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

Monday, November 12, 2012

Colombo family member catches a break

He’s feeling better already.

A former Colombo crime family consigliere got a sweetheart sentence in a prison hospital yesterday after his lawyer told a judge that the reputed mobster was at death’s door.

When Richard Fusco was last seen in court, he appeared to be the picture of health. But when the 76-year-old defendant showed up for sentencing on extortion charges, he ambled behind a walker with wheels before his lawyer read off enough ailments to fill a medical journal.

“My client’s life hangs in the balance,” defense attorney Martin Adelman said.

Adelman sounded like the surgeon general describing Fusco’s circulatory ailments. When he was done, the judge asked him about his source. “I’m citing Wikipedia,” Adelman said.

Some watching the hearing in Brooklyn federal court were convinced that Fusco was exaggerating.

“I wasn’t sure if that was ‘the Chin’ there or Fusco, but he definitely used a page out of [the Chin’s] book,” said an observer, referring to late Genovese crime family boss Vincent “Chin” Gigante, who feigned insanity for years to evade prosecution.

Brooklyn federal prosecutors argued that Fusco’s bona fide medical problems could be treated over several years during a substantial stay in a prison hospital and stressed that he has lived with health concerns for years while serving as one of New York’s highest-ranking mobsters.

“He was getting dialysis when he was consigliere of the Colombo crime family,” Assistant US Attorney Liz Geddes told the judge.

On top of the four-month prison-hospital stay, the judge sentenced Fusco to a year of house arrest and two years of probation.

After the hearing, Fusco chatted in low tones with friends —even though moments earlier he had complained he couldn’t hear the judge when she used a microphone and loudspeaker.

He even raised a private objection on the subject of fine he might face.

“I’m not going to pay it,” he told his attorney.

Fusco’s sentencing and a half-dozen guilty pleas from fellow Colombo mobsters effectively end the FBI case against the crime family that began with dozens of raids in January 2011.

Colombo boss Andrew “Mush” Russo pleaded guilty to racketeering charges yesterday and faces 33 to 41 months in prison.

“The guilty pleas today bring this case to a conclusion,” said defense attorney Vincent Romano. “It was a big case —arguably the biggest in organized-crime history.”



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