Vinny Gorgeous has been to hell and back.
Vincent Basciano, the former boss of the Bonanno crime family, has bade farewell to the nation’s most secure prison in Colorado and been relocated to a federal penitentiary in eastern Kentucky.
Basciano spent an extraordinary 11 years in solitary confinement — under conditions usually reserved for terrorists — while awaiting trial in New York City on racketeering and murder charges, then later at the supermax prison in Florence, Colo., which has been described by a former warden as a “cleaner version of hell.”
But with the passing of the years, the feds apparently no longer view Basciano, 56, as a threat to the outside world. Last summer he was shipped to a federal penitentiary called Big Sandy that is a little closer to his old stomping grounds in the Bronx.
Basciano’s dangerousness was attributed to a handwritten slip of paper that he passed to another inmate in 2006 which contained the names of a federal judge, federal prosecutor and cooperating witnesses.
Prosecutors feared it was a hit list, while Basciano maintained he simply wanted the inmate to put a Santeria hex on his adversaries before his trial.
His new lawyer, Mathew Mari, said the hit list theory was bogus, and was used by the feds to isolate Basciano in order to break his spirit so he would cooperate against what remained of the beleaguered crime family.
“The reason Vinny survived so many years in solitary is because he is a man,” Mari told The Daily News.
“That might sound trite, but Vinny has a personal code of conduct. It’s not about ‘omerta,’ and it’s not about loyalty, it’s just about being a man. Vinny is not a rat.”
Mari provided a photo of Basciano taken earlier this year at the Colorado prison, which shows the mobster has added muscle and still lives up to his “gorgeous” nickname.
The supermax facility outside Florence, in southern Colorado, is the nation's most secure prison.
When he wasn’t working on his legal appeals, Basciano was doing countless pushups and sit-ups, according to Mari.
Mari said he was not aware of any other reputed member of the Mafia doing time at Big Sandy.
“Vinny said he met an Italian guy who was from Brooklyn who wasn’t anybody,” Mari said.
He didn’t socialize with the infamous terrorists there, like Ramzi Yousef, Eric Rudolph or the Unabomber, during recreation hour, although they were separated in cages.
“He got to see all of them and he said they were a bunch of pathetic psychotics,” Mari said.
Mari said that in all of his communications with Basciano, he never exhibited any sign of despair.
Big Sandy, which is named after a river in Kentucky, offers education courses in industrial sewing and electrical wiring, but Basciano is going to concentrate on appealing his two murder convictions.
Basciano did not respond to a letter seeking comment.