Joseph "Giuseppe" Gambina joined Team America more than a decade ago because he was marked for death himself for turning down the chance to earn his button by carrying out the 2004 hit on Randolph Pizzolo.
Gambina, 46, later testified against Basciano, who was convicted of Pizzolo's slaying and sentenced to life in prison.
“I am impressed by the courage Mr. Gambina showed when presented with the option of participating in a murder and becoming a member of an organized crime family, and not participating and possibly being a victim of an organized crime family,” said Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis.
“Mr. Gambina, you are one of the heroes of this sad, sordid saga,” the judge added.
Gambina may be best remembered for a photo of him and former Sen. Al D'Amato taken in the mobbed-up Giannini's café in Queens in 1991 that was proudly displayed on the wall of a Gambino capo Bartolomeo Vernace's social club.
Gambina pleaded guilty to participating in a hammer attack on a man and faced up to 63 months in prison.
Gambina’s cousin, Anthony "Ace" Aiello eagerly accepted the Pizzolo contract and is serving a 30-year sentence for the murder.
Defense lawyer Steve Brounstein said his client suffers from depression and “survivor's guilt from this horrible life he used to live.”