Bonnano Informant's Lawsuit Alleging FBI Misdeeds Tossed

A Mafia informant who "flipped" against the FBI and tried to sue them got the judge's thumb's down this week.

Ex-Bonanno crime family soldier Joseph Barone Jr., who previously exposed a Mafia plot to murder a Brooklyn federal court judge, has been alleging that the FBI deliberately leaked his informant status and arrested him as "punishment."

Former Bonanno crime family informant Joseph Barone Jr.
Joseph Barone.

This past Monday, Judge Andrew J. Peck ruled that allegations in a lawsuit filed by Barone Jr., who informed on his criminal cohorts for 18 years, were unfounded.

As per the judge's written order, the FBI had "probable cause" to arrest him. Furthermore, the judge noted that the FBI had done nothing to warrant claimed damages.

Barone was arrested in 2009 on "trumped-up charges that he had participated in a murder-for-hire plot," as his lawsuit alleged.

A Reuters story described this case as offering "a glimpse at the sometimes conflicted relationship between informants and their government handlers."

He spent 19 months in a Brooklyn prison, primarily in solitary confinement, before a federal jury acquitted him in 2010.

Barone alleged the agents were seeking to punish him for declining to deceive a Gambino crime family gangster into talking about criminal activity on the telephone.

We reported about this case last May (18-Year Mob Informant Wouldn't Wear a Wire, So Feds Out Him?) when a federal judge green-lighted the filing of the lawsuit against the FBI. (Some reports mistakenly refer to Barone as a former Genovese mobster.)

Last May Manhattan Federal Court Judge Lewis A. Kaplan issued the ruling that boosted Baron's lawsuit about a "six-year-old malicious prosecution suit against the U.S. government and three FBI agents."

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. 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 Vincent "The Chin" Gigante ordered the 1992 killing of his father, Joseph Barone Sr., then a Genovese crime family 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.