September 17, 2013: Another
Bonanno family turncoat, Richard Cantarella, known as "Shellack Head," was given his just reward for helping
the government. In Brooklyn federal court judge Nicholas Garaufis gave Cantarella, his son Paul and wife Lauretta Castelli,
no prison time for the help they gave in the dismantling of the Bonanno/Massino family. Richard was a high ranking capo
under Joe Massino and became close to the former boss over the years. With ties to a number of parking lot businesses,
Cantarella did well financially but in 2002 got arrested on federal racketeering charges that included extortion and charges
he was involved in the disappearance and murder of New York Post supervisor Robert Perrino. Contributing to Cantarella's
down fall were secret tapes made by informants Barry Weinberg and Agostino Scozzari. The feds also charged Paul
Cantarella and Castelli on other charges. With the whole family in danger of getting major prison time, Cantarella
and his clan all turned into cooperating witnesses. "In my mind I knew I was cooperating," remembered
Cantarella at the time. Shellack Head testified at Massino's 2004 racketeering trial and also gave evidence against
Vincent Basciano. Cantarella is the third major Bonanno cooperator to get a good shake from the court for his
help. Massino was let out of prison with time served in July and his brother-in-law Sal Vitale was earlier released
with time served. Tails of all the cooperators are recounted in my books "Vinny Gorgeous: The Ugly Rise And Fall
of A New York Mobster," as well as "King of The Godfathers."
September 04, 2013: For those who like audio books,
"Vinny Gorgeous: The Ugly Rise and Fall of A New York Mobster," will be coming out in audio format in October
from Tantor Media. The cost will be $19.16. This will make three editions of the book, including the trade paperback
and the e-book versions. The audio book will be available on MP3,CD and for download.
August 27, 2013: Two
news items. "Vinny Gorgeous" will be available soon on audio file, either CD, download or MP3. Details
to follow. The book is currently available in trade paperback and on e-book, available through your Kindle or Nook
device. I also had a great program on radio with author Margaret McLean on KCAA on August 17. We talked for
a half hour about Basciano and his betrayal by Joe Massino. The show is "It's A Crime" and Margaret,
who covered the Whitey Bulger trial, archives things at this link : http://www.itsacrimeradio.com/shows/
July 28, 2013: This evening, July 28th, at 9:00 P.M.
EST, the National Geographic Channel will premiere its new series "Inside The American Mafia," a documentary series
about the decline of the mob from the 1970s through 2004, when Massino was convicted. I contributed some photos from
my private collection which made it into the Massino program, which will air August 25th. I also attended an intimate
dinner in Little Italy last week of some of those who contributed. Among those attending were former FBI agent
Joseph Pistone, former Colombo captain Michael Franzese and former mob associate Sal Polisi. Mob buffs will find the
program approach refreshing in a number of ways.
July 28, 2013:
I did an hour long appearance on Burl Barer's popular crime program on radio out of California. We had a wide ranging
discussion about Joe Massino, his betrayal of Vinnie Basciano, and the state of the Mafia. Spirited discussion.
It can be accessed at www.burlbarer.net. It may take a couple of days to appear. Burl is the famed author of "The Saint" and knows Hollywood.
July 19, 2013:
For those who are interested, I have been doing a number of radio appearances related to the "Vinny Gorgeous" book.
Even one on Irish Radio. My latest was July 17th on the popular Dan Zupansky show where I spoke for an hour. The
show is archived at the following link: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/dan-zupansky1
July 10, 2013: Joseph Massino got his reward for turning into
a cooperating witness when Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Brooklyn federal court freed him Wednesday from two life prison sentences.
Citing Massino's cooperation and the efforts he made in testifying against Vincent Basciano and others, Garaufis said freeing
Massino, who admitted killing 12 people as a mobster, was the right thing to do for public policy and to encourage others
to cooperate. Massino looked obese and walked with a shuffling waddle as he came into and out of court. He said
that he prayed everynight for his victims and their families. The government will take about 60 days to sort out Massino's
security as he begins life in the witness protection program. It is doubtful that Massino's family will join him in a new
location, although he now can see his wife, children and grandchildren easier now that he will be out of custody. Massino
testified in 2011 against Basciano, who was convicted and given a life prison term as spelled out in the new book "Vinny
Gorgeous: The Ugly Rise and Fall of A New York Mobster."
July 4, 2013: "Vinny
Gorgeous" is officially released (July 2) and available at major bookstores and the big online booksellers like Amazon.
The book got a big lift with an appearance by me on the Curtis Sliwa morning radio show July 3 on AM970 in New York!
June 10, 2013: The above color rendition of the mug shot of Vincent Basciano was done by New York art dealer
and artist Diana Saez to commemorate publication of my new book. This is NOT the cover or title of the new book, which is
titled "Vinny Gorgeous: The Ugly Rise and Fall of A New York Mobster." But it is a heck of rendering. The book comes
out in 20 days!
May 24, 2013: The first review of "Vinny Gorgeous" is in Publishers Weekly and it is a good one!
The Bible of the publishing industry called the book a "dark, informed and effective bio." They credit me
for cutting through the secrecy of the Mafia in writing it. A link to
the full review is:
December 26, 2012: NEW BOOK ON
VINCENT BASCIANO IN 2013. Tony DeStefano's new book for 2013 will be "Vinny Gorgeous: The Ugly Rise and Fall of
A New York Mobster," to be released in late Spring, early Summer by Lyons Press. The 288 page trade paperback will
encompass not only the life of the imprisoned Bonanno captain but also be the first lengthly treatment of Joseph Massino's
testimony as a government witness and the big show down between both men in federal court. Included will be some never
before published photos from Basciano's life. The book is available for prepublication order on Amazon.com and
the Barnes and Noble site. Watch this web site for more details.
26, 2012: Massino on the stand again: Former Bonanno boss Joseph Massino made an encore
performance Monday in Brooklyn federal court as a government witness in the extortion trial of reputed Genovese crime family
wiseguy Anthony Romanello. Looking as plump as ever but seemingly more relaxed then when he testified
in the trial of Vincent Basciano, Massino recounted his life of crime and his long association
with La Cosa Nostra. Massino is being used by the government as a kind of expert witness, talking about the structure
and organization of the mob and in particular recalling how he met Romanello. According to Massino, he met Romanello,
who is known as "Rom," in the Massino-owned Casablance Restaurant in Maspeth. Massino owned the place from
1996 until 2005 when the government took it over. Romanello was an acting captain for the Genovese under "Tough
Tony of Corona," testified Massino. In his time on the stand, Massino talked about the 12 murders he committed,
including the slaying of Vito Borelli. The brash Borelli was killed after the late Gambino boss Paul
Castellano learned he was making fun of him. John Gotti and his associate Joe Watts
were the triggermen in the killing of Borelli, said Massino. Borelli had been dating Castellano's daughter at the time
and make the remark to her that got him killed, testified Massino. Massino admitted he hopes to get out of a life term
by testifying for the government and acknowledged that his family was allowed to keep many rental properties which provide
his wife with a living. Massino was only on the stand for about three hours, compared with the days he spent in the
November 19, 2012: Prosecutors intend to
play once again some of the audio tapes Joe Massino secretly made of Vincent Basciano in
a federal lockup in Brookyn in early 2005. In a court filing, prosecutor Jack Dennehy told defense
attorneys for Anthony Romanello, set to go on trial later this month for extortion, that the government intends
to pay some portions of the tape. Dennehy didn't elaborate on what portions of the tape would be played. Massino recorded
Basciano twice while both where in the Metropolitan Correction Center in early 2005. Since Massino doesn't have knowledge
of the allegations against Romanello, a reputed Genovese crime family member, it is likely his tapes will be used to prove
the structure of organized crime and Romanello's stature.
2012: Joe Massino gets an Encore: The former boss of the Bonanno family is expected to be making another
appearance on the witness stand in Brooklyn federal court, perhaps as early as this month. Court papers filed by federal
prosecutor showed that Massino, as well as his brother-in-law Sal Vitale, are expected to
be called as witnesses in the extortion trial of Anthony Romanello, a reputed Genovese crime family member. But
unlike his prior appearance in the trial of Vincent Basciano, where Massino testified at great length about
the crimes charged, the old Bonanno boss is going to be used to give information about the structure of organized crime
and not anything Romanello may have done. It was unclear what Vitale would testify about. Massino testified
in both the guilt phase and penalty phase in Basciano's 2011 federal death penalty trial. While Massino was a good fact witness
his baggage, he admitted to taking part in 12 homicides, seemed to sour the jury on the prospect of giving Basciano the death
penalty. Jurors opted to give Vinny Gorgeous life in prison, which he is serving in the federal Supermax
prison in Florence, Colorado. Massino, who suffers from diabetes and blood pressure issues, is hoping to
get out from under his life sentence for his 2004 federal racketeering conviction.
