18-Year Mob Informant Wouldn't Wear a Wire, So Feds Out Him?

The ex-Bonanno soldier, Joseph Barone Jr.,alleges the FBI deliberately leaked his informant status to the New York Mafia
Joseph Barone informed for 18 years but wouldn't wear a wire.
A federal judge green-lighted the filing of a lawsuit against the FBI by a former Bonanno crime family soldier who informed on his criminal cohorts for 18 years.

(And he is a former Bonanno, though some reports mistakenly refer to him as a former Genovese mobster. I double-checked this with one of the Daily News's bylined authors, Larry McShane, also the author of  "Chin: The Life and Crimes of Mafia Boss Vincent Gigante ." I am going to be posting a story based on an interview with Larry.)

The ex-soldier, Joseph Barone Jr., previously exposed a Mafia plot to murder a Brooklyn federal court judge, the Daily News reported. He alleges the FBI deliberately leaked his informant status.

Manhattan Federal Court Judge Lewis A. Kaplan issued the ruling "boosting the 54-year-old’s six-year-old malicious prosecution suit against the U.S. government and three FBI agents."

“It’s a great decision,” Barone’s lawyer, Mark Weissman, told the News. “We can proceed full speed.”

The FBI declined to comment on the decision for the story, as did the U.S. attorney’s office.

Barone claimed his star faded when his information was no long considered up to snuff. The FBI then made him a proposition which he refused: Barone would provide info but he wouldn't wear a wire.

So the FBI decided they didn't need him. To get back at him, he charges, they later "leaked his status as an informant," the News noted. Then they threw him in jail following his indictment for a million-dollar insurance job involving murder.

“Plaintiff alleges the defendants ... deliberately and maliciously arrested and prosecuted him for serious felonies despite knowing his innocence,” Kaplan wrote in his decision. “The court cannot now say that a jury could not reasonably find the United States liable ... if these allegations were proven at trial.”

Barone started informing after "The Chin" ordered the 1992 whacking of his father, Joseph Sr., a Genovese crime family made member.

Barone (aka “JB”) was arrested on Jan. 9, 2009, for his role in a plot to whack a Westchester County businessman.

Because his cover was blown, he was in solitary confinement for all but the last three months of the 18 months he served in federal prison. His lawsuit charges that the FBI deliberately caused his imprisonment to punish him, presumably for not wearing a wire.

He then won a July 2010 acquittal.

Jerry Capeci wrote a more granular version of Barone's story, which is quite complicated. Check it out here. (According to McShane we also are witnessing a rarity; Jerry Capeci mistakenly referring to Barone as  Genovese gangster rather than a Bonanno gangster ).

Here's the first few graphs of Capeci's Huffington post story:

A violent Genovese gangster who doubled as an FBI informer for 18 years and a well-to-do businessman pal, begin trial today for an alleged million dollar insurance-murder plot that’s got more intrigue and hard-to-believe plot twists and turns than any screen writer for “The Sopranos” or “Law & Order” would ever attempt.

To begin with, the gangster, Joseph Barone, has publicly disclosed his longtime status as a secret snitch in an effort to pose an unusual “public authority defense.” The argument is that while Barone may have committed criminal acts, he only did so based on his reasonable belief that a government official gave him permission to do so. Therefore, the defense reasoning goes, he is not guilty of the charged crime.

We’ll get to the overall logic of Barone’s tenuous legal strategy later, as well as whether winning an acquittal is now the gangster-informer’s biggest worry.