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

Friday, April 20, 2012

Emilio Fusco's lawyer tries to erode star prosecution witnesses'credibility in federal mob case

A defense lawyer for mob murder defendant Emilio Fusco began trying to erode the star prosecution witness’ credibility on Thursday in U.S. District Court, highlighting a history of broken promises, murderous intentions and a beholden status to the government.

Fusco, of Longmeadow, Mass., is facing a life sentence if convicted of racketeering and murder charges after what is expected to be a three-week trial in federal court in Manhattan, listened to nearly three days of testimony by Mafia turncoat
Anthony J. Arillotta, who testified he and Fusco once toasted a brotherhood with cognac after helping bludgeon a police informant to death in 2003. Fusco is accused in that slaying, the contract murder of Springfield, Mass., mob boss Adolfo “Big Al” Bruno the same year, plus drug-dealing and extortions he allegedly forged with Arillotta.

In exchange for his testimony in this trial and one previously, Arillotta may face very few years behind bars, Fusco’s lawyer was quick to point out to jurors during a cross-examination that began just before noon on Thursday and continued throughout the afternoon.

“So you could get five years or three years or time served?” defense attorney Richard B. Lind asked Arillotta, who conceded that it is a possibility at sentencing, which has yet to be scheduled.

Arillotta, of Springfield, turned government witness shortly after his own arrest in the Bruno case in 2010. He testified last year in a trial against two of his most trusted enforcers, Fotios “Freddy”
Geas and Ty Geas, both formerly of West Springfield, Mass., and the onetime acting boss of the New York-based Genovese crime family, Arthur “Artie” Nigro, of Bronx, N.Y. Those three were convicted of murder and other crimes and are serving life sentences in prison.

Lind began peppering Arillotta with questions about his plea agreement with federal prosecutors early on in questioning, emphasizing that the government became Arillotta’s only escape from a potential death penalty or life behind bars after his arrest in this case.

“(Otherwise) you could have had
Clarence Darrow arguing your case and it wouldn’t have made any difference, right?” Lind said.

“I don’t know who Clarence Darrow is,” Arillotta replied, after a pause.

However, if Arillotta is not an American legal scholar, he sounded on the witness stand like a Mafia scholar and has proven to be a supremely composed witness, in the previous trial and so far in this one. Under days of direction examination by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel S. Goldman, Arillotta schooled jurors on Mafia captains versus soldiers, “shylock” schemes, mark-up practices on drug deals and the many ways he and others plotted to take out Bruno amid a power play in 2003.

With the green-light from Nigro and other New York mob bosses, Arillotta testified that he, Fusco, the Geases and fellow Western Massachusetts gangster Felix Tranghese plotted several potential ways to kill Bruno before he was actually shot dead by a paid gunman on Nov. 23, 2003. Tranghese has pleaded guilty in connection with Bruno’s murder and is cooperating with the prosecution.

They contemplated luring him on a car ride to New York City, killing him at a dinner party, or with a “car squisher” one of Fusco’s friends owned, but rejected a suggestion by Tranghese that they shoot Bruno outside Arillotta’s baby daughter’s baptismal party in Southwick, Mass.

It was ultimately deemed that Bruno should be shot “cowboy style” in public in a dark parking lot in Springfield by paid gunman Frankie Roche, also scheduled to testify in this trial next week.

Lind spent most of the afternoon trying to trip Arillotta up on dates and details, although Arillotta remained fairly unflappable. Lind also highlighted for jurors that Arillotta left his now-ex-wife to apply for food stamps for their children once he was arrested in 2010, while funneling cash he had stashed in his basement to his mistress. Arillotta also conceded he almost immediately broke his oath to Mafia bosses by telling family members and close friends he had gotten “made” in August of 2003.

His cross-examination is scheduled to continue on Monday. Testimony will suspend Friday.



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