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

Friday, April 15, 2011

Colombo crime family members stage mob protest inside their jail cells

United States Marshals Service ToolsThey get no respect.
The Colombo crime family staged a protest today after its wiseguys were required to wear handcuffs during a hearing inside in Brooklyn federal court.
"They feel humiliated," Jonathan Marks, an attorney who represents one of the mobsters, told the judge.
To convey their displeasure, about seven Colombo wiseguys refused to enter the courtroom of Judge Kiyo Matsumoto as long as they as they had to don the cuffs.
"They were unhappy about wearing shackles," Marks told the judge, as a courtroom filled with family members and other wiseguys out on bail waited for the delayed hearing to begin.
Among those apparently involved in the protest was the Colombo street boss, Andrew "Andy Mush" Russo, who is in custody awaiting trial.
Benjamin "The Claw" Castellazzo, the acting Colombo underboss, was among the family members who were in custody and felt slighted by the handcuff requirement, a source told The Post.
So was Theodore "Teddy" Persico, Jr., a former member of the Colombo ruling council and the nephew of Colombo crime family boss, Carmine "The Snake" Persico, who is serving a life sentence.
Vincent Romano, a defense attorney representing Colombo associate Ilario Sessa, said the requirement seemed offensive.
"My client did not want to appear before the court in handcuffs - it's unnecessary," Romano said. "They objected to the treatment and they didn't like the message it conveyed to the court."
After listening to the complaints, the judge explained the rationale behind the requirement to the attorneys and the Colombos who were out on bail and sitting in the gallery.
"Given our [security] manpower issues, we thought it good to proceed this way," Matsumoto said from the bench.
There were an unusually large number of Colombos present at the hearing - nearly 40 wiseguys, with most out on bail - but only 17 US Marshals and their federal court security officers.
After the hearing was delayed for nearly a half-hour, eventually cooler heads prevailed and the in-custody Colombos finally walked out of the courthouse detention cells into the courtroom wearing the required handcuffs.
Marks later said that the wiseguys staged the protest to call attention to the respect issue, given that federal prisoners normally do not wear cuffs while in a courtroom.
"They did this with the hope that in the future that it won't be necessary to shackle them," Marks said of the protesting Colombos.
The court hearing was scheduled to review the status of the case against the Colombos, which began in January as part of the biggest single-day mob sweep in US history, with more than 100 wiseguys -- the great majority of them Colombos -- charged with a variety of crimes.
Andrew "Andy Mush" Russo is the chief target of federal prosecutors hoping to put the family's leadership behind bars for years.
Andrew Russo plans to fight the conspiracy, racketeering, and extortion conspiracy charges lodged against him, according to his attorney, George Galgano.
In their effort to convict Andrew Russo, Castellazzo, Persico, and others, Brooklyn federal prosecutors and FBI agents have assembled a sizable crew of former Colombos who have flipped to become government informants.
Among the former Colombo rats is Anthony "Big Anthony" Russo, a mob captain who is expected to testify against Andrew Russo. The Russos are not related.
There are other Colombo wiseguys-turned-informants who are also expected to take the witness stand against Andrew Russo at trial, including Dino "Big Dino" Calabro, a captain, and Sebastiano "Sebby" Saracino, a Colombo soldier-turned-informant.


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