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

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Anonymous Jury In Genovese Family Trial

Over objections from defense lawyers in an upcoming organized crime murder trial, a federal judge in New York will allow prosecutors to impanel an anonymous jury starting Tuesday.
Attorneys for alleged mob enforcers Fotios “Freddy” Geas, of West Springfield, and his younger brother, Ty Geas, of Westfield, argued seating an anonymous jury puts a too-sinister spin on their clients and presents other disadvantages for the defense during jury selection.
Names and addresses of jurors impaneled anonymously are withheld; prospective jurors fill out questionnaires identifying themselves only by numbers, according to court records.
While anonymous juries are rare in Massachusetts, they are routinely impaneled in murder, organized crime and terror trials in New York.
The Geases and co-defendant Arthur “Artie” Nigro, the reputed onetime head of the Genovese crime family - which mob investigators label the most feared of the five New York-based organized crime families - are accused in a sweeping racketeering indictment of the 2003 murder-for-hire of Springfield mob boss Adolfo “Big Al” Bruno, a series of unsuccessful murder plots, extortion and other crimes.
During a pretrial hearing, a lawyer for Fotios Geas told U.S. Judge P. Kevin Castel that the anonymous jury overstated his client’s importance in the Genovese crime family.
“(The brothers) have court-appointed counsel. They are alleged to be associates, not bosses, not capos. They don’t have the means or the inclination to tamper with the jury,” said attorney Frederick H. Cohn. “And it’s my understanding that Ty Geas was waiting to be arrested for months while (the government) was fooling around with this.”

The Bruno prosecution has meandered along since the onetime boss was gunned down in a dark parking lot after his regular Sunday night card game more than seven years ago. Admitted shooter Frankie A. Roche, formerly of Westfield and a fringe player in local organized crime circles, was first charged in state court in 2006, but struck a plea deal with federal prosecutors in 2007 and turned government witness.
Roche implicated Fotios Geas as a conduit for mob higher-ups and the man who paid him $10,000 to kill Bruno. Geas was first charged in state court, then in federal court in 2008 and was poised to stand trial in Springfield in March 2010. Federal prosecutors then transferred the case to a Manhattan court just before his trial.
Bruno’s reputed successor, Anthony J. Arillotta, was arrested and charged that month and turned government witness shortly after. Ty Geas and Felix Tranghese, of East Longmeadow, and Emilio Fusco, of Longmeadow, were not charged until July.
While Fusco absconded to Italy, Tranghese also cut a deal with prosecutors and the Geas brothers and Nigro are all who are left to stand trial later this month.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys in Manhattan told Castel the allegations against the men are onerous enough to strike fear among prospective jurors and prompt concerns about jury tampering. Among the allegations in the indictment are that the brothers’ plots against Bruno and low-level gangster Gary D. Westerman, also killed in 2003, were hatched when the men were suspected to be government informants. The Geases are to stand trial for Westerman’s murder also.
“These crimes are serious, and demonstrate the defendants’ willingness to tamper with the judicial process,” Castel wrote in his order.
Castel also barred jurors from eating lunch in the eighth floor public cafeteria in the courthouse.



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