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

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bonnano turncoats take stand to help prosecution put Vinny Gorgeous to death


Two former Bonanno mobsters took the stand Tuesday to help prosecutors put the mafia family's former boss to death.
Jurors listened intently as the mobsters described planned beatings and murders they say were ordered by Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano during his 30-year reign as a New York gangster.
Dominick Cicale, a former Bonanno captain who was once Basciano's protege, and Generoso "Jimmy the General" Barbieri, a former acting Bonanno captain, both testified as part of their deals to cooperate with federal prosecutors.
The testimony came on the first day in the penalty phase of Basciano's capital murder trial in Brooklyn federal court, following his conviction last week for ordering a hit on a mob associate.
'Vincent Basciano has earned the most serious sentence American justice can impose - death,' prosecutors told the jury today.
"Vincent Basciano has earned the most serious sentence American justice can impose - death," prosecutors told the jury today.
The jury will decide whether Basciano should get life imprisonment or execution - he's already serving a life sentence for an earlier mob murder.
The two Bonanno mobsters-turned government rats detailed a number of violent plots - all allegedly involving Basciano - for which he has not been convicted.
Prosecutors, however, are allowed to use these "uncharged crimes" as examples of how "Vinny Gorgeous" dedicated his adult life to crime and achieved his Bonanno family leadership status through violence.
Cicale testified that Basciano had considered ordering the murders of Michael "The Nose" Mancuso, a then-Bonanno captain seen as a dangerous rival, and Salvatore "Good Looking Sal" Vitale, the family's former underboss, because he was suspected of being a government rat.
The family's then-boss, Joseph Massino - who at the time was behind bars - put the kibosh on those plots, Cicale told Assistant US Attorney Nicole Argentieri.
On another occasion, Basciano wanted a low-level mobster to be taught a lesson for hitting a made-man who was a member of his crew, Cicale said.
"Vinny Basciano told me to 'baseball bat' him and put him in the hospital," Cicale said of the intended victim.
That potentially violent assault was also called off by Massino.
Basciano also considered ordering the murder of Lynette Ayuso, who at the time was Cicale's girlfriend and mother of his child, Cicale told the jury.
That's because Basciano suspected Ayuso of informing his then-wife, Angela Basciano, about his romantic relationship with his longstanding girlfriend, Deborah Kalb.
"They'll shotgun her and make it look like a robbery," Cicale said, adding that the planned hit was called off later.
Earlier in the day, prosecutors told the jury that Basciano should be executed for ordering a mob murder while he was already serving a life sentence behind bars.
Allowing Basciano to live will permit the wiseguy to continue his "cold-blooded and remorseless life in the Mafia" while continuing to orchestrate crimes during his incarceration, Assistant US Attorney Jack Dennehy said.
"This defendant won't stop - he won't leave the Bonanno crime family behind in prison," the prosecutor said, telling the jury that the gangster poses "a future danger to society."
The wiseguy's defense attorneys countered that Basciano has already paid a high price for his crimes.
"Mr. Basciano will be imprisoned for the remainder of his life," Richard Jasper, the defense attorney, told the jury. "You don't have to kill him."
During his later testimony on the stand, Cicale also detailed a plot allegedly concocted by Basciano to murder a federal prosecutor, Greg Andres.
Basciano planned to wear a baseball cap and walk into an Italian restaurant in Manhattan frequented by the prosecutor and murder him while he dined, Cicale said.
Barbieri testified about how he had alerted the feds to the planned prosecutor hit, which was called off.
The trial resumes Wednesday with the expected testimony of Massino - the first official boss of a New York La Cosa Nostra crime family to become a government informant in the history of the American mob.


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