Court Rules No Dice: Alleged Colombo Boss's 100-Year Prison Sentence Stands

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has made its ruling, and the 100-year sentence will stand.

Carmine Persico, 83, alleged boss of the Colombo crime family, will continue serving the long and unusually punishing prison sentence doled out to him in the historic Mafia Commission case.

Persico will continue to serve his 100-year sentence following Commission Case
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals screwed Carmine Persico, 83.

The court ignored all the evidence based on former Bonanno boss Joseph Massino's 302s, which supported the allegation that Carmine Galante was not slain as per the orders of the Mafia Commission (the murder was the Commission Case's centerpiece). The court also ignored all the evidence that showed the large, previously unknown extent of former Colombo captain/high-ranking snitch Gregory Scarpa's influence over the case.

We have spoken to a few attorneys off the record, and can report here that it is a fact that the government hates the Mafia so much that they don't bother hiding their disdain for mobsters' defense attorneys in New York City.

Mob lawyers are treated like mob guys. Especially if they are Italian-Americans themselves. "You are representing the enemy, that's how they look at it," as one told us.

Another, who practices out of state and has a legendary grandfather, told us he traveled to New York once to represent a client in a case -- and the Feds, without his knowledge, questioned his client -- the man on trial for committing financial fraud! -- about his attorney, basically asking him if the attorney had used any mob-like tactics while representing him. In other words, it seemd very much like they were willing to give him a break in the charges he faced for saying anything he could about his attorney.

But he was a loyal client and later he told the attorney what the Feds had done. He was shocked, but not that much. The attorney had experienced all kinds of bias in New York City over his last name, so he decided decades ago to head to the West Coast. Outside of New York, all defense attorneys are treated respectfully, as officers of the court.

But back to Persico....

As Gang Land News reported yesteday, "The judges declined to consider some of the mob boss's knottiest claims, including whether there were "factual inaccuracies" and numerous Brady violations — failures by the government to furnish information in its files that might have helped established his innocence in the case.

"Instead, the court stated that any sentence modification was at the discretion of the judge, and that Manhattan Federal Court Judge Kevin Duffy had properly "exercised his discretion to deny the motion."

"In his ruling, Duffy had also rejected all of Persico's claims of government wrongdoing at his trial and at his sentencing. Junior had submitted scores of FBI documents and other court records that seemed to exonerate him of the 1979 murder of Carmine Galante, as well as several murders that prosecutors had charged him with at his sentencing.

Attorneys Anthony DiPietro and Mathew Mari had asked the appeals panel to consider those issues, but the Court declined. It noted that Persico's conviction — and 100 year sentence — were 30 years ago, and stated that "a defendant has no due process right to challenge his conviction in perpetuity."

Persico is the last of those convicted in the Commission Case who is still incarcerated, as GLN reported. Five of Persico's codefendants died in prison and the sixth, Luchese mobster Christopher (Christy Tick) Furnari, 93, was granted parole in 2014. By then, he'd served around 28 years behind 

We broke the news about Furnari being released from prison -- and not one news source cited us. We no longer care about such things. For a one-man blog with a shoestring budget, we're doing okay.....

READ OUR BREAKING NEWS STORY Christy Tick, 90, Beats the System, Departs Prison

Despite the ruling, Persico still has a parole hearing in June. To decide what? Is there still a chance he can get out of prison? We will try to find out.

As reported in an earlier story, Persico's attorneys were seeking to get him resentenced under the grounds that the FBI may have played some covert hanky-panky during the investigation prior to the high-profile trial of the so-called leadership of New York's Five Families.

The ghost of Gregory Scarpa continues to haunt New York's criminal justice system, especially in the Southen District, where the case was prosecuted. A landmark trial, then-U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani was the driving force behind it, ironically and allegedly after he read former mob boss Joseph Bonanno's memoir A Man of Honor.

Persico's appeal brief, which was filed last October, turns a healthy chunk of organized crime history on its ear, charging:

The Government concealed the fact that it had obtained its sentencing information from unreliable sources. The Government failed to disclose that it learned of Mr. Persico’s involvement in uncharged murders from FBI informant, Gregory Scarpa, Sr.

In addition, the Government concealed the fact that the sentencing information provided by FBI Agent Joseph Pistone was unreliable because he had participated in undisclosed acts of violence, extortion, obstruction of justice, hijackings, and a conspiracy to murder Bruno Indelicato.

Persico's attorneys, Anthony DiPietro, Esq. and Mathew Mari, filed a reply brief on January 22, 2017, arguing that Carmine Persico should be resentenced based on new evidence revealed in recently released FBI files.

