Tuesday, June 19, 2007

'Gorgeous' back in court



Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano was back in court today, as his racketeering-murder retrial opened in Brooklyn, according to an Associated Press report by Tom Hays.

The 47-year-old reputed boss of the Bonanno Crime Family is accused of murdering underworld rival Frank Santoro in 2001. Defense attorney James Kousouros's opening statement focused on the prosecution's turncoat mobster witnesses, who he called "admitted degenerate liars."

A federal jury convicted Basciano, left, of racketeering, gambling and attempted murder last year. The Santoro murder charge resulted in a hung jury. Prosecutors say Basciano took command of the Bonanno organization after then-boss Joseph Massino was sentenced to life in prison in 2005.

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Chicago 'Secrets' trial opens


Jury selection began today in Chicago's "Family Secrets" trial. The racketeering conspiracy trial of five defendants is expected to take up to four months and to involve evidence of 18 gangland murders, including the 1986 beating deaths of the Spilotro brothers.
U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel ordered that jurors' identities remain secret.
Most of the original 14 defendants in the case have reached plea deals with prosecutors. The remaining defendants are: Joey "the Clown" Lombardo, 78; James Marcello, 65; Frank Calabrese Sr. (right), 70; Paul "the Indian" Schiro, 69; and Anthony Doyle, 62. All five have pleaded not guilty.
Frank Calabrese's brother Nicholas, earlier named as a codefendant in the case, is scheduled to appear as a witness for the prosecution.
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Editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer. Publisher of American Mafia history website mafiahistory.us. Moderator of Mafia-related 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.