the FBI was completed, Bonadonna relocated to Naples, Florida in the late 1970s. In Florida Bonadonna and his wife Virginia purchased a restaurant, sold real estate and operated a pawnshop. Their business ventures proved to be unsuccessful and the couple was forced to live off the money Virginia made as a receptionist for a local law firm.

     During the mid-1980s Bonadonna left the Witness Protection Program because he wanted more freedom to visit his mother, who lived in California. He kept his whereabouts secret, according to Mark Morris of the Kansas City Star, although he occasionally was available to a reporter to discuss the River Quay days.

     In February 2001 Bonadonna’s mother passed away. Bonadonna ‘s handling of her estate drew criticism from other family members who responded by filing a civil suit against him. On April 8, 2002 Judge Thomas William Cain, of Santa Clara County, "issued an order that sided with" family members. The judge accused Bonadonna of "pretending" to still be in the protection program in order to help keep his mother isolated.

     Responding to the "pretending" accusation, Gary Hart, chief of the FBI’s organized crime squad in Kansas City during the 1970s, stated, "Fred and his family remained in constant danger from the time he began cooperating to the day of his death. The judge did not do his homework. Just because you’re out of the program doesn’t mean you’re out of danger."

     A distraught Bonadonna read the ruling Thursday morning April 11. He called David Helfrey, a former federal prosecutor from Kansas City – now a lawyer in St. Louis. Helfrey was out of town. His secretary wrote down Bonadonna’s short message.

     "Please help, I am going to die," he stated.

     Bonadonna then told Virginia, who had remained loyal to him through all the years, "I’ve put you through so much. I can’t do it anymore." A sobbing Bonadonna then left her.

     A short time later Bonadonna – a husband, father and grandfather – ended his life with a bullet.

River Quay Incident – Revisited     ^TOP

     In 1971, Marion Trozzolo, a local college professor and inventor, began the River Quay Corporation to redevelop 19th century buildings in an area around the Kansas City riverfront. The area was situated next door to the City Market section, in which Nick Civella, the longtime Mafia boss of Kansas City, kept a headquarters. In 1972, Fred Bonadonna opened "Poor Freddy’s, a restaurant that catered to the area’s businessmen and local political leaders. Bonadonna was the son of David Bonadonna, Sr., a long time friend and member of William Cammisano, Sr.’s gang.

     By November 1974, the River Quay area was a thriving thoroughfare of almost 70 retail establishments including specialty shops, art galleries, restaurants, theatres, antique shops, and small boutiques. Fred Bonadonna was named President of the River Quay Bar and Restaurant Association and Vice President of the Market Area Businessmen’s Association, a group of civic and business leaders in the River Quay neighborhood.

     Meanwhile, urban renewal projects had begun in the 12th Street section of Kansas City, an area of cheap hotels, strip joints and street prostitution. One of the bars in this area, owned by Joseph "JoJo" Cammisano, the brother of William, was forced to relocate. Joseph Cammisano sub-leased a warehouse in the River Quay area and divided it into four separate bars. Fred Bonadonna urged the owner of the property not to allow strippers on the premises and began a drive to oppose adult entertainment in the district.

     Joseph Cammisano started a petition of his own and when Fred Bonadonna refused to sign a bitter argument ensued. Soon Fred Bonadonna received a phone call from his father David who was at the auto garage headquarters of the Cammisanos, imploring him to support the petition. Fred Bonadonna, with the help of City Councilman Robert Hernandez, was able to fight the effort of the Cammisanos to create a "combat zone" atmosphere similar to Boston’s adult entertainment section.

     After threats were made against Fred Bonadonna he proposed a plan to help out the Cammisanos and one day brought Hernandez to talk with William Cammisano. When Hernandez tried to defend Fred Bonadonna’s actions Cammisano became incensed and threatened to kill both men if his plans didn’t go through.

     In the meantime, during 1974 and 1975 the Cammisanos were also pressuring Fred Bonadonna about the leases he had with the city for free parking in the River Quay area. During a River Quay tavern owner’s meeting, Joseph Cammisano stood up and threatened Bonadonna. Soon vandalism was reported in the lots and in March 1976 thugs broke into Bonadonna’s home and beat his teenage son with baseball bats.

