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

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Genovese gangster pleads not guilty

Emilio Fusco, a Longmeadow, Mass., man and convicted loan shark accused in the 2003 murder of mob boss Adolfo "Big Al" Bruno, was arraigned in federal court in Manhattan Monday after more than a year in his native Italy.
Dressed in prison garb and pink slippers, Fusco, 42, denied charges of conspiracy, extortion and racketeering, including allegations he lobbied for a contract hit on Bruno and was among four men who killed and buried organized crime associate Gary D. Westerman, also in 2003.
Both killings took place in Western Massachusetts, where Bruno was the head of the region's rackets at the time he was slain.
Fusco's arraignment came slightly more than a month after three co-defendants, Fotios and Ty Geas, brothers and mob enforcers from West Springfield, and Arthur "Artie" Nigro, a former Genovese crime family boss from New York, were convicted at trial in the U.S. District Court here.
Federal investigators have said Fusco bought a one-way plane ticket to Italy last April when FBI agents and Massachusetts State Police began digging for Westerman's remains in a wooded lot in Agawam, Mass.
However, Fusco's lawyer, William Aronwald, said outside the courtroom Monday that Fusco traveled to Italy frequently to help his ailing mother and returned there last year to attend his sister's 50th birthday party.
Fusco was arrested in late July by Italian authorities in southern Italy. With dual citizenship in Italy and the U.S., Fusco resisted extradition based on the fact that he could face the death penalty for capital murder allegations. Lethal injection is not on the table, however; he faces a maximum of life in prison if convicted in connection with the Bruno and Westerman killings.
"He went (to Italy) to attend to legitimate issues with blood relatives. It had nothing at all to do with the criminal charges," Aronwald said. The lawyer added that rumors swirling around his client's predicted cooperation as a government witness are false.
"He is not cooperating. There have been no discussions or negotiations with the government about cooperation. There's nothing to cooperate about," said Aronwald. "Mr. Fusco maintains that he is innocent of the charges."
Aronwald said he believes the alleged evidence against Fusco is weak and consists primarily of testimony from two admitted onetime ranking mobsters from Western Massachusetts, Anthony J. Arillotta, of Springfield, and Felix Tranghese, of East Longmeadow, plus Bruno's shooter, Frankie A. Roche, of Westfield.



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