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

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Jailed Gambino consigliere linked to John Gotti sues government for release of 26 year old audio recordings

A co-defendant of the late mobster John Gotti sued the U.S. government for old recordings that he says prove he played no part in a 1990 murder plot.
     Frank LoCascio and Gotti were both convicted in 1992 of various charges, including conspiring in the murder two years earlier of a man named Louis DiBono, in the parking garage beneath the former World Trade Center in Manhattan.
     In a federal complaint filed Tuesday against the Justice Department and the FBI, LoCascio contends that the government's evidence included its secret recordings of Gotti's conversations with other members of the Gambino Crime Family. LoCascio, who is serving life at the Federal Medical Center in Devens, Mass., filed the suit in Washington, D.C.
     He notes that a recording device that the feds planted in the apartment above the Ravenite Social Club in Manhattan captured one conversation from Dec. 12, 1989, in which Gotti spoke about his plan to kill DiBono.
     LoCascio says he was at this meeting, but that his statements opposing DiBono's murder were marked "inaudible" in the transcripts.
     Prosecutors played this tape at trial, however, along with another recording from the Ravenite Social Club made on March 28, 1990, according to the complaint.
     LoCascio says he did not attend the March meeting, which predated DiBono's death by about seven months.
     "After learning that newer technologies could allow the 'inaudible' portions of the recordings to be more fully deciphered, plaintiff began seeking the tape recordings from the government in order to avail himself of the new technologies and prove his innocence of the DiBono murder."
     Gotti died of cancer in prison in 2002. It's been a year since LoCascio filed requested the government's 644 audio reels of recorded conversations from or near the Ravenite Social Club under the Freedom of Information Act.
     The FBI denied the FOIA request in November, citing an exemption pertaining to law-enforcement records, and the Justice Department rejected LoCascio's appeal in April.
     LoCascio says the fact that prosecutors played the recordings in open court defeats the exemption, plus the recordings themselves are already publicly available on YouTube and other outlets. Meanwhile, transcripts of the recordings are available in book and e-book format from retailers like Barnes and Noble, according to the complaint.
     "The idea that these 26 year old recordings somehow relate to any ongoing investigation is ludicrous, in light of the fact that everyone on that recording has been prosecuted and at this moment in time is either deceased or incarcerated," the complaint states. "There is no risk that law enforcement techniques would be revealed. As set forth by the government during plaintiff's trial, the recordings were made by installing a 'bug' in the apartment above the Ravenite Social Club. And the idea that this 26 year old technique is somehow a great secret is absurd."
     LoCascio accuses the government of acting in "bad faith."
     He wants a judge order for the release of the audio reels, "especially" the recordings made on Dec. 12, 1989, and one made on Nov. 30, 1989.
     LoCascio is represented by Ruth Liebesman in Paramus, N.J.



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