     In May 1976, Joseph Cammisano applied for a license for a new bar and was turned down through the efforts of Bonadonna and Hernandez. Fred Bonadonna was warned by his father that his failure to control Hernandez would result in David Bonadonna’s death. On July 22, 1976 David Bonadonna’s body was found in the trunk of his car. He had been shot five times in the head.

     David Bonadonna’s death was followed by several other murders of Fred Bonadonna associates. In March 1977, Bonadonna was persuaded to enter the Witness Protection Program and was relocated. This did not end the violence as associates of Bonadonna battled back. The River Quay district turned into a real combat zone with bombs being placed by the rival groups.

     William and Joseph Cammisano were indicted on June 16, 1978. Fred Bonadonna testified and both brothers received five-year prison sentences in 1979. The real losers were the businessmen who helped create the River Quay section. By 1980, the once thriving entertainment district had turned into a virtual ghost town and was described as an area of vacant, bombed out and burned out buildings.

Mob Sperm – Humanized     ^TOP

     AmericanMafia.com laughed, as most readers did, about the smuggling of sperm from imprisoned mobsters to their childless wives on the outside. On February 25 we discussed the plight of 38 year-old Marla Parlavecchio, whose husband’s sperm was seized at a New York City fertility clinic and, after a hearing, ordered destroyed by a judge because it was ruled contraband. Parlavecchio received a year’s probation for her efforts and has been denied visitation rights by a judge.

     Now comes the story of Regina Granato, the wife of Kevin Granato an inmate at Allenwood Federal Penitentiary. Granato was a member of Colombo capo Gregory Scarpa’s crew when he was arrested on murder and racketeering charges in 1988.

     In October 2000 Regina brought her daughter, Gianna, to the prison. Kevin showed off the beautiful baby girl, bragging to everyone in hearing distance that the child was his. An ensuing investigation revealed a black market in semen contraband being smuggled out, at a price, by prison guards. Among those who were found to be involved in the smuggling activities were George "Georgie Neck" Zappolla, a Lucchese Family capo; Frank Pontillo, a soldier in the Colombo Family; and Marla’s husband Antonino Parleveccio.

     Regina Granato admitted that she and her husband smuggled his sperm to a Manhattan fertility clinic using a plastic bag for a condom. She visited many fertility clinics in the New York area "before finally conning the Park Avenue Fertility Clinic into assisting her saying her husband, who has eight years left on his prison term, had cancer.

     In an April 9 New York Post article, veteran organized crime reporter Murray Weiss interviewed Regina, who told the following story:

     "My clock was ticking and we wanted a child…and I did it. I work with handicapped children every day, wonderful kids. I love children, I wanted to be a mother and think every woman should be a mother. I’d have five if I could. I don’t even remember what kind of cancer I [told the clinic] he had. But God forgave me by giving me this gift. I am not a holy roller, but this is a blessing, my brilliant daughter. My daughter looks at pictures of her father and says, ‘Do I have a daddy? Where is my daddy?’"

     For the couple’s efforts, Regina and her daughter have been barred from visiting Kevin Granato since October 2000. "They’re definitely punishing us for having a baby," she stated. Regina Granato is 39 years old. In eight years, when her husband is released, she’ll be 47, a dangerous age at which to be thinking about having a child. Instead of having the five children she desires, she’ll have one, which most likely will be raised as an only child.

     Weiss finished his article by stating, "Prison officials declined comment."

     Who could blame them? It is this kind of asinine reaction that always portrays our government and prison systems in a bad light. Is this really what our government is about? Is this really what our prison system is about?

     Is what they did such a horrible crime that prison officials need to keep the family apart? I for one would think that prison officials might see this in a positive light, that when Kevin Granato is released he’ll have a reason to pursue a career outside of crime with the responsibility he now has of raising and providing for a family.


