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

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Bent Finger Lou continues his testimony in court

Bent Finger Lou was looking at a picture from happier times.

There he was, posing for a snapshot between two smiling women. One was George Borgesi's mother, Manny; the other was Borgesi's wife, Allyson.

"We were all friends," Louis "Bent Finger Lou" Monacello admitted from the witness stand. That was before Monacello became a cooperating witness for the government in the case against Borgesi, the alleged mob underboss, and his uncle, Joe Ligambi, the alleged boss of the Philly mob.

Monacello had the most difficult time talking about Borgesi's mother. "I always thought Manny was the only sincere one through the whole process," he testified.

But a few minutes later, Monacello was ripping George's younger brother, Anthony, as someone who was so jealous of Bent Finger Lou's favored position in the crime family that he was "constantly looking to stab me in the back."

While Monacello was teeing off on Anthony Borgesi, "Ant" was sitting right there in the courtroom soaking it up. Manny Borgesi draped a protective arm around her youngest son's muscular shoulders as Bent Finger Lou piled on the abuse.

Christopher Warren, George Borgesi's lawyer, used cross-examination to delve into such pressing legal issues as how Monacello used to date one of Anthony Borgesi's old girlfriends, and how Bent Finger Lou's ex-wife cut Anthony Borgesi's hair. Isn't this whole mob feud really just some bullshit over women, Warren asked.

Women had nothing to do with it, Monacello said. It might be bullshit, but "this bullshit could cause a serious problem," said Bent Finger Lou. He was staring at Anthony Borgesi when he said it.

It was that kind of a day at the mob trial, as the cross-examination of Bent Finger Lou descended into soap opera, petty gangland feuds, and plenty of name-calling. Why was Uncle Joe pissed at the Geator with the Heater? Did George Borgesi really bite Fat Angelo Lutz on the forehead? And why did Bent Finger Lou label one government witness "a nut case" and another government witness "a mental misfit?"

"This is hysterical," Manny Borgesi was overhead saying. Better than court TV or any reality show, spectators agreed.

The day in court began with George Borgesi and Uncle Joe wishing Anthony Borgesi a happy birthday.

Ed Jacobs, Ligambi's lawyer, asked Bent Finger Lou on cross-examination why he called government witness Anthony Aponick a "nut case."

Aponick was a New York mobster-turned-informant who was Borgesi's cellmate in a federal prison in West Virginia back in 2002 and 2003. According to Monacello, Borgesi and Aponick used to work off their frustrations by engaging in jailhouse wrestling matches.

Bent Finger Lou decided Aponick was a nut case because minutes after they first met, Aponick was hitting Bent Finger Lou up for a $10,000 loan.

"He was a New Yorker," Bent Finger Lou told the jury. Aggressive, and a typical "New York gangster." The introduction between the two men was barely underway when Bent Finger Lou's cell phone rang.

It was George Borgesi on the line, calling from prison. Of course, the feds were wiretapping Borgesi. The feds caught Borgesi trashing Aponick as a wrestler. "You can pin him in 10 seconds," Borgesi told Monacello. "Tell him I can pin him in 5 seconds."

Aponick was an associate of the Bonnano crime family. "I was very leery of him," Monacello said, but he added charitably, "I wouldn't say he was an idiot." The two men went to Lou's Crab Bar, played the jukebox, and downed some shots. They talked about working together. But after the initial meeting, "I never heard from him again," Monacello testified.

Monacello was asked by Jacobs about the early stages of his relationship with George Borgesi.

"At the time I liked him," Monacello conceded. It was George Borgesi who introduced Bent Finger Lou to Frank "Frankie the Fixer" DiGiacomo, a South Philly plumber and wannabe gangster.

Frankie the Fixer "borrowed money from me constantly," Monacello complained. Bent Finger Lou labeled Frankie the Fixer as a "mental misfit" "who loves the life of being a wiseguy." But DiGiacomo was also a chronic deadbeat, Monacello said, a guy he had to repeatedly threaten to collect his money.

