Feature Articles

August 7, 2000

First, We Shoot All The Lawyers.

By John William Tuohy

John William Tuohy is a writer who lives in Washingon, D.C.

When we last left Sammy "the Bull" Gravano, he was in jail, in Arizona, of all places, on a $5 million bond for allegedly helping run and financing a large, multimillion dollar criminal syndicate that peddled Ecstasy to that states Yoots.

It seems that while the Bull was roving the once wide open ranges of Arizona, he was a busy buckaroo, or at least he was, if you listen to a jail house snitch named Philip F. Pascucci.

According to Pascucci, Gravano wanted to kill a New York lawyer. Unfortunately, and against wide popular opinion, killing lawyers is illegal.

Mouth piece Ron Kuby was the Bulls alleged intended victim, not because of Kuby lack of hair style, but because he represented the families of 19 people Gravano killed when he was one of John Gotti's favorite hit men.

Kuby, who is deathly opposed to the Death penalty but not to making a buck off a tragedy, filed a wrongful-death suit against Gravano shortly after Gravano's biography, "Underboss," was published in 1997. His victims' relatives had feared the hit man might profit from his dirty work.

And he did too. Some New York agents say the Bull cleared a cool two million on the book deal.

Gravano's literary agent and lawyer were unavailable for comment....and they laughed when Capone hired a publicist.

Apparently, if the very desperate Mr. Pascucci is to be believed, the scheme was to lure Kuby to San Antonio, Texas, by enticing with "a promise of a drug defense case"

But, says Kuby, the alleged Gravano plot was bound to fail because he "ha tes Texas too much to travel there"

Charming man, this Kuby.

Kuby said he is not surprised by anything concerning Gravano because he has read "a psychological evaluation that portrays Gravano as an incurable, violent sociopath"

Do you really need to read a psychological evaluation to figure that out? I mean, come on Ron, the guy brags that butchered 19 people, including his brother in law.

Kuby, who called the plot a "bummer", said he takes the threat seriously.

Well, Duh.

"I have been threatened by a lot of people, but I have seldom been threatened by somebody who so excelled in the art of murder as Sammy Gravano. This is not some crank who made a call from a pay phone" Kuby said.

I don't doubt that Mr. Kuby's been threatened by a lot of people, and while Gravano was never known to phone his victims ahead of time, lets consider, as the lawyers say, the source of the allegations.

Pascucci, a convicted felon who has done time on mail fraud charges and is currently in the can for allegedly manufacturing and importing Ecstasy, told police that he sold 7,000 Ecstasy pills to Gravano from late 1998 through February, 2000.

But Pascucci appears to have selected memory syndrome. He's been talking to the cops about the case for six months, but only after he was arrested, did he recall that Gravano's was involved in the drug sales and that he was also dealing in dope.

Originally, Pascucci told a Phoenix police detective that Gravano didn't participate in dope business, but knew that his children, Gerard and Karen, were involved.

Police say that Pascucci and Gravano each reportedly received 37 cents per pill until competition from a European manufacturer drove the profit margin down to 25 cents per pill, still a pretty respectable take.

Now back to Kuby, a lawyer who says he has contempt for the legal system, because it allowed Gravano out of prison after five years.

In other words, the lawyer...are you ready for this ?.... has disdain for deal making in court. If that's true, he's the only guy connected to this insanity who isn't willing to make a deal, because right now Pascucci is negotiating a plea with authorities and Gravano is applying his own pressure to federal prosecutors who are going to have to do a judicial jig to get out from under this one. After all, Sammy was their pride and joy once.

Hell, the entire basis for this mess is a deal started back when Gravano agreed to testify against Gambino crime family boss John Gotti, in so long as he could walk away from the deal a free man.

And now the Prosecution appears ready to work another deal with another devil ,and not a second to soon either, remember the prosecution, fundamentally, have no case against the Bull outside of hearsay conversations recorded by wiretaps. No one ever saw the Bull buy or sell a single pill or reach into his pocket to finance a deal.

The brief case boys were up a prosecutor s creek and the eyes of the world are on them and they were empty handed.

Then Pascucci got himself arrested for dealing in dope and delivered his amazingly timely tale. Remember, in the entire six months that Pascucci was informing to the cops about an ongoing drug ring, not once did he mention that Gravano was tied into the deal nor was there any mention of a murder plot against Kuby. In fact none of this was revealed until Gravano's lawyers made efforts to have the Bull's bail reduced, earlier this month.

The great thing about Pascucci's "kill the lawyer" story coming out when it does, is that it shows Gravano to be a threat to the general peace, and those guys never make bail.

"What is most disturbing" says Kuby "is that it was the government of the United States that gave him the ability to do this. We can only hope that this time, prosecutors will succeed where the FBI failed so badly."

Well, actually, it was the lawyers, lawyers like Kuby and thousands of others, who created and cut the deal. As for the FBI, they did a hell of a job, smashing the Gotti organization to bits, with several agents risking their lives to plant bugs in the bosses headquarters.

A heroic job, well done.

No, the most disturbing thing about this is not that Gravano leaped on a great offer, or even that Phil Pascucci is about to do the same thing. The most disturbing thing about it is that otherwise intelligent, well educated men and women, sworn to uphold our greatest and most admired national treasure, the Judaical system, have instead turned it into tawdry auction house where career goals and easy court room wins with lots of flash rule....and if I'm wrong...then explain how the Bull ended up in this mess?

So how do we fix it?

Maybe Sammy the Bull's got the answer. First, we shoot all the lawyers.

Mr. Tuohy can be reached at

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