Short Takes     ^TOP

Boston (1) – The trial of former Boston FBI agent "Dishonest John" Connolly is fast approaching and things are not going well for him. On April 9 US District Judge Joseph L. Tauro, after reviewing "secret evidence" from prosecutors has agreed to allow the government to show that information leaked by Connolly to Winter Hill mobsters James "Whitey" Bulger and Stephen "the Rifleman" Flemmi led to the murders of Richard Castucci, Brian Holloran and John Callahan. In all, Tauro dismissed eight defense motions in the case including a motion to suppress Connolly’s movie manuscript about his career with the FBI. Called Only the Ghost Knows, the title comes from the recorded statement of New England mob inductee Vincent Ferrara after the infamous FBI-bugged Mafia induction ceremony in October 1989. Connolly’s trial, in which he is charged with nine counts of conspiracy, racketeering and obstruction of justice, begins May 6. Connolly’s lawyer, Tracy A. Miner, claims she will file additional pre-trial motions to prevent the murders from coming before the jury. Meanwhile, "Dishonest John" told reporters he was looking forward to the trial because, "I’m looking forward to people seeing that I did my job, and nothing more than my job." In fact, "Dishonest John" was looking forward so much that he filed another motion to delay the trial. The motion was shot down on April 17. AmericanMafia.com is also looking forward to the trial to see this scumbag takes the witness stand so he can explain his "job" description to the jury.

Boston (2) – The jury has spoken and Michael L. Carucci has been found guilty on six counts of money laundering. However, it remains to be seen if US District Judge Robert E. "Buster" Keeton, who tossed more than 80 counts from the original indictment, will toss the jury’s decision. Boston Herald reporter J. M. Lawrence reported, Keeton "found the government failed to show Carucci joined a conspiracy with [Stephen "the Rifleman"] Flemmi to turn extortion and loansharking profits into properties." This despite the fact that Flemmi has already pled guilty to the same charges. Lawrence stated, "The judge said he was uncertain whether to dismiss the remaining counts on the same grounds and would rule after the verdict." AmericanMafia.com wants to know if this chowder head was going to try the case himself why did he impanel the damn jury and waste their time and the taxpayer’s money? What’s going on with these Federal judges in Beantown. First this judge tosses charges out after one of the indicted pleads guilty to them. Then you have US District Judge Joseph L. Tauro, handling the Connolly case, wanting charges reduced. The way these judges are conducting court it’s a wonder Whitey Bulger doesn’t come running back to Boston to stand trial. Meanwhile, Carucci’s lawyer, Martin "Whiney" Weinberg, is crying foul claiming the jury had "no rational basis" for the split verdict. Don’t whine, Marty, the judge will see you and your motions on May 28. There’s still more time for billable hours.

Boston (3) – The Boston Herald’s J. M. Lawrence had a busy week last week. Just off the Carucci verdict, she ran over to cover the Michael Flemmi trial. Michael, the younger brother of co-Winter Hill Gang leader Stephen "the Rifleman" Flemmi, is charged with hiding a stash of weapons for the gang. The 64 year-old Michael Flemmi is a retired cop. His adversary in the courtroom will be a familiar face – his nephew, the son of "the Rifleman." No, not Johnny Crawford, but William St. Croix, who is fresh off testifying against Michael Carucci. What a screwed up mess this town has turned into! More on this trial next week.

Camden – David Mendez, the cousin of disgraced former mayor Milton "the Monster" Milan, was indicted, along with nine others, in the February 2001 murder of Luis Ocasio. It will be interesting to see what Mendez does. Law enforcement officials believe he has knowledge about the murder of Francisco "Pancho" Chamorro in 1988. Milan was questioned, but not charged in that killing.

