Feds Go to Bat to Whack Massino's Life Sentence

The feds are asking a judge to reduce the life sentence of former Bonanno family crime boss Joseph Massino as a reward for his unprecedented cooperation.

“As the first official boss of the American Mafia to testify publicly, Massino’s cooperation was an important milestone in the decades-long effort by the Department of Justice to dismantle and uproot La Cosa Nostra,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Taryn Merkl stated in papers filed Monday in Brooklyn Federal Court.

Massino, 70, sought a cooperation deal from the government immediately after he was convicted in 2004 of racketeering and eight gangland rubouts.

Prosecutors were skeptical at first, but Massino won them over when he claimed to have knowledge of a plot by his successor, Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano, to whack mob-busting Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Andres. He testified in two mob trials and provided assistance that led to dozens of convictions.

Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis has scheduled the resentencing for June 20. Massino has served more than 10 years in prison since his last arrest.

Turning state's evidence

In hopes of saving his life, Massino decided to break his blood oath and turn informer. Massino subsequently claimed he decided to turn informer due to the prospect of his wife and mother having to forfeit their houses to the government.

Here is what the Feds, ostensibly, extracted from Massino. I must ask them - was it worth it? Was he really that useful?
  • At his advice, that October the FBI revisited the Queens mob graveyard where Alphonse Indelicato's body was found, and unearthed the bodies of Trinchera and Giaccone as well
  • Massino agreed to wear a wire when meeting acting boss Vinny "Gorgeous" Basciano in jail. While Massino was unable to extract an unambiguous confession regarding Andres [a prosecutor Massino claimed Vinny Gorgeous wanted slain; with this one, Joe was able to dramatically get the Feds' attention, even though it was highly likely bullshit]. Massino did however record Basciano freely admit to ordering the murder of associate Randolph Pizzolo
  • Massino was conspicuously absent from the prosecution witnesses at the 2006 racketeering trial of Basciano, the prosecution deciding he was not yet needed
  • He was also expected to testify against Vito Rizzuto regarding his role in the three capos' murder, but the Montreal boss accepted a plea bargain in May 2007.
  • Massino finally made his debut as a witness at Basciano's trial for the murder of Randolph Pizzolo in April 2011; Massino testified both during the trial itself and, after Basciano was convicted, on behalf of the prosecution's unsuccessful attempt to impose the death penalty.
  • Massino testified again in the 2012 extortion trial of Genovese capo Anthony Romanello, primarily to provide background as an expert on the American Mafia.


  1. Another RAT going to be set free after admitting to numerous murders just because he gave up a few guys up. I don't get it, I figured they would learn after the Sammy the bull turned back to crime. If u ask me these feds make organized crime continue because wiseguys realize if they get indicted they can always squeal to get out of it.

  2. those "feds" do not encourage organized crime. Although I agree that they should be prosecuted according to the fulles and not given quid pro guo deals, the govt. relies on those deals because they receive information in exchange that they wouldn't have otherwise. Is it fair? No. These criminals do what they do because they choose to. some say they "have to put food on their families tables". Get a job. Now somebody is going to comment, 'you can't without an education' but we all know that's not true either. Get a job, get 2 or 3 jobs. These guys are in because that's who they are and they want that life. When they have opportunities to get out, they don't. Massino also ordered a hit because "somebody" made a remark about Paul Castellano's nose. When asked by an Asst. US Atty, "Why?", his response was, "That's disrespectful." Their children are the same. The breed the same thing. They come from **it, they are **it - on down the line, even relatives, anybody connected to them.
    Hopefully this man will get his payback in prison. If people knew how racist Italians were, maybe somebody would whack him in the prison. Dirt.

  3. Yes, I know I have typos - 2nd sentence should read "prosecuted to the fullest"

  4. He's trying to get out of prison, is the thing though...

  5. Of course he is, who wouldn't. I can't tell you how many times I've talked my way out of a traffic ticket. What I was saying is that nobody else is to blame for the things they do - period. Sure, Massino was 5 yrs. old working out of the wagons at the construction sites to help his parents. Touching story, but he chose crime later instead of a legitimate life. Not many people will choose a life sentence and no money just so they can be praised for being "honorable" by a bunch of other dirtbags and strangers.

    I'm surprised nobody got to his brother, John, during trial. The only person that criticized him and insulted him in court wasn't a wiseguy. Who cares thought. he's in the higher percentage of returning to crime in WitSec.

  6. And the feds got a raw deal -- what did Massino do for them really?


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