Defense Paints Turncoat as Untrustworthy for Having Broken 'Omerta'

A witness who broke omerta has his reputation impugned in open court by defense attorneys. Vinny Gorgeous Basciano may have had a guy killed, but, heck, that guy joined the mob and knew what risks he was taking. And Junior Gotti just explained -- four times -- "Hey, lemme alone, I retired, don't you know." Well, that last one actually worked!

Somehow, we don't think Salvatore Lucania and his associates would have ever thought such intimate aspects of their "secret society" would ever be made so public when they put LCN together in the 1930s, picking up the pieces left over from the Masseria-Maranzano war and turning them into a well-oiled money machine that still runs today, though battered and not firing all its cylinders, the hard shell of loyalty that once provided protection steadily eroding away.

But if Junior Gotti can retire and beat a RICO case, maybe there are other creative, out-of-the-box ways to beat that massive club that G. Robert Blakey whittled at his desk to hammer the mob into oblivion, giving it an ethnic-slur of a name to add some irony to the proceedings.

As time goes on, I think RICO defenses will become increasingly colorful. Hell, they already are.
Here's the latest one, as mentioned above, in the trial for the 2003 murder of former Genovese crime boss Adolfo "Big Al" Bruno, who made the mistake of not knowing how to earn enough cash, and other crimes.

A defense lawyer for one of three men accused of being Mafia killers needled the prosecution's star witness, Anthony J. Arillotta, about a growing list of broken oaths during cross-examination in the ongoing mob murder trial in lower Manhattan, as reported in an article on Mass by Stephanie Barry.

Arillotta, 42, of Springfield, testified over three days about Bruno's murder and that of his brother-in-law, Gary D. Westerman.

Frederick Cohn, a defense lawyer for Freddy Geas, was the second defense lawyer to take a crack at Arillotta on the witness stand on Tuesday, with a third attorney still poised to try to erode Arillotta's credibility with jurors.

"You have taken at least three important oaths, Mr. Arillotta?" Cohn asked, citing his oath of silence to the Mafia when he was "made" in a secret ceremony in the Bronx in 2003 after carrying out the attempted murder of union boss Frank Dadabo. "Can you repeat that to us?"

Arillotta readily admitted he swore allegiance to the Genovese crime family and imperiled his own life and that of his wife and three children by turning informant, plus conceding he broke his oath to his soon-to-be-divorced wife.

"You violated that oath, right? And you took an oath to tell the truth in this court," Cohn said, leaving the obvious conclusion dangling.

Then there is the former Bonanno boss Basciano trial, as noted here. Blame the victim. That is what Basciano's attorneys plan to do, according to an article in the New York Post; Gorgeous's defense attorneys plan to tell jurors in the mobster's upcoming death-penalty case that the victim of a hit the former Bonanno crime-family boss allegedly ordered put his own self in danger by getting involved with the Mafia.

"By voluntarily choosing to engage in violent criminal conduct, the victim in this case, Randolph Pizzolo, willingly participated in dangerous and illegal activities, a circumstance that contributed to his unfortunate death," defense attorneys wrote to Brooklyn federal court Judge Nicholas Garaufis.
One almost has to wonder: Are they all kidding?

If they win -- well, stranger things have happened...