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

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Lawyer for imprisoned former Bonanno boss Vinny Gorgeous alleges improprieties by two federal judges

A lawyer for the Bonanno crime family’s imprisoned ex-boss is throwing the book at a pair of federal judges.
Mobster Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano’s murder and racketeering convictions deserve another look because of a conflict of interest between the jurists and a Connecticut law professor-turned-author, the boss’ lawyer claims.
“The fact that Mr. Basciano is an alleged ‘Mafioso’ doesn’t mean that the courts get to play fast and loose with the law and its duty to remain impartial,” charged defense attorney Anthony DiPietro.
The lawyer asserted in court papers that U.S. District Court of Appeals Judge Reena Raggi and Brooklyn Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis provided special treatment to writer Leonard Orland.
The author, while covering Basciano’s death penalty case for his 2015 book “Capital Punishment Trials of Mafia Murderers, engaged in “off-the-record contact” with both judges.
DePietro argues the judges should have avoided a book “detrimental to (Basciano) and his case generally, as explicitly evidenced by its title labeling him a ‘Mafia Murderer.’”
Orland instead dedicated his 304-page effort to the helpful judges. Photos of Raggi and Garaufis appeared above the Biblical passage “Justice, justice shall you pursue.”
Raggi was part of a three-judge panel that ruled against the gangster this past Nov. 28. And Garaufis presided over Basciano’s 2011 death penalty trial while assisting Orland.
Basciano, 58, is serving a life sentence after his convictions for racketeering and a pair of mob killings. The former owner of the Hello Gorgeous hair salon remains locked up at the high security Big Sandy prison in Inez, Ky.
The lawyer asserted in court papers that Brooklyn Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis provided special treatment to writer Leonard Orland.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals turned down DiPietro’s appeal last month in a terse decision: “It is hereby ordered, that the motion is denied.”
But the lawyer said he intended to push for a Supreme Court review of the ruling and seek other avenues to press the conflict issue.
“The judges’ working alliance with (Orland) ... and their support of a publication that is inherently antagonistic to petitioner and his quest to overturn his conviction ... presents an appearance of impropriety,” wrote DiPietro in his appeal.
“Mr. Orland explains that he engaged in with both judges ... and that they provided information and assistance,” the attorney continued.
The book dealt specifically with the Basciano trial and the earlier death penalty case involving Bonanno family hitman Thomas “Tommy Karate” Pitera.
The U.S. Attorney’s office in Brooklyn had no comment on the legal efforts to overturn the convictions.
In 2012, the court of appeals rejected Basciano’s appeal for the shotgun murder of Frank Santoro on a Bronx street. He was also convicted for orchestrating the 2004 murder of mob associate Randolph Pizzolo.
The mob boss had previously alleged that Garaufis was biased against him because the gangster was charged with plotting to kill the judge.



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