25, 2012: Vinny "Vinny TV" Badalamenti, the latest reputed boss of the Bonanno family, was sentenced
to 18 months in prison by a Brooklyn federal judge for his guilty plea earlier this year to playing a role in the collection
of an unlawful gambling debt. As reported in the Daily News, Badalamenti got the 18 months from Judge Carol
Amon. The government had wanted a sentence from 21-27 months but Amon gave Badalamenti, 54, credit for
at least the nine months he had already spent in the can since his arrest earlier in the year. The case stemmed from
the covert role played by the informant Hector Pagan, the old squeeze of the daughter of Anthony
Graziano. While Badalamenti did plead guilty to the charge, his defense attorney Ron Fischetti
noted in his sentencing memorandum that the dispute didn't involve his client at all, but was something personal between Graziano
and debtor. Fischetti also introduced letters from Badalamenti's family, including his daughters and siblings, and a
few tenants, who extolled Vinny's virtues. It all seemed to work as Amon gave him less than the guideline sentence.
Check out the October issue of PENTHOUSE magazine , on the newstands now, for the cover article "The Family Guy: The
Last Loyal Mobster Vinny Gorgeous," by Anthony M. DeStefano. The six-page true crime piece, with some original
art and crime scene photos, details the rise of Vincent Basciano in the Bonanno crime family and his demise through his former
boss Joseph Massino. It is the first lengthy treatment of Massino's role as a mob turncoat.
August 23, 2012: CHINATOWN CRIME SHOW: It
wasn't just the Bonanno family involved in heroin. Check out Biography Channel's program on August 28th at 10 P.M. In a program
about Johnny Eng, the one-time Chinatown heroin trafficker who rose to prominence in the 1980s, Tony DeStefano will be one
of the experts interviewed. The show repeats at various times on Biography Channel's schedule. Check local listings for more
information. But the initial broadcast is set for Aug 28th at 10 P.M.
17, 2012: Well That Was Quick: Two days after Charles Carneglia talked via telephone
from prison to essentially appeal his conviction on grounds of ineffective lawyering, not being able to testify and other
things, Judge Jack Weinstein in Brooklyn federal court shot him down in a short ruling. Weinstein
said Carneglia "was an experienced professional criminal with sophisticated knowledge of court operations. Defense counsel
was highly skilled. Counsel explained in his declaration--which is not needed for this decision--that he advised [Carneglia]
of his right to testify and that [Carneglia] agreed to stay of the stand." Weinstein said Carneglia's
criminal history was "reprehensible" and that taking the witness stand would show his criminal background in such
a way that the jurors would find it "terrifying." So, Charles plots his next move in federal prison where, he has
been since late 2009. The whole story can be read in my book "Mob Killer: The Bloody Rampage of Charlie Carneglia,
Mafia Hit Man."
March 17, 2012: Charles Carneglia Goes It
Alone: Well, he is not part of the Bonanno crime family but Charles Carneglia merits some
attention here, since I did write his biography. He appeared by telephone conference call Thursday before Judge
Jack Weinstein in Brooklyn federal court. Carneglia is serving life in a federal prison in Pennsylvania for his racketeering
conviction in 2009. He was found complicit in four murders and there was evidence introduced in the case that he
dissolved ini acid the body of John Favara, the man who accidentally killed the late John Gotti's
son Frank. In the call, as noted in the Daily News, Carneglia said his health wasn't too good as he suffers
from asthma and emphysema--he smoked for much of his life. He is trying to appeal his conviction on the grounds that
his court appointed lawyers didn't do a good job. It is not clear how serious Weinstein will take this appeal.
Carneglia also wanted to testify but wasn't allowed to by the lawyers, another point of contention. Since he was sent
to prison, Carneglia has seen his mother Jennie die at the age of 96.
30, 2012: Bonanno Turncoat Catches a Break. Dominick Cicale, the Bonanno capo who turned on Vincent
Basciano and others, got a ten year sentence from Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Brooklyn federal court.
Since he has been in federal custody since early 2005, Cicale could get out in 18 months with credit for time already served.
Not bad for a guy who once faced the death penalty and after deciding to cooperate was used by the feds in their unsuccessful
attempt to get Basciano executed. Basciano instead got a life term and is the Supermax prison in Colorado
Cicale and Basciano were very tight and it was Cicale's testimony which sunk Basciano on the February 15, 2001 Frank
Santoro murder and the December 2004 murder of Randolph Pizzolo. Prosecutors pointed out in
court papers that Cicale had testified against at least 13 reputed Bonanno crime family members and also testified in the
trial of John "Junior" Gotti in late 2009, which ended in a mistrial. Garaufis made note
of the fact the Cicale cooperated extensively but said the government was forced to make "Faustian" bargains with
criminals in the quest to get bigger fish, according to the New York Post. Cicale, 44, said he was sorry for the murders
January 29, 2012: The Old Dogs: Two
old timers of the Bonanno crime family, Nicholas Santora and Anthony Graziano, were among
five arrested Friday by the FBI on a host of new charges. A 14-count indictment accused the group of various racketeering
and extortion counts, as well as illegal gambling and conspiracy to distribute marijuana. The big catch for the feds
was Vincent "Vinny TV" Badalamente, 53, the reputed acting boss of the family and among a
group considered to be part of a ruling committe for the badly weakened crime family. Santora, known as "Nicky
Mouth," is a reputed capo, age 69, who only got out of prison in 2009 on an earlier federal rap. Santora
had been in a half-way house for a time and then was free. Readers will remember that Santora figured in the alleged
extortion of former Howard Beach housewife Yvonne Rossetti. Santora ultimately saw that extortioncase dropped. Another
oldtimer grabbed was Anthony "TG" Graziano, 71, the father of "Mob Wives" star Renee Graziano.
TG was in a halfway house when the feds say he allegedly tried to collect money from one of his old loanshark clients.
TG used to be an old friend of Bonanno former boss Joseph Massino. According to the charges Badalamente
tried to takeover a bar in Coney Island after its owner fell behind on loanshark payments. All five defendants have plead
not guilty to the charges.
January 12, 2012: Secrecy Over Montagna Murder Case. A Canadian judge has kept under
wraps for now a number of documents filed in the murder prosecution in the death of former New York Bonanno chief Salvatore
Montagna. Quebec Court Judge Maurice Parent gave no explanation for r3efusing to disclose
documentary evidence in the murder case against one of five suspects, according to the Montreal Gazette. The defendants
were in court Wednesday. The sealed material which Parent is not disclosing to the defense reportedly involves an affidavit
and wiretap warrant. Such secrecy is viewed as unprecedented in Canada and wouldn't last long in a U.S. federal court,
where rules on disclosing such discovery material are more liberal, particularly if a case is going to trial. Two other
documents will be disclosed, although Canadian authorities are going to redact portions of it. Speculation as to why
Parent was keeping the documents under wraps ranged from possible FBI involvement in the case to a secret informant in the
Montreal mob. The case led to arrests last month, including that of Raynald Desjardins, 59, a reputed
key member of the Montreal mob and ally of the Rizzuto clan.
26, 2011: Montagna Murder: Following the arrests in Canada of a number of men for the murder of Sal
Montagna, the former Bonanno street boss of New York, the theory about why he was killed seems to be focusing on
the September 16, 2011 assassination attempt against Raynald Desjardins, 59, the old Rizzuto crime family
confederate. Prosecutors said in court for the arraignment of Desjardins and others for the Montagna hit, that the conspiracy
took root on September 16, the very day of the abortive attempt against Desjardins, according to journalist Paul
Cherry. The conspiracy allegation was a sign that "investigators believe Desjardins and Montagna were
at war in September even though the two men are believed to have tried to achieve consensus" on how to run the Rizzuto
organization after the death a year earlier of patriarch Nicolo Rizzuto, said Cherry.
December 21, 2011: Montagna murder bust: Cops in Canada have arrested a number of
men in connection with the November 24 killing of
Salvatore "Sal The Iron Worker" Montagna.
As reported in Newsday and papers in Canada, a spokesman for the Surete du Quebec said the lead defendant taken into custody was Raynald Desjardins, 59, of Laval. who has long been considered
an associate of the Rizzuto organized crime clan. Police where hailing the arrests as a major blow against organized crime
figure, said Inspector Michel Forget of the Quebec police. Cops also took two others in custody on Tuesday
and were prepared to serve another man, Jack Simpson, 69, with charges. As the December 15 item indicates,
Simpson has a drug conviction and it was from his home that Montagna was reportedly fleeing after he was shot. Cops
haven't spelled out a motive for the murder but are expected to do so in court. The suspects are scheduled to appear
in court Wednesday, December 22.
