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

Monday, April 26, 2010

Out To Prove Accused Mobster Dad Is Innocent

Anthony DiPietro found his life's calling in an unexpected place: a Manhattan courtroom where his father was sentenced to serve the rest of life in prison.
Watching as the accused mobster was led away in cuffs, DiPietro made a decision - he would become a lawyer and clear his father's name.
That was 2006. A few years later, DiPietro - a C student in high school more interested in soccer than books - finished at the top of his class at Berkeley College in Westchester County. In a few months, he'll find out if he has been accepted to law school, the next step on his road to family redemption.
DiPietro's dad - a 53-year-old former strip club owner nicknamed Fat Angelo - is serving 59 years for extortion and kidnapping. He was convicted of plotting to blow off a rival's gentials with an M-80 firecracker while consorting with a ruthless gang of Albanian mobsters.
His son thinks the case was based on lies.
"In my heart, I knew my dad was innocent, because I was there," DiPietro, 26, said. "When you know that your father is going to die in jail, you can't just sit there."
He's not the first child of a reputed mobster to be drawn to the law.
In 1995, Mafia scion John A. (Junior) Gotti, then the boss of the Gambino crime family, took paralegal courses at a local college. Although he never did any legal work, he gave his lawyers plenty of unsolicited advice at his four conspiracy trials.
Lawyer Sabrina Bellomo - daughter of Genovese crime family boss Liborio (Barney) Bellomo - got high marks from a Manhattan federal judge when she spoke at her father's sentencing in 2007.
"You certainly have someone to be proud of in the person sitting next to you," Judge Lewis Kaplan told the boss.
DiPietro isn't waiting for a law degree to get started on his father's defense. In September, he organized a fund-raiser that raked in $30,000 for a federal appeal.
He drove 17 hours to persuade Bill Clutter, director of investigations for the Innocence Project at the University of Illinois, to look at the feds' case against his dad. In court papers, Clutter says, he found a witness who casts doubt on the feds' claim that Angelo DiPietro threatened John Perazzo with a firearm or M-80 to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The son hopes the new witness and phone records will convince a federal judge that his father was wrongly convicted. Prosecutors had no comment. Anthony DiPietro says his father's only sin was gambling - a habit that he passed on to his son.
The younger man pleaded guilty to a gambling charge that grew out of his father's case and spent six months in jail - which could affect his ability to be admitted to the bar.
"My dad's mistake was gambling," DiPietro said. "Am I disappointed in my dad? Absolutely not. The story the government told is all lies, and that's what I'm going to prove."


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