The mob is still thriving, Manhattan prosecutors told jurors Tuesday at the trial of reputed Bonanno capo Nicholas “Nicky Mouth” Santora — who inspired the character played by the late Bruno Kirby in the 1997 film “Donnie Brasco” — and three members of his crew.
“This is not Hollywood,” said ADA David Stuart in his opening statement at the enterprise corruption trial in Manhattan Supreme Court.
“These crimes and these defendants are real and you’ll hear that far from being dormant the Bonanno organized crime family was alive and well, and the old guard was training the new members to take over their reins.”
Stuart laid out the case against the aging underboss, nicknamed “Captain Crunch,” who allegedly oversaw an online gambling operation, the sale of prescription drugs, including Cialis and Viagra, and a loansharking scheme from 2010 to 2012.
Stuart cautioned jurors not to be fooled by the appearance of the benign-looking 73-year-old who sat at the defense table in a wheelchair. He referenced the mobster’s own sarcastic words to an underling caught on wiretap, “Who do you think runs this? An old f—king man?” and “Your d—k rises and falls with me.”
The lawyer for reputed soldier and co-defendant Anthony “Skinny” Santoro told jurors, “The idea of the mob is sexy” because we’ve all grown up watching movies that “glorified the mafia or made it seem like a crime syndicate pervades our daily life.”
But co-defendants Santoro, Santora, Vito Badamo and Ernest Aiello are simply close friends who grew up together, Konta said.
“Mr. Santoro did not make anyone sleep with the fishes,” Konta continued. “He’s just a guy who ran a gambling operation and has nothing to do with the Bonanno crime family.”
Konta also attacked the credibility of the prosecution’s cooperating witness James Tartaglione: “You’ll hear one of the witnesses killed 7 people. That’s more than on a season of ‘Game of Thrones.’”
Defense lawyer Michael Alber told jurors that alleged mob boss Santora is “supposed to be operating a crew” yet authorities found no physical evidence linking him to the crimes.