|Sir Trevor hosts two-part series on the mob.|
Sir Trevor McDonald seeks to show viewers the "reality" and not the "mythology" of the Mob on the program.
Episode Two: After spending three months travelling across New York, Miami, Philadelphia and Southern California, Trevor hears detailed accounts of life in the Mafia as he meets major figures at home, at work and in bars, as well as on the streets where they operated for the documentary The Mafia with Trevor McDonald.
In the second episode, Trevor learns more about the lives the former mobsters have made for themselves since trying to leave the Mafia behind.
He continues his journey across America to meet prolific mob member John Alite at his home. John has recently been released from a ten year prison sentence after making a deal with the FBI and now lives just outside New York in his son’s apartment. John admits that on occasion his son accompanied him on hits, when he was as young as seven years old.
John said: "I’m an alcoholic, with violence, not with alcohol. I was (addicted to violence). Now I handle it. I changed myself and I've proven over the years I've changed myself. And every day is a struggle I’ll lie to you if I say it, if you said something wrong to me on the street and I didn't know you, my first thought in my mind is, hurt that guy."
Instead of living under witness protection, Alite chooses to live out in the open, working in the construction business, accepting that one day someone could make him pay for his betrayal.
He said: "I have more than dozens of victims, over a hundred people. Killing, shooting, batting, stabbing, more than a hundred guys…When you go out and hurt as many people as I did, you are going to get hurt too."
In the 1980s and 1990s Alite worked for John Gotti Senior, who was the Godfather of the Gambino crime family, the most powerful and feared mobsters in America.
Trevor then meets Michael Di Leonardo, also known as Mikey Scars, a former high-ranking member of the Gambino crime family. Mikey has single-handedly inflicted more damage on the Mafia than anyone else in recent times, testifying against the men he worked with, to save himself from a life behind bars.
His evidence consigned 80 of them to prison and he knows only too well the mob, known to its members as Cosa Nostra, will never forgive him.
As a result, Mikey lives in permanent fear of attack and until recently was in the US Government’s witness protection programme. However, after months of persuasion, he meets Trevor at a hotel in Miami to speak publicly for the first time.
Trevor also meets one of the most successful mobsters in history, Michael Franzese, who posed as a major Hollywood film producer so he could launder large amounts of stolen money.
His brilliance for inventing sophisticated scams made the Mafia over a billion dollars, until he was indicted on 65 counts of tax evasion, racketeering and grand theft. He struck a deal with the FBI and served seven years in prison.
Today Michael is trying to build a new life with his family in California. He has denounced the Mafia, but his father – one of the most notorious Mafia figures of all time, who is, today, the oldest federal prisoner in the entire US, at the age of 93 – is still a major figure in the Columbo crime family in New York.
Trevor is keen to understand whether it is ever possible to be a member of the mob and have a happy, family life, and meets Michael’s wife, Cammy, to hear things from her perspective.
Cammy explains how she didn’t know he was in the Mafia until after they were married, and that in the past she had fears Michael may be killed
And rounding off his journey into the world of the Mafia, Trevor also learns more about how the Mafia survives today, by travelling to Miami to meet a low level street enforcer for the Bonnano crime family in Miami, whose identity is concealed.
He has been in and out of prison all his life and explains his view that the Mafia has changed, with members now more likely than in the past to break their code of silence and testify against each other..