A Brooklyn jury yesterday found Carmine Polito, 48-year-old alleged Genovese Crime Family member, not guilty of the 1994 murder of loan shark Sabotino Lombardi, according to published reports by Alex Ginsberg and Gregory P. Mango of the New York Post and Scott Shifrel of the New York Daily News.
The guilt of innocence of co-defendant Mario Fortunato, 60, will be decided by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Joel Goldberg today. Fortunato opted to put his fate in the hands of the judge rather than the jury.
Lombardi and his cousin Michael "Cookie" D'Urso were shot during a November 1994 card game at the Giuseppe Social Club in Williamsburg. Lombardi was killed and D'Urso wounded. Polito (left) and Fortunato were initially charged in federal court with orchestrating the hit, and they were convicted in 2003 of the racketeering-related offense. The convictions were overturned on the grounds that the attack was related to personal business - Polito allegedly owed Lombardi more than $50,000 - rather than to an organized crime conspiracy rightly dealt with in federal court. New York State's top court decided that it would not violate the "double jeopardy" principle for the Kings County District Attorney to charge the pair with murder.
After the shooting, D'Urso entered the witness protection program and testified in cases against many connected with Genovese Crime Family. The D.A.'s case against Polito and Fortunato had three key witnesses, victim D'Urso and two other men who allegedly took part in the hit.
"These guys were so confident they wouldn't even offer a serious plea deal," Polito defense attorney Gerald McMahon said about the prosecutors.
- 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.