December 18, 2011: Of
all of the theories about the demise of Salvatore Montagna, one intriguing one is that it may have had to
do with drugs. The Canadian faction of the Bonanno family has traditionally been viewed as a key link in drug operations
by law enforcement. This stretches back to the days of Carmine Galante and his involvement in heroin
smuggling. One former American law enforcement official who didn't want to be named thinks that the Bonanno family,
despite its weakened state, never wanted to relinquish its share of narcotics traffic from the Montreal mob and that perhaps
Montagna was trying to help the Bonanno family in that matter when he was killed. Still, the exact reason for Montagna's murder
December 15, 2011:
December 4, 2011: Mob Links With Eastern Europeans: Mob involvement
in strip clubs is an old story. But mob involvement with immigrant smuggling tied to those clubs is another thing. The feds
in New York indicted 20 people on charges they recruited women from Eastern Europe to work in adult clubs in the New York
and Long Island area. According to the Manhattan federal indictment, reputed members of the Bonanno and Gambino family
linked up with ethnic Russians and Asians to bring the women in, usually through fraudulently obtained summer work and travel
visas. The suspects are accused of planting ads in European newspapers for waitresses but the jobs were really in the
strip clubs, in violation of the visa rules. Some of the girls were involved in fraudulent marriages as well to get
into the U.S., the indictment charged. Among those indicted is Alphonse Trucchio, a reputed Gambino capo
and son of Ronny "One-Arm Trucchio," who is mentioned in the book Mob Killer. Also
charged is reputed Bonanno associate Anthony Frascone. Mobsters have had interests in strip clubs over the decades,
usually as hidden partners or in shakedowns. Back in the 1930s and 40s, Lucky Luciano was tied in to prostitution in Manhattan,
which ultimately led to his incarceration. This indictment shows how the mob is supposed to have tapped the lucrative
market in European women. There is no human trafficking allegation in this case but the smuggling alleged is similar
to what is spelled out in the book The War on Human Trafficking.
November 29, 2011: Montagna Funeral Draws No Crowd: Salvatore Montagna,
the former boss of the Bonanno family who was gunned down near Montreal on Thanksgiving Day (in the U.S.), had about
70 mourners show up at Notre Dame de Pompei, the Italian-language church in the city, for a funeral mass Monday. Aside
from media and cops, there wasn't a big turn out for the man known as the "Bambino Boss" because of his age.
Montagna, known as "Sal the Iron Worker" died at the age of 40 when he apparently fled from gunfire on Ile Vaudry
during a visit to the Island. Montagna swam accross the small Assomption River and died on the opposite shore, despite
efforts by cops to revive him. There is plenty of speculation why Montagna, who was interim boss of the Bonanno family
from about 2004 until his deportation from the U.S. in 2009, was killed. Most of it is speculative and ruminations about
Montagna trying to wrest control of what was left of the Rizzuto family in Montreal. There were also published reports
which stated in the words of an expert that Montagna was involved in construction fraud, although the expert cited no source
or legal documents in the news accounts. It remains to be seen what happened and what the autopsy shows. It is
also unclear where Montagna, who held dual Canadian-U.S. citizenship will be buried. He lived on Long Island before
his deportation and could return to the U.S. for burial or remain in Canada.
25, 2011: "Bambino Boss" Killed: They don't mess around in Canada. Salvatore Montagna,
known as "Sal the Iron Worker," was slain in a town some 20 miles Northeast of Montreal on what was Thanksgiving
Day in his old hometown of Brooklyn, according to Quebec provincial police.
His death is the seven high profile
mob murder in the last two years there. Montagna, who for a period was acting or interim boss of the Bonanno crime family,
was found unconscious by cops after a witness called to say he had heard shots and had seen Montagna running into the Assumption
River from Vaudry Island. The witness said Montagna jumped into the river a swam, making it to the other side where
he was found. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. The Surete du Quebec isn't saying why he may have been
shot but Montagna arrived back in Canada in 2009 after being deported from the U.S. for a minor criminal record. Montagna
was said in some reports to have been attempting to consolidate mob power in Montreal. Known as the "Iron
Worker" because he owned a Brooklyn metal working plant, Montagna is said by the FBI to have taken over the reins of
the Bonanno family after Joe Massino was convicted in 2004. Montagna, 40, leaves a wife and three
kids. Canada has always been a strange setting for the Bonanno family, where the Rizzuto clan was seen as an adjunct.
But in recent years the Rizzuto family has been wracked by assassinations and disappearances. The most notable have
been the December 2009 murder of Nicolo Rizzuto Jr, son of jailed Vito Rizzuto, and the
November 2010 assassination of Nicolo Rizzuto Sr., Vito's father. As noted in The Last Godfather,
Vito Rizzuto played a role in the May 1981 slaying of the Three Captains in Brooklyn, a move that boosted Massino's
power at the time.
November 4, 2011: Yvonne Rossetti busted.
That controversial housewife from Howard Beach, Yvonne Rossetti, was arrested last month in Osceola
County, Florida, on a charge of scheme to defraud, law enforcement officials said. Readers will remember Rossetti
in King of The Godfathers and Mob Killer, where she merited a mention. She was the woman who got jammed
up after getting investment money from a reputed Bonanno crime family associate [who allegedly got it from a loanshark]. Rossetti
couldn't pay back the investment and all sorts of things happened in which she was allegedly threatened. With her husband
facing a federal rap and she in trouble with wiseguys, Yvonne and her spouse, Vincent, turned into
cooperating witnessess. She eventually moved with her kids to Florida and got a five year federal probation sentence
for her 2009 guilty plea in Brooklyn federal court on charges she defrauded an investor in a real estate deal. Well,
as Newsday reported today, Yvonne,46, got arrested in Florida on charges she took money from a man interested in
buying property and put some of the money her her own account. At least that is the charge. Although a spokesperson
for the Oceola County Sheriff didn't say so, Rossetti likely has denied the allegations by pleading not guilty. Readers
can go on line and see her mug shot in Florida, where most things are public records. Since Yvonne didn't endear herself
to relatives who claimed she borrowed money for her ailing daughter, and never paid it back, those family members see the
arrest as sweet justice. Yvonne is out on bail. Her husband, who was given four years probation for his unrelated
federal fraud case, wasn't involved in the latest fracas.
2011: The Rossetti Tale: Readers of "Mob Killer" and "King of The Godfathers" will recall
the story of Vincent and Yvonne Rossetti, the
Howard Beach couple ensnared in controversy and crimes.
The transcript of Vincent's sentencing close to a year ago in Brooklyn federal court, during which he got probation, is an
eye opener. Judge Ray Dearie on December 15, 2010 had some choice words about the couple, but came down in
favor of giving Vincent a break. As readers may recall, Vincent gave evidence against some Bonanno crime family members
in a shakedown case involving his wife and in 2009 testified against Carneglia, giving evidence about the slaying of
Sal Puma on a Howard Beach street. Dearie did make Vincent liable for about $11.3 million in restitution,
something he is unlikely to be able to pay back in his lifetime. According to the transcript, prosecutor Patricia
Notopolous recounted for Dearie that Yvonne was the one who orchestrated a real estate fraud scheme-not Vincent-
but it was her husband who did ask relatives to give them money on behalf of an ailing daughter. That money, said Notopolous,
was used in part to pay off victims of the real estate fraud. Vincent, said Notopolous, was caught up in
a securities boiler room case and made alot of money, about $1.,5 million, but in the end had nothing. She also told
Dearie that Vincent threatened a couple of men in telephone calls. Defense attorney Stuart Grossman
noted that the Rossetti's ailing daughter, some time last winter, developed an infection that risked her kidney function.
"Personally I believe Mr. Rossetti has been trying to turn his life around, I do, think
he has a very difficult life and there are bumps in the road. I think, with no offense to Mr. Rossetti, I think his wife is a very difficult person and she has imposed extra burdens on him and extra trouble that in
some ways have made it difficult for him to keep it all together," Notopolous told Dearie, who then quipped that maybe
he should do him a favor and send him away to jail. A government agent put in a word of support for Vincent, who spoke
and apologized to his victims. "You know, through my years of association with organized
crime, you know, I fell prey to easy money, obviously I liked the lifestyle," said Vincent. Dearie than said
the Rossetti family situation affected him deeply and sentenced Vincent to four years probation, no fine but joint and several
liability for the $11.3 million. "Don't blow it," said Dearie to Vincent. Notopolous indicated the family
was going into the witness protection program.
September 14, 2011:
Judge Shoots Down Basciano Request--For Now: Brooklyn federal judge Nicholas Garaufis has rejected as "premature"
a request by convicted Bonanno capo Vinnie Basciano for the appointment of an investigator to do interviews
related to the notorious "hit list." In a letter dated July 30th, Basciano asked for help from the court because
he believed the government withheld material about a witness who knew about the hit list allegation. Basciano is confined
to the Super Max prison in Colorado where he is serving two life sentences. He complained to Garaufis that his confinement
conditions severely hamper his ability to prepare appropriate post trial motions and work on his appeal. Basciano wanted an
attorney appointed but Garaufis denied that request as "premature" as well. Basciano said in his letter that
an inmate known as "Reggie White" may have provided "A false claim to the government
that an innoucuous Santeria list was a 'hit list.'"
2011: A book signing in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, at Browseabout Books drew scores of readers for a successful
event. Visitors not only purchased "Mob Killer" but also "The Last Godfather" which continues to maintain
reader interest. Readers came from as far away as
Philadelphia and Maryland and New York for the event in this pleasant
and sunny seaside town about 80 miles east of Washington, D.C. Browseabout is one of Delaware's best and most well known independent bookstores
and worth a stop for anyone in the area. A number of transplanted New Yorkers stopped by to remember some of the old
places in their Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods, places which are among the many settings in "Mob Killer" and
"The Last Godfather." Say what you want about e-books (which account for a great many sales now of both books)
but there is nothing better than connecting with readers in person and catching on to their excitement about talking to an
author. Signing a book for a reader is a great way to say thank you for those who take the time to make a purchase.
