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Monday, January 4, 2016

Colombo mobster might be sprung from prison for helping feds find explosives linked to Oklahoma City bomber


Gregory Scarpa Jr. has been fighting a legal battle for nearly two decades to overturn his racketeering conviction.

Over the objections of prosecutors, a Brooklyn judge is poised to reduce the 40-year sentence of a convicted mobster as a reward for his tip that led to the recovery of explosives hidden in the home of Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols, the Daily News has learned.

Colombo soldier Gregory Scarpa Jr., the son of a murderous capo nicknamed the “Grim Reaper,” has been fighting a legal battle for nearly two decades to overturn his racketeering conviction.

Those efforts failed, even after the mob scion served as an informant behind bars for the FBI to get information from Al Qaeda terrorist and 1993 World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Youssef.

But Federal Judge Edward Korman has suggested that Scarpa, 64 — scheduled to be released from custody in 2035 — may be entitled to credit for his undercover work involving Nichols.

Korman, last month, tipped his hand when he took the extraordinary step of asking the prosecutor assigned to the case to recommend how much Scarpa’s sentence could be reduced without waiving the government’s longstanding objection. Assistant U.S. Attorney Patricia Notopoulos declined to come up with a number.


Terry Nichols was found guilty of all 161 counts of first degree murder in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building April 19, 1995 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Rescue workers stand in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building following an explosion Wednesday, April 19, 1995, in downtown Oklahoma City.

“I frankly believe that Greg Scarpa has done nothing but attempt to, pardon the phrase, bastardize the system,” Notopoulos told the judge, according to a transcript.

Scarpa and Nichols were inmates at the Supermax prison in Florence, Colo., in 2005 when the ex-mobster told the FBI that there was a secret cache of explosives still available to Nichols’ associates.


Front page of Thursday, April 20, 1995 Daily News, with headline about the Oklahoma City bombing reading "They Blew Up The Babies."

Nichols is serving life in prison without parole for planning the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building with Timothy McVeigh that killed 168 people.

Agents were skeptical of Scarpa’s intel on Nichols because Scarpa did not tell them where the explosives were located. Instead, he showed them a note written by Nichols in code and claimed he would try to decipher the code if the government agreed to reduce his sentence.

Meanwhile, Scarpa failed a lie detector test administered by the FBI — so there was no deal.

But with the 10th anniversary of the bombing looming, Scarpa told a private investigator that the explosives were buried in the basement of Nichols’ home in Kansas, and the private eye passed it on to two congressmen who alerted the FBI.

Korman acknowledged that he had been unaware that Scarpa provided the FBI with only partial information. The judge said at a court hearing that he was under the impression that the FBI held a grudge against Scarpa for embarrassing the bureau, which had failed to find the explosives after Nicholas was arrested.


Terry Nichols conspired with Timothy McVeigh (above) in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

But Korman noted that informants only get a benefit when they provide truthful information — and Scarpa’s tip was on the money.

It remains to be seen whether Scarpa will get a few years shaved off the sentence or maybe walk out the door of a Kansas City, Mo., halfway house with time served — to the chagrin of the feds.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/judge-spring-mobster-early-okc-bomb-conspirator-tip-article-1.2484180

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