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

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Gorgeous guilty and could be executed

Flamboyant Bonanno crime boss Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano could become the first head of a La Cosa Nostra crime family to get the death penalty, after being convicted yesterday of ordering a hit on a fellow hood.
The verdict in Brooklyn federal court capped a monthlong trial that exposed the violent -- but often zany -- underbelly of life in the 21st century New York mob.
And the trial made Mafia history when longtime Bonanno kingpin Joseph "Big Joe" Massino -- once dubbed The Last Don -- became the first boss to turn rat and spill his guts about family business.
Mobster Vincent 'Vinny Gorgeous' Basciano in his dapper days before his arrest. -
Mobster Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano in his dapper days before his arrest.

But it was the wacky day-to-day sideshows that gave the proceedings a circus-like atmosphere sure to become the stuff of wiseguy legend:
* Vinny gave the classic mob smooch the kiss of death, forbidding his crew from kissing each other on the cheek in case the feds were watching, a turncoat testified.
* Judge Nicholas Garaufis lent Vinny his own Brooks Brothers tie after prison brass refused delivery of the defendant's designer neckwear.
* A gangland-killer-turned-rat told the court how Vinny once tested his loyalty by having his gal pal try to seduce him. He passed the test.
* Vinny complained about the prison diet of cheap baloney sandwiches, so Garaufis came to the rescue again and Basciano noshed on a tasty chicken hero from the court cafeteria.
Basciano -- who refused to wear a headset for fear of messing up his perfectly-coifed 'do -- was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, murder in aid of racketeering, and an illegal gun charge. The jury will reconvene next week to decide whether he gets life in prison or execution by lethal injection. He's already serving a life sentence in prison for an earlier hit.
Some of the most dramatic testimony came when Massino literally pointed the finger at Basciano as the man who ordered the rubout of Bonanno associate Randy Pizzolo.
"That man in the gray suit sitting there," Massino said, staring down Basciano. "He told me he had him killed."
Massino also related how Basciano, 51, climbed the Bonanno ladder after the "Donnie Brasco" sting in the 1980s, when undercover FBI Agent Joseph Pistone worked his way up the organization's ranks and then brought much of it down.
The jury, convinced by incriminating wiretaps of Basciano and a parade of low-level mob turncoats on the witness stand, reached a verdict after three days of deliberations.
Basciano, who'd mugged for the courtroom during the trial, turned away, silent, his face red and his jaw set. His ex-wife and sons, present for much of the proceedings, were absent.
Pizzolo was gunned down in 2004 in an industrial section of Brooklyn, with bullets riddling his back and head.


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