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

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sonny Franzese Gets Slapped Around By Wife, Lawyer Says

Call it the hen-pecked husband defense.
Geriatric gangster John "Sonny" Franzese, 93, who is on trial in Brooklyn federal court on charges of shaking down two strip joints, is too feeble to intimidate anyone -- even his wife slaps him around, his lawyer said yesterday.
"They could call him the underboss," said defense lawyer Richard Lind in his opening statement. "He's really the underling. He is ignored. His own wife beats him up, she abuses him."
Brooklyn federal prosecutors claim the Colombo family underboss was part of a conspiracy to extort the Hustler Club, the Penthouse Club and a Long Island pizzeria from 2003 to 2006.
OLD-SCHOOL: John "Sonny" Franzese, 93, gets wheeled into Brooklyn federal court yesterday.
They claim that he threatened to get violent if they didn't pay up, but Lind says that was just the idle talk of an old man.
"My client said, 'I'm going to do this and I'm going to do that, I'm going to get him, I'm gonna do this . . . Woulda, shoulda, couldn't," said Lind.
"My client is going to get someone to the extent that he's going to do triple flips here," said Lind.
Franzese is something of a legend in the underworld. He hung out at the Copacabana nightclub in its heyday, where he hobnobbed with Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr.
But all of that is over, his lawyer said.
"They supposedly try to get into strip clubs, the people say, 'Get lost.'
And they didn't meet up at the pork store or social club, like in the "Sopranos," he said.
"They're at a yogurt shop. That's where they're meeting, at a yogurt shop."
"I'm sure you all know what a figurehead means," Lind told the jurors during his opening statement. "Not only do they refer to him as the old man, they intentionally keep him out of the loop.
"People used Sonny's name because Sonny's name meant something back in the age of Eisenhower and Lyndon Johnson, and maybe the age of George Washington," said Lind.
"But today, he has no power at all."
Old or not, federal prosecutor Christina Posa said in her opening statement, Franzese was able to direct his co-defendants in the case to carry out his threats.
"Sometimes the threats were subtle, sometimes they were explicit, all were criminal," said Posa.

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/brooklyn/she_the_boss_jVf0oyFEhOp4XW3nOc34TL#ixzz0qNN7CRJd


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