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

Monday, July 31, 2023

Ailing Lucchese mobster insists he is not the Boss of the crime family

A murderous mob boss asking for compassionate release from prison pushed back on federal prosecutors’ claims he still runs the Luchese crime family — saying that the allegations come from an unstable government cooperator who believes in ghosts.

Vittorio “Vic” Amuso, 88, argued in court filings last week that his killer history, which included ordering nine hits and three attempted murders between 1988 and 1991, shouldn’t factor into whether he’s allowed to die in dignity, surrounded by family.

“Simply put, justice is not built on getting even, and punishment need not be aimlessly held in perpetuity because it was once a legally justifiable result,” Amuso’s lawyer Anthony DiPietro wrote in a filing last week.

DiPietro took particular issue with prosecutors’ allegations in a filing earlier this month that Amuso, who has been behind bars for 32 years, would still be a threat to the community because he still runs the Luchese crime family.

Prosecutors based that allegation in large part on testimony by Mafia turncoat John Pennisi, who said that Amuso was still in charge and set up a leadership change in the crime family through a series of coded letters in 2017.

Pennisi never met or spoke with Amuso, DiPietro said, adding, “He apparently suffers mental delusions and had claimed that the spirit of his deceased loved ones had provided him a message, by shaking the structure of his home and the dishware therein for hours on end, to cooperate with the FBI.”

In an April 2021 interview with podcaster Gary Jenkins, Pennisi said he asked his dead grandparents for a sign as he fretted about becoming a government informant — and he got one.

“I didn’t live by a train station... There was no planes flying around. It was an earthquake,” he said. “Everything was shaking in the house, like ‘Ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding!’... This went on for hours.”

Amuso is seeking release under the First Step Act, saying that he’s a changed man facing down his mortality and deteriorating health, including chronic arthritis so painful he needs a wheelchair to move, clouded vision and the loss of all his teeth.

“The government’s opposition provides no convincing reason as to why an elderly and ailing prisoner, after serving an extremely long term of imprisonment, must medically suffer and ultimately perish in a prison cell when the court possesses the perfect power, provided by the First Step Act, to compel the end-of-life care of such a prisoner to his family,” DiPietro wrote.

Federal prosecutors argued this month that no “compelling and extraordinary circumstances” exist for Amuso’s release, but even if one did, his many crimes were too ruthless to consider it.

“The murderous means that Amuso employed to reach his criminal ends weigh heavily against any form of compassionate release and, in the government’s estimation,“ prosecutors wrote. “Amuso’s significant sentence was consistent with the seriousness of his crimes and reflects the heartlessness that Amuso routinely employed as the boss of the Luchese crime family.”

Brooklyn Federal Judge Frederic Block will decide on Amuso’s motion.



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