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

Monday, October 26, 2015

Defense starts cross examination of Bonanno rat

The cross-examination of Lufthansa stool pigeon Gaspare Valenti literally went to the dogs Monday.
Valenti, who's testifying at the trial of his cousin, Vincent Asaro, testified last week that the crew in the infamous 1978 heist brought the loot back to his Brooklyn basement, as his family slept – and on Monday, a defense attorney asked him how that didn't disturb his dog, Beauty.
"So that's one, two, seven, 13 people living in the house? ... So you also had a dog named Beauty?" Asaro's defense lawyer, Elizabeth E. Macedonio, asked the 68-year-old Valenti. "And Beauty was a barker, wasn't she?"
Asaro wasn't rattled by the line of questioning, though.
"My sister lives upstairs. It's a tremendous house," he said, noting that he came in through the front door, then unlocked a side entrance to the basement. "Beauty always stayed on the porch. Beauty wasn't barking. She was a sickly dog that we took care of."
Macedonio asked, "And nobody in the house woke up?"
"No," Valenti replied.
"Not one person?"
Macedonio seemed to struggle to make her blows connect when questioning Valenti about the heist, and about the other details of his life in crime, which he described in direct testimony over four days last week.
She asked Valenti how his family didn't realize he was hiding the heist money in the doorjambs of the house, whether he knew that the man he hit in the head with a gun during the heist was, in fact, a guard, and whether the nightclub "Afters" was named for "after Lufthansa" or "after hours."
She also had Valenti recount his testimony about how he stole and gambled cash from his mob cohorts, how he fled to Las Vegas and left his family behind, and how he was "enticed" into committing crimes by an undercover FBI agent while in Vegas.
Asaro, a reputed Bonanno capo, is accused of racketeering, murder, and planning and taking part in the Dec. 11, 1978 armed robbery of the Lufthansa Airlines building at John F. Kennedy Airport – a score that was immortalized in the Martin Scorsese film, "Goodfellas."
Valenti, the government's star witness,described the heist in cinematic detail Tuesday, testifying that the robbers made an impromptu decision to bring the score – more than $6 million cash and sacks of jewelry – to his house.
Valenti, who turned government informant in 2008, wore a wire for years, recording conversations of himself and Asaro as the two committed extortion schemes and reminisced about gambling away the Lufthansa proceeds, prosecutors allege.
Asaro is also accused of the 1969 murder of Paul Katz. Valenti testified he helped bury the body, then dig it up again years later when James "Jimmy the Gent" Burke -- a Bonanno associate portrayed by Robert De Niro as "Jimmy Conway" in "Goodfellas " – became nervous it might be discovered.


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