August 18, 2011: Basciano
in Colorado: Vincent Basciano, the convicted Bonanno capo, has arrived at what will be home for the rest of
his life--the federal "Supermax" facility in Florence, Colorado. The jury in Basciano's last case decided
that a life term was the best punishment for him, rejecting a government effort to get the death penalty. Supermax is the
prison where prisoners who need the toughest conditions of confinement are kept and other inmates include terrorists.
Basciano's lawyers have disputed the notion that he is such a danger that he needs to be kept in Florence but the Bureau of
Prisons thinks otherwise. The prison is about 40 miles from Pueblo, Colorado.
August 15, 2011: Basciano in Oklahoma: Latest Bureau of Prison report
puts Vincent Basciano is at the Oklahoma City Transfer Station, a facility for prisoners in transit.
It is unclear how long he will stay at the facility, which now houses over 1,000 inmates. Basciano's ultimate destination
is Colorado's "Super Max" prison.
August 11, 2011: Vinnie Basciano
is On The Move: Informed sources tell us that Vincent Basciano is on the move, courtesy of
the federal Bureau of Prisons, to his ultimate destination of Super Max, the ultra-high security prison in Florence, Colorado.
For years as he awaited his latest trial, Basciano was languishing in stiff solitary confinement conditions at the Metropolitan
Correction Center (Manhattan) and Metropolitan Detention Center ( Brooklyn). But now that Basciano escaped a death
sentence he will be serving the resulting life term at Super Max, although he could at some point be shifted to a lower security
facility. In his just finished trial, Basciano' attorneys had argued that he could be controlled and supervised by federal
correctional officials and didn't need to be executed for the murder of mob associate Randolph Pizzolo. The jury agreed,
also believing that it was unfair to execute Basciano for a murder in which other participants didn't face capital punishment.
The jury also believed it was unfair to execute Basciano when witnesses like Joseph Massino had notched up
alot more homicides and weren't facing the death penalty. It may take Basciano a few days to reach Colorado.
July 21, 2011:
As expected Vincent Basciano got another life sentence Wednesday from Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Brooklyn federal court for
his conviction in the 2004 slaying of mob wannabe Randolph Pizzolo. The life term was a foregone conclusion after the jury
soundly rejected the death penalty for Vinnie Gorgeous, age 51. Basciano did address the court but didn't focus much on the
crime. Rather he complained to Garaufis about the way the special administrative measures he was living under hamstrung his
ability to mount a defense.
Basciano also tried arguing some legal points but Garaufis told him to do that in the
appeal, not in court. In the end Basciano complained about not having money to pay for a lawyer because he wants to
sue the confidential informant who said a list he prepared in jail was a "hit list." Garaufis read from a
three page memo in which he said that Basciano was an intelligent man but instead used his life to satisfy his greed and lust
for power in the mob. Basciano is expected to be sent to the Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, although Garaufis asked
the Bureau of Prisons to give some consideration to Basciano's family and the difficulty a far away prison would pose for
family visits. Basciano's former wife Angela was not in court but two of his sons were. The sentencing marked the last
of the major Bonanno family cases handled by Garaufis since 2002, when the first indictments were brought.
SUNDANCE CHANNEL: Author Tony DeStefano will appear on July 5th at 10 p.m. on the
Sundance Channel program "Love
Lust and Secret Societies," talking about the Mafia. Check local cable listings
MOB KILLER FEATURED IN QUEENS NEWSPAPER:
Check out a story about the book "Mob Killer" and author Tony DeStefano in the June 30th issue of the Queens Tribune,
a major weekly for the borough. Go to the following link
BASCIANO LAWYERS SEEK TO OVERTURN VERDICT: In papers filed in Brooklyn federal court, attorneys for Vincent
Basciano are asking a judge to overturn his racketeering murder conviction on the grounds that the evidence established multiple
murder conspiracies and not the one in which Basciano was accused of involvement in which lead to the killing of mob associate
Randolph Pizzolo. The argument is intricate and somewhat convoluted to be sure . The defense is also claiming that the
jury was improperly instructed on the law regarding withdrawal from a conspiracy. The evidence showed that Dominick
Cicale withdrew from the conspiracy and told other co-conspirators about his withdrawal, the attorneys said. This effectively
meant there was no more conspiracy at that point, the lawyers said in court papers. Government attorneys will respond
in their own filings. Basciano is to be sentenced in July.
Book Discussion: For over 90 minutes, author Tony DeStefano
talked with customers of the Borders Store in Glendale about "Mob Killer." The talk on
June 11th ranged from the events in the book which took place in nearby areas like Howard Beach and Ozone Park to the
publics fascination with the mob stories. Afterwards, the author signed copies of Mob Killer which are selling
briskly at the store. More talks will be coming in the near future in the New York City area.
SIGNING/DISCUSSION: Tony DeStefano's first appearance after publication of "Mob Killer" will be Saturday,
June 11 at 3:00 pm at the Borders Book Store in Atlas Park Mall, 80-16 Cooper Avenue, Glendale Queens. Tel:718-416-1003.
June 07, 2011: Basciano Sentencing Date Set:
Vincent Basciano will be sentenced officially on July 20th at 2:00 pm in Brooklyn federal court. The result
will be a foregone conclusion: life in a federal penitentiary. He already has one life sentence so this will be nothing
new. Basciano was spared the death penalty last week by a unanimous jury decision. By a 12-0 vote the jurors said life
was the appropriate sentence. 10 jurors also wrote in a special mitigating circumstanec: "There are other members
of organized crime that have admitted to an equal or greater number of serious crimes that are not facing the death penalty,
much less incarceration." This was a sound rejection of the government pursuit of capital punishment, which even
Judge Nicholas Garaufis had asked to not be considered in a letter to the government so time ago. Other
mitigating circumstances supported by all jurors was the fact that the federal prisons could control Basciano, that Dominick
Cicale, Michael Mancuso and Anthony Aiello were equally culpable for the death of Randy
Pizzolo and don't face death, that Pizzolo voluntarily engaged in violent conduct and in a sense contributed to his
Wednesday, June 1, 2011: Vinny Gorgeous Gets Life: As
reported in Newsday and the DailyNews, a Brooklyn federal jury decided to spare the life of Vincent Basciano and not give
him the death penalty for the killing of Randolph Pizzolo. The decision came down after only about 90 minutes
of deliberation as the jurors rejected government arguments that Basciano, 51, would be a danger even if jailed for life.
The jury wrote on the verdict sheet that that fact that turncoats like Joe Massino and Dominick Cicale had committed an equal
or greater number of crimes and don't face capital punishment was a factor in the decision to give Basciano a life term for
the slaying of Randolph Pizzolo in 2004. After the verdict was read in court, Basciano nooded at smiled at the 12 jurors,
the News reported. Basciano will spend his remaining days in prison, likely at SuperMax in Colorado.
KILLER OUT JUNE 7, 2011: Tony DeStefano's new book, "Mob Killer:The Bloody Rampage of Charlie Carneglia,
Mafia Hit Man," will be out officially on June7th from Pinnacle True Crime. It is available on Amazon and Barnes
and Noble web sites and in better bookstores for $6.99 (US). The 344 page mass market paperback details the fascinating and
often shocking story of Charles Carneglia and how he became an important gog in the crime machine of the
late John Gotti. Carneglia, brother of reputed Gambino captain John Carneglia, bloodied
his hands as he tried to fit in the with Gotti's wild crew in Ozone Park, N.Y. The story of Charles is one of a strange man
who could show incredible devotion to his infirm mother and then turn around and cause murder and havoc on the streets of
New York. He was arrested in February 2008 and finally convicted of racketeering in 2009 which earned him a life sentence
in federal prison. Charles was one of the last true believers of the mob life. He was an anachronism, the last of the loyal
26, 2011: Massino's Surprise Testimony: It was an unexpected moment in the death penalty phase of
Vincent Basciano's case when former boss Joseph Massino blurted out that he had failed two lie detector
tests with the FBI. That fact had been known for years but by court order wasn't supposed to be brought out
on cross examination by the defense. But as reported in Newsday, Massino suddenly mentioned it as a way of justifying
why he decided to secretly tape Basciano while both were in jail. It was on that tape that Basciano made comments
which indicated he had earlier spoken to Massino about wanting to hit a prosecutor. Massino in testimony said Basciano
first mentioned the idea about a month earlier out of anger for the way prosecutor Greg Andres
was treating mob wives. But on tape Basciano demurred, saying that it was a bad idea and to forget about it. Prosecutor
Andres was never harmed. Basciano faces the death penalty after being convicted for killing mob associate Randolph Pizzolo.
The death penalty phase will continue after the Memorial Day weekend.
