At Bonanno Trial, One Witness Says He Preferred Vinny TV; How Mob Is Replenishing Itself

Vincent (Vinny TV) Badalamenti, a former acting boss of the Bonanno crime family, was preferable to Joe C and Porky, one government witness said in testimony yesterday at the rackeering trial of Joe Cammarano and John (Porky) Zancocchio in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

One witness liked it better when Vinny TV was acting boss.

The witness recorded audiotape in his pizzeria, which apparently the Joe C regime was jostling to take from him at the time.

Still, the witness said that he tried to get along with them, and had even patronized Porky's restaurant, Bella Donna, where made members of the Bonanno crime family congregated on Fridays.

"Like at happy hour," Judge Alvin Hellerstein interjected, evoking laughter even from members of the jury.

The trial is wrapping up quickly: the government said it might finish presenting its case today, March 6.

On Monday, former associate Stephen Sabella testified that Zancocchio blackened his eye and busted a tooth, and stole about $2 million from him, including his business.

"I can't stand him," Sabella said.

Sabella said he was beat up twice, the second time outside his home, which was when he decided to cooperate with the government.

He testified that, despite flipping, he continued running a gambling  book and sold drugs but "just marijuana," he said.

When asked if his father had been arrested in Florida for cocaine, Sabella followed Judge Hellerstein's order sustaining a government's objection and did not answer.

One member of the jury told Judge Hellerstein that Stephen Sabella's name was misspelled in the transcripts that were passed out to the jurors...

Classical music was heard in court while jurors listened to wiretap recordings, prompting Judge Hellerstein to ask if Mozart was part of this case?

Earlier on Monday, a Cosa Nostra expert testifying for the government said that the mob had waived one of its rules: Because of the high levels of incarceration, each family can now make two men for every member who dies; previously, they could only make one man per deceased member.

Similarly, the requirement that made men be 100% Italian has been changed such that only the father must be Italian.

He said surveillance of wakes is "of incredible value to law enforcement.. The understanding is visual, a hierarchy, you put the dots together."