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Sunday, June 13, 2021

Imprisoned longtime Gambino mobster hopes letter from Sammy the Bull will clear him of murder and overturn his life sentence


An octogenarian mob bigwig is pinning his hopes on an affidavit from notorious Mafia turncoat and one-time Graniteville resident Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano in a longshot bid to be sprung from prison.

One-time Gambino crime family underboss and acting consigliere Frank "Frankie Loc" LoCascio is serving a life sentence in the 1990 murder of wiseguy Louis DiBono.

DiBono was killed on the order of Gambino chief John Gotti for not reporting to meetings with the “Dapper Don” as told.

LoCascio maintains he had nothing to do with DiBono’s slaying, and that Gravano’s affidavit backs him up.

Gotti and LoCascio, now in his late 80s, were convicted at trial in Brooklyn federal court in 1992. Gotti died behind bars nearly two decades ago.

But LoCascio, who has been locked up for almost 30 years, recently got a ray of hope.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has agreed to consider whether the octogenarian is entitled to an evidentiary hearing to determine if he was wrongfully convicted.

Despite Gravano’s affidavit, a Brooklyn federal court judge had denied LoCascio’s motion for a hearing late last year.

“We are pleased the Second Circuit recognized that there are substantial issues in Mr. LoCascio’s case,” said his lawyer William W. Fick of the Boston-based firm, Fick & Marx. “We look forward to proceeding with the appeal and eventually convening a hearing where Mr. Gravano can testify.”

No date has been set.

A spokesman for Brooklyn federal prosecutors declined comment.

Gravano, whose testimony helped bring Gotti down, signed the affidavit in November 2018.

In it, he says he was never asked at trial whether LoCascio agreed with the decision to kill DiBono. Nor was he asked if LoCascio approved of the hit.

“Frank had no role in the planning of, nor did he participate in any way in the murder or conspiracy to murder Louis DiBono,” wrote Gravano. “… LoCascio’s role as a member of the administration did not require him to agree with the ‘boss’ in every situation. Clearly, Gotti, as the boss of the family, had the sole authority to make the decision to kill DiBono.”

In support, Gravano pointed to a Dec. 12, 1989 wiretapped conversation between LoCascio and Gotti.

LoCascio tried to calm Gotti down after the chief said he had decided to kill DiBono for disobeying him, Gravano said.

In fact, LoCascio predicted the victim would bring the boss $50,000 to amend things, according to Gravano.

“This conversation shows that Frank tried to save DiBono’s life, and he did not agree with nor approve the decision to kill DiBono,” Gravano wrote.

Shortly after that discussion, Gotti told Gravano he “strongly resented” LoCascio’s suggestion that he take the cash and spare DiBono’s life, said Gravano.

Gotti was so peeved he promoted Gravano to official underboss and demoted LoCascio to acting consigliere, Gravano wrote.

“Viewed in light of all the evidence, this declaration proves LoCascio innocent of the DiBono murder,” LoCascio’s lawyers wrote in their Appeals Court motion. “Gravano’s testimony that LoCascio played no role in the murder, did not want DiBono to be killed, made his view clear to Gotti, and did so at the expense of his own role in the organization, was likely to convince the jury that LoCascio was not involved in, and not guilty of, the murder.”

In previously denying LoCascio’s motion last November, Brooklyn federal court Judge I. Leo Glasser questioned the validity of Gravano’s statements.

Gravano, he noted, was not present during the intercepted conversation between Gotti and LoCascio.

Yet Gravano interpreted the meaning of LoCascio’s words without having heard his tone of voice or seeing his face, said the judge. Nor had he discussed the conversation with LoCascio.

“It is, remarkably, the reading of his mind or divine enlightenment some 30 years later, that ‘shows’ him what his words meant,” wrote Glasser.

“Frank LoCascio was not trying to save the life of Louie DiBono. He predicted that DiBono would try to save his own,” the judge said. “Throughout the (trial) transcript, one becomes aware that going against, disobeying, or disagreeing with Gotti is fraught with danger, and Gravano and LoCascio knew it.”

LoCascio’s “utter silence” on Gotti’s “stark pronouncement” to murder DiBono “bespeaks a wordless assent,” opined Glasser.


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