25, 2011: Details of Alleged Hit Plot on Prosecutor: Both prosecution and defense attorneys opened the death penalty
phase of the trial of Vincent Basciano Tuesday, with the government saying the Bronx mobster deserves to be executed
for the murder of Randolph Pizzolo while the defense said that life in prison would be enough. As reported in Newsday,
one of the government witnesses was Dominick Cicale who testified that Basciano wanted to shoot prosecutor Greg Andres in
the head as he dined in the popular Italian restaurant Campagnola in Manhattan. Cicale also admitted he was willing to
shoot Andres. While the alleged plot is not part of the indictment against Basciano, prosecutors are bringing
it up in this death penalty phase as an aggravating circumstance. The defense meanwhile will bring up several mitigating
facts, including the fact that others involved in the Randolph Pizzolo homicide--notably Cicale, Michael Mancuse and
Ace Aiello--don't face the death penalty. The death penalty phase is expected to last until early June.
May 22, 2011: Death Penalty Phase Begins Tuesday: The death
phase of the trial of Vincent Basciano begins Tuesday, May 24 in Brooklyn federal court with prosecutors
scheduled to bring in over a period of about two or three days witnesses like Joseph Massino, Sal
Vitale and James Tartaglione. The government is calling Massino to flesh out the allegation
that Basciano wanted to put out a contract on federal prosecutor Greg Andres, who wasn't harmed. The
Andres allegation wasn't a part of the main criminal case against Basciano but is now listed as an aggravating factor
in the death penalty phase. The defense is expected to bring in witnesses, including some of Basciano's
family, to build the case for life and not death. If the jury decides not to give Basciano death he will be serving
life in prison without parole, presumably under the strict segregation in custody reserved for terrorists. The defense
is also being allowed to bring in evidence that former Bonanno family members like Massino, Vitale,who were responsible for
several murders, aren't facing the death penalty. The jury won't get the case for the penalty phase until after Memorial Day.
May 17, 2011: Basciano Convicted-Death Penalty Phase To Start:
Monday's conviction of former acting Bonanno boss Vincent Basciano for conspiracy in the killing of a mob associate sets the
stage for a mini-trial over whether the jury should order his death by lethal injection. Judge Nicholas Garaufis set
next Monday as they day to start the penalty phase in which the prosecution will present evidence of aggravating factors which
warrant Basciano's execution while the defense will present a case for mitigation--and sparing his life. Basciano is already
serving life in prison for another murder conviction. No major mobster has been executed in New York since Louis Buchalter,
head of Murder Inc., in 1944. The defense will present evidence that Basciano's own death would cause harm to his family
and children. The defense is also going to show that other mobsters, notably Joe Massino, have carried out numerous murders
and have not faced the death penalty. The defense will also argue that others were involved in the murder of the man Basciano
was convicted of killing--Randolph Pizzolo--and were given prison terms. The Basciano cases have been described in detail
in parts of "King Of The Godfathers."
May 16, 2011: Basciano
Jury Deliberation Resumes Today: After three days off, the jury in the Brooklyn federal trial of Vincent
Basciano will resume deliberations on Monday, May 16th. The jury has been at it for about two full days, asking
for numerous read backs of witness testimony and portions of the tapes made by Joe Massino.
There are two charges in the case, conspiracy and an act of murder, so it is not an overly complex indictment.
May 10, 2011: Jury Expected to Get Basciano Case Today: With summations
completed on Monday, the federal jury in the case of Vincent Basciano is expected to get the case today
after being charged by Judge Nicholas Garaufis. As reported in the Daily News, prosecutors and
defense attorneys argued their respective spins on the case with summations and prosecutors are expected to present a rebuttal
summation this morning. After being read a 48 page charge on the law, the jury will then begin deliberations. Basciano
faces the death penalty if convicted for the 2004 murder of mob associate Randolph Pizzolo. The penalty
phase would be a separate proceeding and if the jury isn't convinced the case merits capital punishment Basciano
would get a life sentence, which he is already serving for a different federal conviction. The case has cost the court
over $4 million in costs so far.
May 9, 2011: Closing Arguments
Expected in Basciano Trial: After a final flurry of witnesses the previous week, the government and defense
are scheduled to begin summations in the capital murder case of Bonanno captain Vincent Basciano on Monday,
May 7th, in Brooklyn federal court. The case ended on Friday with the defense putting on some witnesses, notably
Carlos Medina. According to the New York Post and Daily News, Medina testified that Dominick Cicale
(pictured above with Basciano) essentially cooked up a false murder plot in which Basciano was supposedly planning
to kill Cicale. Medina and Cicale, who is a key government witness against Basciano, were in the same federal lockup
when Cicale is said to have related this fake plot to Medina, according to testimony. Cicale has previously testified
that it was Basciano who ordered the murder of mob wannabe Randolph Pizzolo in late 2004. Anything to discredit
Cicale is crucial testimony for the defense. The News reported that Medina blurted out the Cicale said to him that Basciano
had wanted to put out a hit on a judge and prosecutors. Medina is apparently referring to the famous "Santeria
list" of names which the government said was a hit list but which Basciano said was a list prepared for a black magic
spell, i.e. Santeria. Separately, the defense filed court papers saying that important log book entries held by federal Bureau
of Prison officials were missing. The log books are deemed important to the defense because they would establish that
a message to kill Pizzolo couldn't have been as alleged by the government from Basciano through lawyer Tommy Lee
to street boss Michael Mancuso, the court papers stated.
4, 2011: Move Over Gorgeous, Hello Johnny Bravo: There is alot in the papers about Vincent Basciano's
trial, much of it old news, with the testimony of Dominick Cicale. But one new factoid from
the testimony is the word that Basciano was known on the street as "Johnny Bravo," a take on the
cartoon character with the pompadour hairstyle. Basciano is a fastideous groomer, his hair neatly combed. As noted
in the Daily News and New York Post, Cicale testified about the night murder victim Randolph Pizzolo died. Cicale testified
that he was at a New Jersey Nets game as a cover, the Post stated and got word of the murder with the beeper code 7-11. Cicale
also testified that Basciano was so angry with the shoddy construction work of Pizzolo and his other problems that he
wanted him killed, but then backed off when Cicale changed Basciano's mind. It seems like the order to kill Pizzolo
was revived with Michael Mancuso, Cicale said, according to the News and Post.
May 3, 2011: Cicale Testifies: Dominick Cicale, once Vincent Basciano's
close friend, testified against him in Brooklyn federal court on Monday. While most of the news media was focused on
the death of Osama bin Laden, a couple of short stories appeared in the Daily News and New York Post.
Both papers reported that Cicale testified that it was Basciano who gave the order to have Randy Pizzolo
killed. The prosecution contends that it was in fact Basciano he gave the order. The defense is expected to cross
examine Cicale on Tuesday and bring up allegations that he fabricated a murder plot while in jail to implicate Basciano. Once
a handsome, strapping guy, Cicale has lost alot of weight and looks gaunt, according to the News account.
April 27, 2011: KING OF GODFATHERS AUTHOR ON RADIO: Tony DeStefano will be on
Dan Zupansky'[s internet radio show "True Murder" tonight at 8:00 p.m. Central time (9 pm EST) at
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/dan-zupansky1 The show deals with all matters of mob murders and the story of trials involving them. DeStefano is also expected
to talk about his new book, "Mob Killer"
April 24, 2011: MASSINO
TESTIMONY IV: Former boss Joseph Massino ended his time on the witness stand in the trial
of Vincent Basciano at shortly after Noon, on April 21 in Brooklyn federal court. Massino was
a pretty straightforward witness in his five days on the stand and wasn't really shaken in the cross examination by the defense
team. Readers of King of The Godfathers would have heard alot that was familiar. But the heart of Massino's testimony
had to do with the audio tapes he made of Basciano while both were in jail together in January 2005. Basciano indicates
on the tapes that he wanted murder victim Randolph Pizzolo to be killed, but isn't sure of the details.
However, the whole point of the defense is that Basciano is actually lying to Massino on the tapes because he feared Dominick
Cicale would be hurt for taking part in an unsanctioned murder. Massino admits that unsanctioned murders
and other kinds of actions which go against mob rules can get the culprit killed. But such a penalty wasn't
automatic, said Massino. It isn't clear how the jury took to Massino, who admitted time and time again that he played
a role in 10 gangland hits. The defense may use that fact if the case goes to the death penalty phase as an example
of mobsters who did far worse than the one homicide charged against Basciano.
After Massino left, the next big witness was James "Big Louie" Tartaglione, who was also a cooperator
against Massino in 2004. Tartaglione will be on the stand April 25 as well.
18, 2011: MASSINO TESTIMONY III: When Joe Massino was about to get arrested he took one final
shopping trip with his daughter Joanne in Howard Beach, a scene described in King of The Godfathers.
But there was one more trip Massino took two days before he was arrested on January 9, 2003. That was when he met Vincent
Basciano at a diner on Rockaway Avenue in Queens on January 7, 2003. In his testimony, Massino described telling
Basciano that he was going to get arrested very soon and that if they had to kill anybody it could be done. The code word
for a hit was to be the word "Jocko" which was to be said in conjunction with the name of the target, said Massino.