New York (1) – It looks like the sentencing of Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano may incur yet another delay as his New York counsel, attorney Lynne Stewart, was indicted April 11 for aiding terrorist Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman. The 62 year-old Stewart, whose looks could stop a clock, asked for a delay in Gravano’s sentencing until "newly arisen conflict of interest issues have been resolved." Kati Smith of the New York Post stated, "Both sides in the case were supposed to file written arguments for the sentencing" on Friday, April 12. Brooklyn US District Judge Allyne Ross said at the next hearing she’ll ask Gravano if he’d like a new lawyer. Stewart is charged with helping Abdel-Rahman send messages to his al Qaeda associates. The blind terrorist, who enjoys wearing a Santa Claus hat, is serving a life sentence for the attack on the World Trade Center in the 1990s. In pleading not guilty Stewart claimed she couldn’t have aided Abdel-Rahman in sending messages because she doesn’t speak Arabic. I think Mata Hari once used a similar defense – claiming she couldn’t have spied on the French because she didn’t speak German – just before a firing squad ruled against her.

New York (2) – Gary Greenwald, the former attorney for Vincent "the Chin" Gigante, did such a great job of convincing everyone his client was crazy that the Genovese Family boss had to hire a new attorney to prove Greenwald wrong. Benjamin Brafman, described by New York Daily News reporter John Marzulli as "a high-powered lawyer," has now "hinted" that Gigante may not be crazy after all. Did Gigante really need to hire another attorney, let alone a "high-powered" one, to tell us that? AmericanMafia.com sees a pattern here though. We have been urging Gigante to "Cut and Roll" these past several weeks. It just so happens that Brafman was hired to represent Salvatore Gravano in 1991 just before "Sammy the Bull" made the decision to cut a deal with the government and roll on John Gotti. Will history repeat itself? Let’s hope so. Brafman won’t be out of work for long. There’s a rumor Sammy Gravano may be looking for a new attorney – or, perhaps, an old attorney. Either way Sammy is certainly going to need a "high-powered" one.

New York (3) - On April 11 Victoria Gotti underwent emergency open-heart surgery at a Long Island hospital, where she is now recovering. The over-achieving daughter of imprisoned Gambino boss John Gotti was stricken with chest pains at her home in Old Westbury, Long Island. Apparently Victoria’s heart had suffered damage from her pacemaker, which malfunctioned last December. This mishap was caused by an electronic exercise device, which Gotti joked about in one of her Sunday columns in the New York Post. The repair work done by doctors at that time "didn’t take." Victoria suffers from a chronic heart condition called mitral valve prolapse, this in addition to all the gas she suffers caused by her dysfunctional family. The talented writer was reported to be in considerable pain, but on the mend.

New York (4) – A year after his conviction, former Bonanno Family consigliere Anthony Spero was sentenced to life in prison on April 15. A jury last April found the 73 year-old Spero guilty of ordering three murders. In sending Spero to prison for the rest of his life US District Judge Edward Korman cited "the extent to which young men are lured into this life, where they become cannon fodder to be killed or to kill, with people like Mr. Spero benefiting from it." Spero’s conviction was the first in fifteen years for a member of the Bonanno Family hierarchy. Spero’s attorney, Gerald Shargel, asked the judge to give his client a break due to his declining health. AM.com doesn’t ever expect a judge to consider this type of request as long as John Gotti continues to breathe. Korman didn’t. At the end of the sentencing Spero turned to family members and friends in the courtroom, smiled, and then waved good bye – forever.

New York (5) – As prosecutors hoped, Nicholas Gambino copped a plea for a reduced sentence of five years probation in the stabbing of two men outside a Queens’ nightclub. Gambino had been found not guilty of most of the charges against him during a February trial. During that trial he took the stand and tearfully told a jury he acted out of self-defense. The jury bought his story. One of the stabbing victims was Anthony Federici, the son of Genovese capo "Tough Tony" Federici. Yesterday Gambino finally told the truth and said he had stabbed the men over a "mindless and petty" dispute. Gambino’s lawyer Raphael Scotto stated, "To get probation is a victory. His family is pleased. They didn’t want to go through another trial. He’s pleading guilty to a felony – it’s going to follow him around for a long, long time." Scotto must have been relieved when he wasn’t asked why he let his client lie to a jury on the witness stand.

Philadelphia – William "Dust Bunny" Rinick, the mob wannabe found hiding under the bed of Philadelphia mob boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, was convicted of assaulting a man in a South Philly men’s store last December 23. Rinick, the target of state and federal narcotics investigators, will be sentenced in July. The judge at that time will determine if the victim, Salvatore Abbruzzese, will be compensated for medical expenses, which he claims to be $42,000.

