Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese, and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Secret recordings played during first day of Springfield mob trial


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More than a year after the arrests of five men charged with extortion and other crimes, one defendant has taken his case to trial, exposing rarely seen dealings of the reputed local arm of the Genovese crime family.
What is expected to be a week-long trial kicked off Tuesday in U.S. District Court with Richard Valentini, 52, of East Longmeadow, as the last man standing.
Co-defendants Ralph Santaniello, Giovanni "Johnny Cal" Calabrese, Francesco "Frank" Depergola and Gerald Daniele have cut plea deals in the case and await sentencing.
The first day of opening statements and testimony featured dueling arguments. Federal prosecutors have portrayed Valentini as a large, looming presence brought along to intimidate alleged victim Craig J. Morel, while defense attorney Jared Olanoff contends his client attended just one of many meetings and amounted to a benevolent foil.
Morel is the owner of towing and scrap metal business C.J.'s Towing Unlimited. He went to Massachusetts State Police troopers in 2013 after Santaniello and Calabrese ambushed him at his land in Hampden, demanded $50,000 plus ongoing monthly "tribute" to their new "crew" and threatened to kill him if he didn't comply.
Santaniello smacked Morel across the face to drive home the message.
Appearing at a meeting with troopers with a fat lip, Morel — a former city police officer who was fired for misconduct in 1990 — agreed to cooperate with an investigation and record 16 subsequent meetings in October and November of 2013.
Massachusetts State Police Sgt. Brendan O'Toole testified for the prosecution on Tuesday and is expected to continue on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, jurors saw and heard an Oct. 4, 2013 meeting among Morel, Calabrese and Valentini. Below are excerpts from the Oct. 4 recording made at Morel's remote plot of land, where he was planning to rebuild a home that had burned down eight months earlier (participants are identified by their initials):


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