Basciano also wanted to kill the family underboss, Sal Vitale, but Massino said he told him not to, that
he needed facts and not mere suspicion that Vitale was an informant. [Vitale didn't turn government witness until a month
later, after he was arrested on the same day as Massino] "Take care," Basciano wished Massino.
According to Massino, he set up a panel to run the family while he was in jail that includeed
Anthony "TG" Graziano, a capo named "Peter Rabbit" and the another named
" Joe Saunders" otherwise known as JosephCammarano. Vitale was to be removed
as underboss,which he was.
Massino also testified that
while he was in the federal detention center with Basciano, that his young captain told him he had Randolph Pizzolo
killed because he was a "bad kid, a jerk off." This conversation wasn't recorded but prosecutors are using
it as a piece of evidence in Basciano's racketeering case. Basciano faces the possible death penalty for the Pizzolo slaying
in late 2004.
Trial testimony continues on Monday, April 18
April 15, 2011: MASSINO TESTIFIES III: On Thursday, Joseph Massino remained
on the witness stand in Vincent Basciano's case. He even gave an indirect plug to the title "The Last Godfather"
when he acknowleged under questioning that that was basically what he was known as. Massino made clear that the Mafia has
no 401K or retirement plan. Nonetheless, he tried to plan. He repeated the story in the book of how he amassed a fortune of
cash and gold bars. The cash, amounting to $7 million and more, was stored in the attic of his Howard Beach home in boxes
which were taped shut. The gold bars, about 500 were in the basement. Altogether Massino turned over $12 million
in assets to the government as part of his forfeiture. He said he kept eight houses for his family in the
deal, which produce about $70,000 a year in income for his wife, money Massino said he planned to use as his pension for his
old age. The real estate is worth about $3 million today, Massino said. The New York newspapers, including Newsday,
are covering the story.
The trial resumes with Massino on the
stand Monday, April 18 in Brooklyn federal court.
14, 2011: MASSINO TESTIFIES II: When he testified Monday, Joseph Massino told of a life of crime that began
as a teenager. For the entire day, Massino, looking like he put on more weight despite a prison diet, dropped a few interesting
tidbits which readers of The Last Godfather and other Mafia fans would appreciate.
** As a bookmaker in the 1960s Massino paid one NYPD detective $500 to get out of gambling case
and another detective $10,000 to get out of a burglary case.
Massino committed his first homicide in the 1960s, the killing of one Tommy Zummo, a Bonanno associate who he said was killed
in the lobby of a Queens building. Massino said he feared getting caught when the clip fell out of the handgun which
had his fingerprints. Nothing happened. The late Philip Rastelli one day told Massino he was looking into who killed
Zummo and if he discovered who did it would kill the person. Rastelli never found out and ironically became Massino's protector
** Massino said he set up Joseph "Do
Do" Pastore to be murdered in 1976. Tutti Franzese did the killing, said Massino.
** Massino was made on June 14, 1977 in a bar in Queens. The late Anthony Spero, Joe Chilli
and three others were made in the same ceremonoy prssided over by Carmine Galante. It was Galante who was considered
the street boss at the time, although the incarcerated Rastelli was the official boss.
** John Gotti Senior carried out the shooting of Vito Borelli, the old boyfriend of Paul Castellano's
daughter. Borelli had joked about Castellano looking like chicken grower Frank Perdue.
Wednesday, prosecutors played tapes Massino made of Basciano while both were in jail.
Some of the transcripts can be seen in the October 2010 postings on the site.
April 13, 2011: MASSINO TESTIFIES: It was a long awaited moment for readers of "King Of the
Godfathers." At 12:15 pm on April 12, 2011, Joseph Massino raised his hand and swore to tell the truth in Brooklyn
federal court in the trial of Vincent Basciano. Looking plumper than he was, Massino, 68, was on the witness stand
for about five hours as prosecutors walked him through a life of crime. Coverage appears in Newsday and all of the other New
York City newspapers. Massino did relate how Basciano told him, while both were in jail, that he had arranged for Randolph
Pizzolo to be killed, the crime for which Basciano faces the death penalty. None of Massino's family appeared in court,
although Basciano's wife Angela and three of her sons did attend.
For a big even in mob history, the courtroom
wasn't that crowded. Today, Wednesday, prosecutors are expected to play audio tapes Massino secretly made.
Massino talked about his rise through crime and gave some revisionist history of the
mob world, revealing that he committed his first homicide in the 1960s. He said he was inducted into the mob on June 14, 1977
by Carmine Galante.But his testimony closely tracks King Of The Godfathers. More details will be posted soon.
April 11, 2011 BASCIANO CASE OPENS TUESDAY--MASSINO TO BE CALLED: The long awaited
testimony of Joseph Massino, alluded to "King
Of The Godfathers," is set to finally take place Tuesday,
April 12, in the trial of Vincent Basciano. It will be covered by Newsday and the other major newspapers.
April 10, 2011: MASSINO TO TESTIFY--Basciano Trial Expected To Start This Week:
Dust off the copies of "King
Of The Godfathers." Federal prosecutors have made it official, what has
been an open secret for months. Former Boss Joseph Massino will be testifying in the trial of his former lieutenant Vinny
Basciano. The trial could begin as early as the Week of April 10 in Brooklyn federal district court. As reported, Massino
made tapes of Basciano while both men were in a federal lockup and according to the transcripts and prosecutors got Basciano
to make admissions which tied him into the murder of Randolph Pizzolo, for which Basciano faces the death penalty
if convicted. As illuminated in King of The Godfathers, Massino turned cooperator immediately after his July 2004 conviction
April 1, 2011: Still Look'n Good:
Anybody who has read "King of the Godfathers" will note in Chapter 28 how Vincent "Vinnie Gorgeous"
Basciano always looked tan and well coiffed. After nearly five years of solitary confinement, Basciano may not be
very tan but he is still well coiffed and nicely tailored in court. During jury selection for his upcoming capital trial,
Basciano sits with not a hair out of place in a gray suit, tie and white shirt. Jury selection is going slowly, the
Judge Nicholas Garaufis on Thursday dismissing two potential jurors whom the government wanted to keep in
the pool of potentials. A trial may start by mid-April.
March 24, 2011: Still Slow Going for Vinny Gorgeous: Jury selection
in the trial of Vincent Basciano is still ongoing and the court asked for over 100 additional potential jurors
to be vetted because so many others have been eliminated after questioning. Both the defense and prosecution have had
their share of objections as well to some potential jury candidates. As reported in the Daily News, one woman was excused
because she had been a bit player on "The Sopranos" HBO series. She had voiced the opinion that Italians are often
stereotyped as being in the mob. Judge Nicholas Garaufis excused her because the jury is supposed
to be anonymous and her name is technically a public record because it is on the show credits, according to
the News. A trial date for openings was set for April 4th, but don't be surprised if that gets delayed.
March 18, 2011: Slow going for Vinny Gorgeous. Jury selection in the
capital trial of Vincent Basciano is going slowly. Judge Nicholas Garaufis had to pull in
an additional 100 potential jurors for screening. So many from the previous batches of candidates had been culled out that
the court needs more bodies. The process is also going slowly because of extensive questioning needed to find jurors
who would be fair enough to follow the law. Some of those cut from the selection had indicated they think murderers should
get the death penalty automatically. A trial date is set for April 4 opening but that is likely to be delayed.
Follow "King of The Godfathers" on Facebook.
March 3, 2011: The Dapper Capo: With a nickname like
"Gorgeous," Vinny Basciano really does have to dress for the role. But on Monday, Basciano was
without a necktie to go with his sports jacket and dress shirt because of a foul-up at the federal jail where he was staying.
Not to worry. Judge Nicholas Garaufis loaned Basciano a tie and ended the fashion faux pas. As reported
in the Daily News, the missing tie occurence came during another round of prelimenary jury selection in Basciano's death penalty
trial in Brooklyn federal court. Garaufis loaned Basciano a Brooks Brothers tie. A couple of years ago Garaufis loaned Basciano
a dress shirt, which he had in his chambers when the Bronx capo had another clothing mixup. The trial gets underway
in earnest on April 4.
February 17, 2011: Trial Date For Basciano-April 4th:
The capital trial of Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano is slated to get underway with opening
statements on April 4, 2011, Judge Nicholas Garaufis said. Jury selection actually began on February 16th
and is expected to continue for the rest of the month and into March. Garaufis ordered that the federal jail in Manhattan
keep five sets of clothing on hand for Basciano so he can be properly attired during the trial. Gotta keep up with the moniker
February 6, 2011: DeFilippo In, Andres Out: In a change of heart, a Brooklyn
federal judge has decided to keep prosecutors from introducing evidence of an alleged solicitation to kill assistant
U.S. attorney Greg Andres in the upcoming trial of Vincent Basciano, all which is layed
out in King Of The Godfathers. Judge Nicholas Garaufis had earlier
said the government could bring in evidence about the Andres plot to show Basciano's efforts after his November 2004
arrest to protect to the Bonanno family from preceived threats as a way of showing his involvement with criminal activity.
But at a recent hearing prosecutors said they thought they could prove Basciano's guilt by his pre-arrest conduct.
