Saturday, July 21, 2007

Feds heard of mob plot against chief justice

The FBI in the early 1980s warned leaders of Mafia crime families in seven U.S. cities in to avoid involvement in an apparent plot to murder Warren Burger, chief justice of the Supreme Court, according to an Associated Press story by Lara Jakes Jordan.

A confidential informant told the FBI of the plot he overheard in 1979 while in prison with members of three Mafia families. The mobsters reportedly also planned to assassinate a federal judge in New Jersey. The Burea alerted Chief Justice Burger to the report and advised the heads of crime families that they were aware of the plot. (Burger died of natural causes in 1995.)

According to an FBI memo dated Dec. 18, 1981, the plotters were Phillip "Rusty" Rastelli, (right) boss of the Bonanno Crime Family; Joseph Gambino, a lieutenant in the Gambino Crime Family; and Frank Cotroni, boss of a crime family in Montreal, Canada. The three mob bigshots were jailed at the time in the federal penitentiary in Lewisburg, PA.

The memo was sent from the FBI's Seattle field office.

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Editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer. Publisher of American Mafia history website Moderator of Mafia-related Google+ community and Yahoo discussion group. Author of Wrongly Executed? Coauthor of Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia and DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime. Contributor of American Mafia history to Australian-published Mafia: The Necessary Reference to Organized Crime. Writer/co-writer of crime history articles for Informer, On the Spot Journal, Cigar City Magazine, Tampa Mafia Magazine.