A federal magistrate has ordered the release today of reputed New England Mafia underboss Carmen "Cheese Man" DiNunzio on cash bail of $20,000, according to a story by Shelley Murphy of the Boston Globe. DiNunzio is awaiting federal trial on bribery charges.
Judge Judith G. Dein ruled that evidence against DiNunzio (right) is strong but did not relate to violence or threats of violence. That was enough to defeat the prosecution's argument for holding DiNunzio. Federal prosecutors said DiNunzio is dangerous.
The prosecutors played a surveillance audio tape of DiNunzio saying he wanted to throw an underworld associate off a roof if the associate backed out of a loan deal. Dein said the comment was an expression of annoyance rather than an actual threat.
Defense attorney Anthony Cardinale said his client suffers from obesity, diabetes, coronary artery disease and sleep apnea and is not a danger to anyone.
Conditions for his release will include confinement to his East Boston home except for trips to the doctor, the court or his attorney. DiNunzio will have to wear a tracking bracelet and avoid contact with witnesses and codefendants in the case. He will not be permitted to work in his cheese shop on Endicott Street in Boston's North End. The FBI has documented visits of Mafiosi at the shop.
DiNunzio was arrested May 2 on charges related to a 2006 FBI sting operation. He was charged with offering bribes to win contracts for Boston's "Big Dig" highway construction project. A $10,000 down payment allegedly was given to an undercover FBI agent posing as an inspector for the Massachusetts Highway Department. Law enforcement agents say DiNunzio became second in command of the New England Mafia in 2004.
- 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.