Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano, reputed ex-boss of the Bonanno Crime Family, says two jailhouse poker buddies attributed a murder plot to him in order to gain the favor of prosecutors, according to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News.
Basciano was found to be in possession of what looked to be a list of people he would like killed. The list included the names of the federal judge presiding over his case and the prosecutor. Since the list was discovered, Basciano has been confined to his prison cell for 23 hours a day.
Basciano insisted that the list was compiled at the suggestion of a fellow inmate, who was acquainted with the Santeria religion. The list was supposed to magically aid the crime boss in his upcoming trial. However, a couple of inmates, with whom Basciano regularly played cards, told authorities that the people named on the list were to be targeted for assassination.
Defense attorney James Kousouros says the inmates were looking to help themselves by creating the story of a murder plot. Kousouros indicated that Basciano has reached out to fringe religious and mystical practitioners recently. "The government... is well aware that he has asked [his wife] to consult with fortune-tellers and mystics...," the attorney said.
Basciano, believed to have succeeded Joseph Massino as Bonanno crime boss in 2003, was convicted of racketeering conspiracy on May 9, 2006, after a 10-month trial. He was indicted on racketeering, gambling and murder conspiracy charges in November 2004. One member of his jury would not convict on the murder charge. He faces a retrial before Judge Nicholas Garaufis on that charge this year.
In 1994, Basciano was accused of heroin smuggling and later acquitted. His "Gorgeous" nickname is reportedly the result of his ownership of a beauty salon.
Other MobNews items relating to Basciano:
- Feds: Montagna is new top man for Bonannos 11-15-06
- 'Gorgeous' wants a new judge 11-02-06
- Not a hit-list, just a lucky charm 09-24-06
- Feds investigate Basciano plot against judge 09-20-06
- 'Gorgeous' complains to the management 08-29-06
- Feds: Gotti Jr. contemplated false testimony 06-15-06
- Vinny Gorgeous guilty of racketeering 05-10-06