Providence – The long awaited trial of Providence Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci got underway last week with jury selection. Like with the trials of Steve Kaplan, Joey Merlino and James Traficant, AmericanMafia.com will not cover these on a weekly basis due to the excellent coverage provided by local reporters. We will step in if I find something stupid to say. In the meantime, sit back and follow the stories in the Boston Globe, Boston Herald and, of course, the Providence Journal.

Rochester – The highly anticipated trial of Albert M. Ranieri, which was scheduled to begin April 15, has been postponed indefinitely. Ranieri’s attorney Michael Tallon requested more time from US District Judge David Larimer stating the material he "recently" received from prosecutors is just too "voluminous." Ranieri is charged in a massive cocaine conspiracy in Western New York and is the key suspect in an $11 million armored car robbery in the early 1990s.

This Week in Mob History     ^TOP

April 23, 1970 – Emilio "Mio" Rettagliatta was a number’s runner for Hell’s Kitchen gangster Michael "Mickey" Spillane. He was murdered during a chance encounter with a drunken Mickey Featherstone, who had been released from a VA hospital, where he was being treated for delusion, just two weeks earlier. Rettagliatta was shot in the stomach at the Sunbrite Saloon on 10th Avenue while trying to retrieve his gun from Featherstone.

April 23, 1989 – Thomas Spinelli was victim number 17 on Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano’s Top 19 Hit List. Spinelli was a member of James "Jimmy Brown" Failla’s crew and was going to testify before a grand jury against Gambino Family orders issued by John Gotti. According to Jerry Capeci, Spinelli was lured to a Brooklyn factory, which was owned by the son of a Gambino member. Once there Louis Astuto, another member of Failla’s crew, shot him behind the ear. According to Gravano, Joe Watts arrived to remove the body. See my story about Gravano at http://www.crimelibrary.com/gangsters2/gravano/index.htm

April 24, 1965 – Owen Vincent "Owney the Killer" Madden was one of the few mobsters to live through the bloody New York bootlegging wars and die of old age. Madden, born in Leeds, England, earned the nickname "Killer" during the 1910s. In the early 1930s Madden owned Harlem’s famous Cotton Club before selling out and relocating to Hot Springs, Arkansas. Many of his old New York mob buddies visited him there, sometimes to lie low as Lucky Luciano did in 1935 before he was captured and arrested there. The FBI was still investigating him when he died peacefully in his sleep. See my column about the early life of Madden http://www.americanmafia.com/Allan_May_1-3-00.html

April 25, 1939 – Abraham "Whitey" Friedman was one of the many hits carried out by the killers of Murder, Inc. to appease Lepke Buchalter while he was a fugitive. Friedman, who worked as a strong-arm in the garment district for Lepke and "Gurrah" Shapiro, had recently been called in by Dewey’s investigative staff for questioning. Friedman was walking near his home on East 96th Street when car pulled near him. A gunman leaned out and fired two bullets into his back killing him instantly.

April 26, 1979 – Vincent Mistretta was found dead on the doorstep of his home with an icepick broken off in his neck. His murder had been plotted by Genovese Family capo Louis "Streaky" Gatto and his son-in-law, Alan Grecco. Both men were convicted in June 1991 and sent to prison. In April 2001 a judge denied a request to let the 85 year-old Gatto, terminally ill with cancer, return home to die.

April 26, 1979 – Anthony "Little Pussy" Russo, according to mob expert Charles Molino, was a reputed capo in the Genovese family and ran the rackets along the Jersey shore for the family. He was a one-time driver for Vito Genovese. In the 1970s Russo was involved in the Jolly Trolly a "sawdust" joint in Las Vegas. During 1977-79 the FBI amassed some 1,800 hours of tape on Russo and his crew. His real estate and construction office in West Long Beach, New Jersey was bugged by the New Jersey State Police. Authorities believe Russo was murdered because he sponsored Patrick Pizuto into the family. Pizuto later became a government witness. Russo was found dead with four bullet wounds to the head in his plush Long Branch apartment.

