Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Grumpy old mob rat George Barone is out at Mikey Cigars trial

A reputed mobster on trial for murder caught a break Tuesday when the 85-year-old mob rat testifying against him had one too many senior moments on the witness stand.

George Barone was such a handful as a witness that the prosecutor apparently decided it wasn't worth the risk asking him about the 1977 murder of gangster John "Johnny Coca Cola" Lardiere in New Jersey.

Last summer, out of the blue, Barone fingered Michael "Mikey Cigars" Coppola in the hit, sources told the Daily News.

Barone has been cooperating since 2001, but had never claimed to know who was responsible. His midsummer epiphany could have wrecked his credibility, sources said.

"Have mercy on an old man, can't I go home?" Barone whined after being surly to the prosecutor and Coppola's lawyer.

"We're all thinking the same thing," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Dennehy, provoking laughter.

On cross-examination, Barone couldn't remember how many murders he had committed. "I didn't keep a scorecard," he said, later conceding the total was about 20.

Barone implicated Coppola in a waterfront union scam that involved postponing the shutdown of a clinic where Coppola's brother worked.

Barone's harshest attack was directed at his handlers, insisting he was innocent of the crimes he had pleaded guilty to and complaining his $3,000-a-month government stipend "forced me into poverty."

"Yes, it's a paltry amount of money; I'd like to have more," he fumed. "They're a cheap bunch of people. ... If they didn't subsidize me, I'd starve to death and I wouldn't be a witness sitting here now!"

His testimony completed, the grumpy old man shuffled out, muttering: "Enough, enough."



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