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

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Feds say no way to Lucchese soldier's request to accept plea deal he snubbed


Prosecutors and defense lawyers rarely agree.

Except this one time in the case of reputed mobster Eugene "Boobsie" Castelle.

Brooklyn federal prosecutors have petitioned a judge to deny the imprisoned Lucchese family soldier’s request to accept a plea deal he refused two years ago.

Echoing the court filings of Castelle’s lawyer, Gerald J. McMahon, prosecutors contend Castelle went to trial of his own accord and not due to bad advice from the attorney.

In 2019, the Staten Island resident was convicted in Manhattan federal court of racketeering conspiracy and running an illegal gambling business.

The 61-year-old defendant is serving a 77-month sentence. His anticipated release date is in September 2025. Public records indicate he lives in Annadale.

In a prior pro-se filing with the court, Castelle said he would have accepted prosecutors’ offer of eight to 14 months behind bars had McMahon accurately advised him of what his likely sentence would be if convicted.

Castelle alleges McMahon underestimated those numbers.

Prosecutors say no cigar.

“The record conclusively demonstrates that Castelle would not have accepted the plea offer even if trial counsel’s sentencing-guidelines predictions had been different, and the court should discount Castelle’s conclusory and self-serving assertion to the contrary as belied by the record,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacob R. Fiddelman.

In May, Castelle asked the judge to give him a second chance and let him take the plea deal he previously snubbed.

Castelle said McMahon told him before trial he faced 33 to 41 months behind bars if found guilty of the gambling and racketeering counts and acquitted of attempted extortion.

As it turned out, Castelle was convicted of gambling and racketeering and beat the extortion charge.

However, Manhattan federal court Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein determined the sentencing guidelines to be higher than McMahon’s estimates. Hellerstein calculated them at 51-63 months in prison.

Yet at Castelle’s sentencing, Hellerstein went even higher.

He hit the defendant with 77 months, which is 14 months above his own interpretation of the guidelines’ maximum.

Judges are not bound by the guidelines in imposing sentence.

Castelle contends McMahon failed to do his homework in estimating the guidelines range.

“Pointedly, had counsel accurately advised movant, he would have accepted the government’s 8-to-14-month plea offer,” wrote Castelle.


In a reply to the court last month, McMahon shot back that “Castelle’s assertions are factually incorrect.”

“Whether the post-trial guidelines were 33-41 months, 51-63 months, or some different numbers entirely, the fact is that Castelle wanted a trial, regardless,” McMahon wrote. “Having just triumphed (with the undersigned as counsel) in a racketeering case in Brooklyn Supreme Court, which included among other charges the gambling case with co-defendant Anthony Greco, Castelle wanted a dismissal or trial in SDNY (Southern District of New York – Manhattan federal court).”

In support, McMahon pointed to his remarks to the court as contained in an excerpt from Castelle’s sentencing transcript.

“My client wanted the trial. Notwithstanding what his attorney recommended, my client wanted a trial, and he got a trial,” the transcript quoted McMahon as saying.

In fact, the lawyer said he had “strongly recommended” that Castelle accept prosecutors’ 8-to-14-months plea offer.

McMahon said he emphasized to Castelle he could only estimate the guideline range.

Moreover, he said he told the defendant prosecutors would likely seek a higher sentence, and the court could put him behind bars for up to 20 years.


Prosecutors said McMahon’s account is accurate.

“The record makes clear that counsel was merely making a prediction or estimate and had appropriately caveated the estimate,” wrote Fiddelman. “Counsel affirmatively advised Castelle that the government would likely argue for a higher range or an above-guidelines sentence. Counsel also affirmatively advised Castelle that regardless of his guidelines estimate, the court could sentence Castelle to anything within the statutory range.”

Castelle’s comments at his sentencing show he would not have accepted the plea offer “under any circumstances,” Fiddelman said.

Castelle maintained his innocence then, saying that’s the reason he decided to go to trial, wrote Fiddelman.

“Because the record conclusively demonstrates that there is no reasonable probability that Castelle would have accepted the plea offer had trial counsel’s guidelines estimations been slightly different, his self-serving assertions to the contrary should be discounted,” Fiddelman said.

Castelle has until late August to respond to prosecutors’ opposition motion.

No date has been set for a ruling.


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