Monacello testified how he ran George Borgesi's bookmaking and loansharking business while Borgesi was in jail. And how he paid George Borgesi $300 a month, plus $16,000 every Christmas for seven straight years. He also regularly left money in the glove compartment of Borgesi's wife. She would leave the doors unlocked. Monacello said he would make a deposit and then lock her doors for her.

Jacobs was skeptical of Bent Finger Lou's story. He pointed out that Monacello was under FBI surveillance from 2003 to 2008, but was never spotted making money drops to benefit Borgesi's wife.

"I made sure I wasn't followed," Bent Finger Lou testified.

Yeah right, Jacobs said.

On cross-examination, Monacello was shown photos from the 1999 wedding of Anthony Borgesi. A few weeks before the bachelor party, Monacello testified, George Borgesi got so angry at another gang member, "Fat Angelo Lutz," that he bit Lutz on the forehead and spit out on the sidewalk a piece of flesh the "size of a quarter."

What was Fat Angelo's offense? Monacello said that the 5-foot-4, 400-pound Fat Angelo was responsible for setting up the bachelor party for Anthony Borgesi, and George Borgesi apparently thought Lutz did a terrible job.

Jacobs showed Monacello a picture from Anthony Borgesi's wedding. There was George Borgesi and Fat Angelo beaming like a couple of old pals.

"Do you see any kind of wound on Angelo?" Jacobs asked.

There's a "mark on his forehead," Monacello testified. He said he didn't know how many weeks before the wedding did they stage that bachelor party. Monacello added that "Angelo was often, as I described, beaten by George Borgesi." Monacello described Lutz as George Borgesi's "lackey" and "slave."

Jacobs questioned Monacello about a 2009 incident caught on camera by Fox 29 News, where Uncle Joe Ligambi was seen screaming at Bent Finger Lou. The incident took place outside Ligambi's South Philly house.

Uncle Joe was "venting" about DJ Jerry Blavat, Monacello said, for talking him into a disastrous interview with Philadelphia magazine.

Winding up his cross-examination, Jacobs took Bent Finger Lou through the conditions of his cooperation agreement with the feds. Jacobs emphasized that under the contract, the government had the "sole discretion" to decide whether Monacello had told the truth, and determine how valuable Monacello's cooperation had been.

"So their hooks are in you forever," Jacobs said. If Bent Finger Lou came up short, the government had the right to take another look at his case, right?

"They could re-charge me all over again," Monacello admitted.

When Christopher Warren, George Borgesi's lawyer, cross-examined Monacello, Bent Finger Lou argued over Warren's questions, and frequently made speeches to the jury.

"Are you finished?" Warren asked.

"Yeah," Monacello replied.

At one point, Monacello turned to Judge Eduardo Robreno. "Your Honor," he said, " I have no idea what this guy's talking about."

When Monacello and Warren argued over the status of a mob associate, Monacello settled the dispute by saying, "I'm in the mob, not you. I know who the associates are."

When Warren tried to question Monacello about a conversation between Monacello and George Borgesi that was recorded by the government, Bent Finger Lou insisted that the entire tape be played in court.

The 2003 tape, the product of a government wiretap, caught George Borgesi lecturing Bent Finger Lou about keeping his mouth shut when it came to their joint bookmaking and loansharking operation.

"Don't tell people your business," Borgesi told Monacello. "Don't tell people my business."

Monacello explained to the jury that on the tape, Borgesi was asking Bent Finger Lou to drive down to West Virginia to visit him in prison on a Sunday, if he was "bored."

George Borgesi had just gotten a visit from his brother, Anthony, who lodged many complaints about Bent Finger Lou.

Anthony Borgesi was jealous because George Borgesi was letting him run the loansharking operation. Anthony Borgesi would do anything to cause trouble between Monacello and George Borgesi, Monacello testified.

Monacello had previously testified that George Borgesi had allegedly told him that Anthony Borgesi was not smart, and did not know how to make money. "The only thing he's capable of," Monacello claimed George Borgesi told him, was "screwing young girls and lifting weights."

When Monacello and Warren argued over the meaning of the taped conversation between him and Borgesi, Bent Finger Lou said, "Let's play the tape again."

This time, the judge cut him off.

"We're not going to play the tape again," the judge said.



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