April 27, 1926 – James J. Doherty, Thomas "Red" Duffy and William H. McSwiggin were mowed down in Chicago’s most infamous murder prior to the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Making the triple murder sensational was that McSwiggin was an assistant state’s attorney. The three men, along with Myles O’Donnell and Edward Hanley had just arrived at the Pony Inn on Roosevelt Road when a Cadillac pulled alongside and several shooters swept the men with machinegun fire. According to Robert J. Schoenberg, in his classic Mr. Capone, he writes, "Police later determined that Capone handled a machine gun himself, an example to his men."

Trials and Tribulations     ^TOP

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.



April 15, 2002 – Boston – The racketeering trial of Robert Luisi, Jr. is scheduled to get underway before US District Court Judge Reginald C. Lindsay. Luisi at one time had a plea agreement which called for him to testify against Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino last year. On December 27, 2001 Luisi withdrew the plea.

May 6, 2002 – Boston – The long awaited trial of former FBI agent John J. Connolly, Jr. is scheduled to get underway before US District Judge Joseph L. Tauro.

May 20, 2002 – Chicago – Michael Spano, Sr. and Cicero Town President Betty Loren-Maltese go to trial for looting the city coffers of millions of dollars.

June 2002 – Las Vegas – The Nevada Supreme Court has scheduled arguments on the appeal of Sandy Murphy who was convicted of the murderer of her boyfriend Ted Binion. Alan Dershowitz will argue Murphy’s case.

July 29, 2002 – Cleveland – Richard E. Detore goes to trial on one count of conspiring to violate a federal bribery statute involving United States Congressman James A. Traficant, Jr.

POSTPONED INDEFINITELY – Rochester, NY – Albert M Ranieri goes on trial for conspiracy to traffic cocaine. Since his arrest on December 29, 2000, another defendant, prominent defense attorney Anthony Leonardo, Jr., has pled guilty and implicated Ranieri in the May 2000 murder of his former business partner Anthony Vaccaro. Authorities also suspect Ranieri of a 1990 armor car heist of $11 million.


April 29, 2002 – Chicago – Originally scheduled for January 31, the sentencing of the former chief of Chicago detectives William Hanhardt was delayed to allow prosecutors additional time to prepare their pre-sentence report. Hanhardt pled guilty to racketeering conspiracy and interstate theft for operating a nationwide jewelry theft ring that involved members of organized crime. Hanhardt, 72 years old, has been held since an unsuccessful suicide attempt this past October.

May 17, 2002 – New York – Colombo Family underboss John "Jackie" DeRoss will be sentenced for his February 6 conviction on extortion charges.

May 23, 2002 – New York – Nicholas Gambino will get his official sentence of five years probation after copping a plea on April 17 involving the stabbing of two men outside the Metropolis nightclub in Queens. A February trial resulted in Gambino being acquitted on 9 of 12 charges after he took the stand and lied to the jury telling them he had acted in self-defense.

June 2002 – Buffalo – Three former Buffalo narcotics detectives will be sentenced for their role in stealing money from an undercover FBI agent posing as a Jamaican drug dealer. The men were found guilty in March.

June 2002 – Newark – Nicodemo "Young Nicky" Scarfo will be sentenced for supervising a North Jersey gambling operation by US District Judge Joel Pisano.

June 13, 2002 – New York – Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico will be sentenced after pleading guilty to extortion, loansharking and money laundering. The son of jailed-for-life mobster Carmine "the Snake" Persico was the alleged "acting boss of the Colombo family.

June 27, 2002 – Cleveland – Mahoning Valley Congressman James A. Traficant, Jr., will be sentenced after being found guilty on all ten counts in a Federal trial which ended April 11.

July 10, 2002 – Philadelphia – William Rinick will be sentenced for his April 17 assault conviction of Salvatore Abbruzzese in a South Philadelphia men’s shop. Rinick made headlines in December 2001 when narcotics investigators raided the home of Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino and found Rinick hiding under the bed of one of Merlino’s daughters.

Contact: AllanMay@AmericanMafia.com


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