An ex-Mafia informant who spent 18 years as a mob mole can sue his FBI handlers for scheming to throw him in jail — despite knowing he was innocent, a federal judge ruled.
Former Bonanno family associate Joseph Barone Jr., who once exposed a mob plot to whack a Brooklyn federal court judge, was thrilled by the Thursday decision in his long legal battle with the feds.
“Good? This is great,” Barone said from an undisclosed location where he moved after his 2010 acquittal in a murder-for-hire plot.
“This is wonderful, this is no joke. I’m nervous, I’m happy, I’m angry still. I’m so thankful to God, and we’ve just got to wait to take the next step.”
Manhattan Federal Court Judge Lewis A. Kaplan issued the 11-page ruling boosting the 54-year-old’s six-year-old malicious prosecution suit against the U.S. government and three FBI agents.
“It’s a great decision,” said Barone’s lawyer, Mark Weissman. “We can proceed full speed.”
The FBI declined comment on the decision, while there was no immediate response from the U.S. attorney’s office.
Barone claimed the federal agents turned against him because his value as an informer had dwindled, and he refused to wear a wire. The FBI later leaked his status as an informant, according to his suit.
“Plaintiff alleges the defendants ... deliberately and maliciously arrested and prosecuted him for serious felonies despite knowing his innocence,” Kaplan wrote in his decision.
“The court cannot now say that a jury could not reasonably find the United States liable ... if these allegations were proven at trial.”
Barone became an FBI informant after the 1992 mob execution of his father Joseph Sr., a made member of the Genovese crime family.
The mobster, known on the street as “JB,” became a valuable confidential informant until his arrest on Jan. 9, 2009, in a plot to kill a Westchester County businessman.
Barone was thrown into solitary confinement for 15 months of the 18 months he spent in federal prison, and charged in his suit that the FBI orchestrated his imprisonment as a punishment.
He finally won a July 2010 acquittal on all charges.
“We’re going to move quickly,” Barone told the Daily News. “I’m ready for trial.”