Lawyers Make Closing Arguments in Genovese Murder/Racketeering Trial

Lawyers for three defendants accused in a mob-related hit and racketeering case in lower Manhattan made closing arguments -- during which they did all they could to tar and feather the prosecution's prime witnesses as murderers and miscreants, according to an article on Mass by Stephanie Barry.

Standing trial are jailed Western Massachusetts alleged mob enforcers Fotios "Freddy" Geas, of West Springfield, Mass., and his brother Ty Geas, of Westfield, Mass., along with Arthur "Artie" Nigro, of Bronx, N.Y., the reputed onetime New York Genovese crime family boss.

They stand accused of the 2003 murder plot against Springfield, Mass.,Genovese boss Adolfo "Big Al" Bruno, the attempted murder of a union boss the same year and a series of extortion attempts from Springfield to Hartford, Conn., and Manhattan.

In his closing argument, Assistant U.S. Attorney Elie Honig told jurors that the defendants made their marks in the mob world through "an epic spasm of violence" that peaked in 2003, when the Geases and two other mobsters shot, bludgeoned and buried street criminal Gary D. Westerman in an eight-foot grave in Agawam, Mass., the article said.

The defense's prime target during closing arguments on Wednesday was Anthony J. Arillotta, of Springfield, Mass., a made man in the Genovese family and onetime sponsor of the non-Italian Geas brothers into the inner circle of the Mafia. Arillotta turned cooperating witness immediately after his arrest in 2010, and spent days on the witness stand telling the panel of a startling array of violence including the murder of Westerman in 2003, who had recently married Arillotta's wife's sister.

In a particularly cringe-inducing moment on the witness stand, Arillotta admitted he had sex with his sister-in-law on two occasions when he and his wife were "separated," the article reported.

Bobbi Sternheim, a lawyer for Ty Geas, suggested Arillotta was jealous that Westerman had married the woman.

Arilllotta testifed that he, the Geases and a fourth man, Emilio Fusco, killed Westerman on Nov. 4, 2003, because they learned he was a police informant.

Frederick H. Cohn, a lawyer for Freddy Geas, said the notion that his client was part of the mob think tank plotting murders was "a bunch of nonsense," and that Bruno shooter Frankie Roche, who testified the Geases put him up to shooting Bruno, was "impulsive, nuts and proud of it."

Of Arillotta and Roche, Cohn told jurors: "Those slime bags who testified, they have no loyalty. They sell out their wives, their children ... you can't convict because of a general feeling of badness," Cohn said, the article added.

The defendants face life in prison if convicted on any of the murder counts.

The judge is expected to give jurors their instructions by late morning on Thursday and the panel will begin deliberations sometime Thursday.