The newly cited evidence is based on disclosures recently obtained via DiPietro's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filings. A key allegation based on the documents regards the use of confidential information from a notorious deceased mobster who for decades served as a government informant.

While receiving payments from Uncle Sam for his "inside" information, Colombo mobster Gregory Scarpa never seemed to slow down in terms of life on the streets.

While apparently under the FBI's auspices, Scarpa was elevated to capo and in the 1990s, was a chief gunman for one of the two factions fighting what became known as the third Colombo crime family civil war.

Scarpa, who died of AIDS in 1994, gave the Feds information used to prosecute the Commission Case in New York's Southern District.

In a previous story, The Mobster Who Convicted Half the Mafia, we detailed the information Scarpa provided the Feds with for the Commission Case.

Scarpa provided plenty of information but only now is it alleged that Scarpa's revelations were never corroborated.

Additionally, sworn testimony of FBI agents during the Commission Case trial revealed that as many as three reliable sources had given information used to obtain permission for the investigation's many wiretaps, the transcripts of which were a centerpiece of the whole case.

That's allegedly not the case, however. The FBI apparently accepted Greg Scarpa's word alone, Persico's lawyers now allege.

Persico's lawyers also are attempting to get Persico re-sentenced also by arguing that Carmine Persico was not the boss of the Colombo crime family at the time alleged in the Commission Case indictment.

For one thing, Scarpa himself had named at least three other Colombo mobsters as boss of the Colombo crime family when the Commission Case crimes reportedly occurred.

Separately, in interviews with this blog, attorney Mat Mari noted that supporting this new motion are FBI 302s based on information provided by former Bonanno boss Joseph Massino, who flipped following his own conviction in a major murder and racketeering trial.

Joe Massino has made a host of claims that rewrite the history of the New York Mafia as we know it. These include different motives for the murders of Dominick "Sonny Black" Napolitano and Anthony Mirra; according to Massino, the two were not whacked over Joe Pistone's Donnie Brasco Mafia infiltration, among other things. (Sources contacted us after reading our initial story to confirm that Mirra and Napolitano were indeed killed over Donnie Brasco, despite Massino's contrary admissions.)

There was no Commission meeting to determine the fate of Carmine Galante, Massino told the FBI, which detailed his comments on 302s, the form used by FBI agents to report or summarize interviews with certain sources.

In fact, the Galante murder was in-house Bonanno business, Massino told FBI agents. Bonanno boss Philip (Rusty) Rastelli simply ordered the murder of Galante, Massino told the FBI. Massino never testified in court about this information.

The reply brief followed an appeal brief filed on October 11, 2016. It dispute many long-held "facts" about Mafia history in New York.

To quote directly from the document:

The Government deliberately withheld from Mr. Persico’s defense, numerous FBI reports proving that other individuals acted as the “boss” of the Colombo family and as a member of the “Commission” when Carmine Galante was murdered in 1979. See, e.g., FBI Report, dated 3/9/1982 (“The source advised that the former Colombo family boss, Thomas Di Bella, who was the boss of the family prior to 1981...”)... 

Among the Government’s withholdings, were records proving that at least four FBI sources reported that Thomas Di Bella was appointed as the “boss” of the Colombo family by the “Commission” through its leader Carlo Gambino: 

 On June 4, 1973, NY T-1 advised that Thomas Di Bella has been designated permanent new Boss of the Colombo La Cosa Nostra (LCN) Family by Carlo Gambino. 

On July 12, 1973, NY T-2 confirmed the above.

On August 7, 1973, NY T-3 advised that Thomas Di Bella was still Boss of the Colombo LCN Family. FBI Report, dated 8/22/1973... *** 

On June 7, 1974, NY T-2 advised that one of the reasons Thomas Di Bella was made “boss” of the Colombo Family was because of his close friendship with Carlo Gambino. Gambino had threatened to take over the entire Family if a boss was appointed who he found unsuitable.

On March 14, 1974, NY T-4 advised that Thomas Di Bella was firmly established as boss of the Colombo family.

The Mafia Commission Trial took place in New York's Southern District from February 25, 1985, to November 19, 1986. (Officially the case is named "United States v. Anthony Salerno, et al.")

Based largely on the transcripts of bugged conversations, prosecutors tried alleged mobsters who supposedly held rank in New York's Five Families.

The driving force behind the case was United States Attorney Rudolph Giuliani under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) on charges including extortion, labor racketeering, and murder.

The Commission Case is generally considered to be one of the most significant blows against the New York Mafia's infrastructure in the history of American law enforcement. It effectively hastened the decline of the Mafia just as Giuliani intended based on his statement that: "Our approach... is to wipe out the Five Families."