So, Garaufis said the rather prejudicial evidence about the Andres plot was going to be kept out. The allegation
about the plot was in the indictment earlier but removed after an adverse appellate court ruling.
In terms of the alleged plot to kill Patty DeFilippo, Garaufis said since suspected conspiracy happened
before Basciano was arrested it would be allowed in for trial as evidence of Basciano's attempt to consolidate his power as
acting boss of the crime family. The key evidence is notes passed by Basciano to then-incarcerated boss Joseph
Massino. The DeFilippo plot isn't an actual charge in the indictment, which deals with the 2004 murder of Randolph
Pizzolo. A trial is set to begin in March, with Massino expected to be a key witness.
25, 2011: A Brooklyn federal judge is allowing an anonymous jury in the death penalty trial of Vincent
Basciano. Judge Nicholas Garaufis has ruled for the government on that issue. Jury selection is set to start next
month. Former boss Joseph Massino is expected to testify in the trial.
2011: Bonanno Bust in Big Roundup: The big roundup last week of over 100 reputed Mafia members
and associates included one reputed associate of the Bonanno group. Authorities announced that Neil Messino
was charged with the murder of a man during a home invasion robbery in 1992. All in all, there were four separate cases
which were announced to make a big press splash. But aside from reputed Gambino consiglieri Joseph Corozzo,
69, and Andrew Russo, reputed boss of the Colombo family, there were very few major names. What was surprising
was the impact the Genovese family still is supposed to have on the waterfront, through extortion of dock workers.
January 19, 2011: BIOGRAPHY CHANNEL FEATURES MASSINO DOCUMENTARY: On Friday, January 21, 2011 at 10 pm
Eastern Standard Time, the Biography Channel is featuring a program on "Big Joey" Massino. Check your local
cable listings for specific channels. Author Tony DeStefano is interviewed and talks about the trials and travails of
Massino as he went on to become a government witness.
January 18, 2011: Feds
Want to Use DeFillippo Murder Conspiracy Evidence: As described in King of The Godfathers,
p. 302, both Vincent Basciano and Patty DeFillippo were convicted of racketeering in a federal
trial in 2006. The book describes DeFillippo as "Patty From The Bronx." Now, Brooklyn federal prosecutors
want to use evidence against Basciano that he wanted to kill DeFillippo. In court papers filed recently, prosecutors are asking
Judge Nicholas Garaufis to let that evidence in. It seems now that the Basciano indictement set for
trial has been pared down, the feds believe they can use the evidence about the alleged plot against DeFillippo as direct
evidence of the conspiracy to murder and murder of Randolph Pizzolo. Essentially the government thinks evidence
of the Pizzolo hit, through testimony of Joe Massino and others, would show Basciano's use of violence to maintain and
increase his position in the Bonanno family. DeFillippo was never harmed. The defense is expected to file papers in
January 14, 2011: Biography Channel is showing a program
on Bonanno killer Tommy "Karate" Pitera, Jan. 14, 9:00pm Eastern Time, and later that evening at
1 am, Eastern Time. Tony DeStefano, author of "King Of The Godfathers," is one of several
people interviewed. Pitera is a character in the book.
January 13, 2011: Feds Allowed
To Use Certain Evidence, Denied Other: Sal Vitale, Frank Santoro, Greg Andres. Those are names familiar
to anyone who is a fan of "King Of The Godfathers" as they show up in the narrative of the Bonanno crime family
story. Now, federal prosecutors in the case against Vincent Basciano will be allowed to use evidence which
implicated him either in murders or murder plots. Judge Nicholas Garaufis is allowing the feds to bring in evidence implicating
Basciano in the Santoro murder, as well as his alleged plots against Vitale and prosecutor Greg Andres as uncharged crimes
in the upcoming death penalty case. Prosecutors can also use evidence of Basciano's alleged role in the San Gennaro festival
shakedown and some illegal gambling. But Garaufis is preventing the government from introducing evidence of the homicide
of Frank Nunez. In a victory for the defense, Garaufis is not going to prevent Basciano's attorneys from
refering to prior "trials" when they cross-exam government witnesses like Dominick Cicale. The
feds had wanted to require defense attorneys to simply refer to prior "proceedings" instead of trials. Basciano
has also conceded in court papers that he is a member of the Bonanno crime family and doesn't contest the family exists. On
that basis, Garaufis said prosecutors can't bring in evidence of the uncharged crimes to prove those two points which Basciano
January 3, 2011: Basciano trial likely to open March 2, 2011.
Dust off your copies of "King of The Godfathers." The death penalty trial of Vincent Basciano for
murder conspiracy is set for jury selection on February 15 in Brooklyn federal court, with the passing out of juror questionnaires.
This is the case examined in Chapter 28 of the book. By March 2nd, the defense and prosecution is set to pick a jury, which
means the case could open then. The big witness is slated to be former Bonanno boss Joseph Massino, the subject
of the book.
December 29, 2010: Tommy "Karate" Pitera: Fans of this website
will be interested to view the Biography Channel program on the infamous Bonanno family killer on January 7, 2011 on
the Biography Channel. The program, which details Pitera's life and evolution from a shy kid in Gravesend to a killer
who was convicted of dismembering his victims, can be viewed on YouTube. The author is featured in a number of interview
segments after writing about Pitera in "The Last Godfather" and "King of The Godfathers." Watch
local TV listings for program times on the cable channel.
December 16, 2010: Readers of "King
of The Godfathers," chapter 28, will remember the saga described in the book of the husband and wife
team of Vincent and Yvonne Rossetti of Howard Beach. The couple showed up as witnesses in a Bonanno crime family extortion
case with Yvonne as the alleged victim. Vincent, in trouble in a separate case, turned into a government witness and
provided evidence about the shakedown alleged concerning his wife and also was a witness in the 2009 trial of Gambino
soldier Charles Carneglia. On Wednesday, Vincent, who testified at the Carneglia trial about being an associate of the
mob for years, received five years probation from Judge Raymond Dearie in Brooklyn federal court for his federal transgressions,
said court sources. Not a bad deal which means he is a free man. Court observers said there were plenty of FBI agents
in the public gallery. Yvonne also got probation earlier from Dearie after she admitted in the same court house to having
carried out an investment scam. The couple is apparently no longer in Howard Beach. They have four young girls.
14, 2010: Basciano Lawyers Ask For Hearing on Detention: In King of The Godfathers, chapter 28, there is mention
of Basciano's confinement under draconian solitary confinement, called "special administrative measures" or
SAM. In recent weeks, according to his lawyers, Basciano has faced circumstances which seem "at best
inexplicable" and "at worst they are sinister." The lawyers are talking about the fact that in September, federal
officials opted to not continue the SAM because there was "inadequate evidence" to justify the harsh conditions.
Those conditions were initially imposed because of an alleged "hit list." But after Basciano wouldn't stipulate
to monitored visits, the SAM conditions were reinstituted. This has prevented him from having contact visits with his attorneys
in the death penalty case. On top of that, Basciano received a letter from a reputed mob associate, which he immediately turned
over to the government, fearing a set up, said the lawyers in court filings. The attorneys contend the letter was given
to Basciano by the government in violation of the SAM and seems that the missive was sent quite possibily as a set up. The
lawyers wrote to Judge Nicholas Garaufis asking for an investigation and a hearing about the letter, particularly because
they contend it might have been the real reason for the reinstituted SAM. Government is expected to respond.
04, 2010: Vincent Rossetti sentencing postponed amid investigation. The sentencing of former reputed Bonanno
crime associate Vincent Rossetti, who is featured in "King Of The Godfathers" has postponed yet again. The December
3, 2010 date was pushed to December 15 at the request of the prosecutors who said in a letter to Judge Raymond Dearie said
that an ongoing investigation of a matter related to Rossetti needs additional work. The letter didn't say what
was being investigated but noted that the probe had been completed and that the government "requires additional time
to have the issue reviewed" and to prepare a presentencing submission. Rossetti is believed to be still married
to Yvonne Rossetti, the controversial housewife whose business shenanigans got her in trouble with some Bonanno crime family
members and associates. After some alleged threats were made to Yvonne, the feds stepped in and made a number of
arrests back in late 2006. Yvonne was sentenced earlier this year to probation by Dearie for her own fraudulent conduct. Vincent
Rossetti got ensnared in a separate investigation and turned government witness, in part to protect his wife and to help himself.
He testified for prosecutors in the 2009 trial of Gambino soldier Charles Carneglia
2010: Basciano gets in trouble again: Anyone who has read "King Of The Godfathers" and this website
knows that Vincent Basciano has been under strict solitary confinement conditions know as SAMS, short for "special
administrative measures." The SAMS were actually lifted for Basciano in September after he consented to have his
communications monitored. But Basciano then changed his mind and didn't want his family visits monitored so the government
put the SAMS restrictions back on. Now prosecutor have revealed in papers filed in Brooklyn federal court that Basciano
was brought up on disciplinary charges for having "unauthorized" magazines in his cell, as well as stamps and
a DVD. For that he lost 30 days of commissary privileges. It wasn't clear what kind of magazines it was although prosecutors
suggested it was pornographic. They said Basciano provided another inmate at the Brooklyn federal house of detention
contraband such as stamps, pornographic and other DVDs in the the discovery room, where inmates can look at evidence. Basciano
also lost his family visiting privileges for 90 days after jail officials found he had a tweezers in his cell.
