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

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Lawyer loves destroying mob rats in courtrooms

When wiseguys have a rat problem, they don’t call an exterminator — they dial defense lawyer Gerald McMahon.
“No one does rats like I do,” McMahon boasted to The Post. “My specialty is cross-examining rats. I have good instincts.”
Last year was a banner year for the silver-maned 65-year-old — who has helped reputed Colombo associate Francis “B.F” Guerra beat double murder, extortion and assault charges in July, and won an acquittal on extortion charges for alleged Genovese capo Anthony Romanello in November.
“I’m pretty much dancing on the face of the Eastern District,” he said.
GERALD MCMAHON Victories for two “capos.”
GERALD MCMAHON Victories for two “capos.”
To bust a rat, McMahon — who charges $800 an hour — said he uses a combination of street smarts and textbook psychology.
In the Guerra trial, he took aim at five rats, including former Colombo capo Anthony “Big Anthony” Russo, whom he taunted for turning snitch in order to stay out of a jail to be with his gal pal Mitzi Medina.
The goal he said, was for the jury to see the “real” Russo — “big, fat, stupid and thuggish.”
Other species of rats received a different treatment.
McMahon fed former Colombo capo Reynold Maragni’s ego — by not being confrontational and instead letting him dig his own grave, getting him to admit that he was collecting loan-shark money after agreeing to cooperate with the FBI.
“With juries, you just have to give them a good reason to go where you want them to go, and they will find a way in the evidence,” McMahon said.
And many juries hate rats.
“Omerta?” he scoffed, referring to the mob’s code of silence. “That’s a myth. There are so many rats out there and very few stand-up people in life,” continued McMahon, a father of four who curses freely, wears monogrammed dress shirts, and hangs a framed picture of former client Axl Rose on the wall of his lower Manhattan office.
With the help of private investigator James Harkins — McMahon got Russo’s ex-wife Michelle Fama to tell the jury that she was playing the board game Clue with Guerra the night prosecutors say he gunned down Colombo underboss Joseph Scopo in 1993.
“You want to know something? He may have been playing Clue,” McMahon said, stone-faced.
Guerra was found not guilty on all charges save for peddling Oxycontin, for which he awaits sentencing later this month.
At the Romanello trial, McMahon took a straightforward approach to government witness and former Bonanno boss Joseph “Big Joey” Massino, pointing out the gangster’s immense wealth in comparison to his client, as well as his newer, lowly station in life.
“You became a rat!” he bellowed at Massino.
The son of federal prosecutor Daniel F. McMahon — one of the attorneys who went after Jimmy Hoffa in 1957 — McMahon was an infantryman in Vietnam, drove a cab and was an actor in the Wisconsin troupe Theatre X, before becoming a lawyer.
“Some nights when I was on stage, I could literally feel that if I raised an eyebrow, the audience would react,” he said, recalling his turn as Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman.”
“That’s what it’s like in the courtroom. They like a show.”



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