Massino to Testify in Manhattan Bonanno Trial? Nope

federal prosecutors this past week rolled out the long-brewing enterprise corruption trial of Bonanno capo Nicholas “Nicky Mouth” Santora and three crew members in Manhattan Supreme Court.
From Left, Vito Badamo, Anthony Santoro, Ernest Aiello, Nicholas Santora.

On the heels of longtime Bonanno mobster Vinny Asaro's stunning acquittal in Brooklyn last November, the Manhattan D.A.'s  prosecutors this past week rolled out the long-brewing enterprise corruption trial of Bonanno capo Nicholas “Nicky Mouth” Santora and three crew members in Manhattan Supreme Court.

And it seems that Joseph "Big Joey" Massino is not the prosecution's star witness.  The former Bonanno family's official boss faced eight murder charges, not seven as was  originally reported.

Nicky Santora, has held a leadership role since the 1970s. Who else would have the institutional knowledge to finally pin enough on Nicky Mouth to possibly put him away for the rest of his life (and also faced seven murder charges)? (The turncoats testifying in this trial haven't been clearly identified in press reports, for reasons unknown to me.)

Massino doesn't seem to have done much on the witness stand to justify the Fed's allowing him to flip in the first place. He's failed lie detector tests and has made some bizarre statements on the witness stand, some having to do with the Donnie Brasco fallout. In the 1970s, an associate in former capo Dominick "Sonny Black" Napolitano's crew was identified as FBI agent Joe Pistone. Shortly afterward Sonny Black and Anthony "Tony" Mirra were reportedly slain over Brasco, only Massino later said they weren't.

As for the Manhattan trial unfolding, Santora and others were arrested back in July 2013, having been indicted for a slew of mob crimes. Murder, however, is not one of them.

Of the original number arrested, only Santora, Anthony “Skinny” Santoro, Vito Badamo and Ernest Aiello are on trial.Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., unveiled the indictment, noting that it followed a two-year investigation into the Bonanno crew's $10 million infiltration of a labor union as well as the usual wiseguy slew of charges: extortion, loan sharking, gambling, selling prescription drugs ranging from oxycodone painkillers to Viagra, as well as perjury and possession of firearms.

One year later the defendants rejected a plea deal. Santora's agreement included the longest prison stint. For copping to the enterprise corruption charge,  he would have been sentenced to 7 to 21 years behind bars.  “Skinny” Santoro was offered the next-longest term of  9-to-18 years.

"Skinny" Santoro's attorney said of the offer: “It’s ridiculous, it was a non-violent gambling offense."

Santora's lawyer, Michael Alber, said: “There’s absolutely no way he’s taking that disposition. He’s not involved in enterprise corruption. The prosecution is seeking to link people who don’t even recognize each other except when they come to court.”

They each face a maximum of up to 25 years behind bars for their alleged participation in a range of criminal activities.
Belinda Rossetti, Santora's ex-girlfriend. 

The defense came out swinging, arguing that the prosecutor's key witness was a mobster who'd killed numerous people, whereas none of the four facing charges had ever murdered anyone.

Turncoat James Tartaglione was incorrectly identified as the witness in question. This was based on an incorrect interpretation of source material.

It seems defense attorneys are naming Bonanno boss Joe Massino as the "key witness".

Adam Konta, "Skinny" Santoro's lawyer, noted that told jurors the District Attorney's office had chased down alleged gangsters who never killed anyone.

"Mr. Santoro did not make anyone 'sleep with the fishes,' " he said, quoting an often-quoted expression from The Godfather film.

Nicky Mouth, 73, now gets around via wheelchair.