30, 2010: Vitale Gets Time Served. As ported yesterday in Newsday, Salvatore Vitale, the preeminent Bonanno
family turncoat, was given time served by Judge Nicholas Garaufis Friday in Brooklyn federal court. A teary 63 year old
Vitale said in court that he realizes now the error of his ways and how wrong he was to idolize the likes of mobsters
like Massino, Paul Castellano and John Gotti. His lawyers said in court papers that he had been a model prison since
being in the witness security program after his arrest in 2003 and that he has found religion. Garaufis said that practically
speaking law enforcement couldn't function without the likes of witnesses like Vitale, who provide info on all the crime
families. But the judge also had no illusions about Vitale's motivation to cooperate, believing he was foremost trying to
save his own skin. Vitale's testimony against brother-in-law Massino is chronicled in detail in "King of The Godfathers,"
which also reveals details about Vitale's earlier life. Vitale will soon be put into the witness relocation program,
presumably with his wife Diana. The couple has four grown children. See www.newsday.com
October 28, 2010: Vitale To Be Sentenced: As reported yesterday
in Newsday, Sal "Good Looing Sal" Vitale, the former Bonanno under boss who turned snitch and cooperated against
his brother in law oe Massino, is scheduled to be sentenced for racketeering on Friday, October 30, in Brooklyn federal court.
Vitale plead to racketeering and complicity in some Bonanno family murders and faces life. But federal prosecutors have gone
to bat for him, filing a long presentencing memo extolling his cooperation and how he provided the FBI with intelligence
on all five Mafia families in New York. The feds want Judge Nicholas Garaufis to give him help of sentencing so he avoids
a long prison term, maybe even give him time served which so far is about seven years. No one but Garaufis knows what the
sentence will be. But some cooperators have received time served, although with his own admission about taking part in a dozen
murders it might be hard for the court not to give him some time in prison. Check out coverage in Newsday at www.Newsday.com.
October 25, 2010: THE MASSINO TAPES V: The tape transcripts
filed by the government in the Basciano case contain numerous morsals. In one, Massino, who is secretly leading Basciano
down the garden path of betrayal, draws out the younger captain on what prosecutors said was the murder of Randy Pizzolo.
It is the Pizzolo hit which involves the death penalty as spelled out in "King of The Godfathers."
Massino: I took twenty years to put this together. It's easy to take a life. I can take a life everyday.
Massino: What am I going to gain taking a life everyday?
Basciano: Randy was fuckin' jerkoff, beau.
but did it warrant--wait a minute, did it warrant the clip?
Basciano: I tell you what, he goes into Villa
Sonoma, drunk, with a fuckin' pistol.
Massino: So, why didn't you just chase him?
want to know why? Because he's a fuckin' dangerous kid that don't fuckin' listen. He talks stupid, he talks that a fuckin'
jerkoff. He's fuckin'--He just an annoying kid.
October 17, 2010: THE MASSINO
TAPES IV: In "King of The Godfathers" there is a description of the fateful meeting between Massino
and Basciano in the jail holding cell during which Massino was secretly taping his loyal underling. The tapes, transcripts
of which are now available, continue to give insight into the way the Bonanno family was trying to regroup itself after Massino
was convicted in July 2004. Massino annointed Basciano as a street boss who was supposed to consult two or three other
trusted captain. But Basciano was so smitten by the power that he considered himself a first among equals, as this
exchange with Massino shows. Basciano said that other captains had to check with him before ordering hits but he didn't
have to check with anybody.
Basciano: They had to check with me.
Massino: Yeah, but you don't have to check with them.
Massino: Why? What makes the difference...you understand where I'm coming from?
...What I did what I tried to do, Joe, I tried to give a structure because everybody was all over the fuckin' board. And what
I did, by me taking the reigns, I annointed myself, through you, as acting boss. I made Michael acting underboss and Anthony
acting consiglieri. I told everybody: nobody makes a move without coming to me....
Basciano was apparently talking about Michael Mancuso and Anthony Rabito. Massino seemed a bit puzzled by Basciano's
remarks, saying that he should sit down with the other so-called ruling panel members to discuss things. Massino said discussion
was the way to do things, even when he was the boss. "I was the boss, and I used to sit down with Tony Green and Joe
C., hey discuss things." Basciano agreed with Massino.
13, 2010: THE MASSINO TAPES III: In the photo insert of "The Last Godfather" there are side-by-side
photos of Vinny Basciano and Michael Mancuso. Though both worked together in the Bonanno
family, the Massino tapes show that problems developed in late 2004, when Basciano acting as street boss gave Mancuso
powers in case he (Basciano) was arrested. This was shown as Basciano talked with Massino in jail. The transcript is
now on filed in Brooklyn federal court in Basciano's death penalty case.
My objective over here was for Joe Massino, not for Vinny Basciano. I put everybody together as a tough guy and told everybody
that this is for you, it's not me. I made certain decisions over there to avoid all the bullshit of comin'back and
forth in the can and I hadda make them in street. I told everybody, these decisions that I'm making aren't set in stone. If
Joe wants to change 'em, he changes them. I'm doin' this right now for the good of this [borgata]. Everybody agreed.
Michael Nose says Vinny, you know somethin'? I'm proud of ya. ...
Well, there's somethin' wrong now because...
Basciano then tried to explain the problems with Mancuso.
Basciano: The problem is over here, the first message I think that
went out. What happened was, Michael might have moved too fast...after I got pinched, he went to Dominick and he started
askin' Dominick questions about what I had goin' on the street. Dominick caught a delusion 'casue I know they had an argument.
Massino: Okay, okay.
Basciano then said that it wasn't Mancuso's
business what he had. But Massino interjected and said Basciano couldn't say it wasn't Mancuso's business "if it's
comin' to La Cosa Nostra." In other words any crime family business was something Mancuso had to be aware
of, said Massino.
October 10, 2010: THE MASSINO TAPES II: During the January 7,
2005 jailhouse conversation Massino had with Vincent Basciano, which was secretly taped, both men talk about the
elevation of one "Michael" presumably Michael Mancuso, to a position of power in the Bonanno family.
Massino is secretly cooperating with the FBI and seems to be trying to challenge Basciano, who had been Massino's selection
as acting street boss until he got arrested, on the selection of Mancuso. The taping is part of Chapter 28 in "King
Of The Godfathers." The transcript is filed now in Brooklyn federal court in Basciano's upcoming trial.
Basciano: Michael is lookin' for his day in the sun. I put Michael there with your consent, and I appreciated Michael"s...
Massino: No, you didn't put Michael there with my consent, you did it on your
Basciano: Well, I sent word afterwards.
Massino: After you did it, what good is that? Well I'm goona be straight up with ya.
Massino: I wouldn't do that to you....
on, in a humorous reference, Massino remarks about how there was some suggestion in a magazine that he was friendly with some
woman seen with him in a surveillance photo. Massino tells Basciano he didn't even know the woman and that his wife, Josephine
had a catty remark about the woman shown in the photo.
Massino: My daughter tells me yesterday,
my wife got a microscope. And she's lookin' and she's tellin' my daughter, she' too old and too fat, daddy wouldn't go with
Basciano: That's your wife's sayin'?
October 9, 2010: THE
MASSINO TAPES: Brooklyn federal prosecutors have made a transcript of Joe Massino's tapes he
secretly made of Vinnie Basciano and described in "King Of The Godfathers." The transcript,
filed in federal court, show Massino on January 7, 2005 leading Basciano down the garden path in a key conversation the feds
are using to try and get the death penalty against Vinnie Gorgeous. Massino, who will be a key witness in Basciano's death
penalty trial next year, made the tapes for the FBI in his bid to get a cooperation agreement. As the two mobsters start
talking, Massino talks about having to do his laundry and says his blood sugar (he is diabetic) is good.
Massino: Yesterday I had too much to do. I got a visit. I hadda wash my clothes, two lawyer visits.
Bo, washing your clothes is a fuckin' trip though, right?
Massino: I can't wear
the , the briefs, I gotta, I got a bah I got four pairs of boxers.
Basciano: I don't
know who you do it in the that shower.
* * *
Basciano: How you feel, buddy?
I feel good.
Basciano: Oh, yeah?
Massino: My sugar's
been good, but.
During following days more excerpts will be published on
this site as they relate to King of The Godfathers.
Right, right, right.
Massino: You never mentioned one word about Randy (Pizzolo)...That was on a Friday. The following Friday we had a
co-defendant meeting that's when you tell me that yous clipped him. Why don't yous tell me that Friday? Why didn't you ask
Why didn't you ask me that Friday? You didn't.
Basciano: It was already in the works beau.
Based on that, the defense wants the government
to retract its claim that both men talked before the killing took place that it would happen. The defense also wants to have
a hearing on the discrepancy and the right to call Massino.