Hear New York Mafia Boss Joe Massino Testify Against Vinny Gorgeous

 "The mob was not the romanticized, glorified guys in the movies. They are gangsters, thugs, murderers. There is no poetry about them." -- Joe Pistone....

Joe Massino made Mafia history when he became the first Mafia boss of a New York family to flip, in 2004, when he also wore a wire; then, in 2011, he took the stand and testified against his own acting boss, Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano. (You can listen to about an hour of his testimony and read along thanks to a recently posted video on YouTube, which you can view, below.)

Joe Massino
Joe Massino

Massino, above, also fingered Basciano in the killing of crime family associate Randy Pizzolo.

When asked if there was anyone in the room who was a fellow member of his crime family, the turncoat boss pointed directly at Basciano.

“That man in the gray suit sitting there,” he said.

As acting boss, Massino said, "You are calling all the shots, you are making captains, you are breaking captains."

As for why Pizzolo had to go, Basciano had told Massino that "he was a scumbag, he was a rat, a troublemaker, a bad kid. Chased from the bars and people refused to go to bars with him."

As acting boss, Basciano had taken liberties, inducting new soldiers, promoting new captains and allegedly ordering murders.

"I took 20 years to put this together," Massino told him. "It's easy to take a life. I can take a life every day."

In a devastating admission, Basciano says on the tape: Pizzolo "deserved it."

Pizzolo's body was found facedown in a puddle of water on a desolate street in Greenpoint on Dec. 1, 2004.

Taking the stand in Brooklyn Federal Court, Massino wore a blue, two-toned warm-up jacket, zipped-up halfway to reveal a white undershirt and bowling ball sized gut underneath.

Massino, a member of the Bonanno family for 33 years,  agreed to wear a wire after he flipped following his conviction for seven murders. He did so while locked up in the MDC facing the death penalty trial for an eighth slaying (of George from Canada Sciascia), and while the Feds were systematically hunting down every last cent of his vast illicit fortune.

When asked what his last title was, Massino replied, “I was the boss – official boss.”

“Was anyone above you?” assistant U.S. Attorney Taryn Merkl asked. (She is the prosecutor featured in the tape recording below).

“Nobody,” Massino replied.

Massino described what he did for the crime organization as, “murders, responsible for the family, make captains, break captains.”

This recording is from the second trial for Basciano on charges of killing Pizzolo. In 2007, a mistrial was declared in the murder case because of a hung jury, although Basciano was convicted of racketeering charges.

Joe Massino

Joe Massino, above, sounds like he would be a horrible interview.

Joe Pistone, former FBI agent Donnie Brasco, once said that Phil (Rusty) Rastelli "was someone you didn’t cross. The mob was not the romanticized, glorified guys in the movies. They are gangsters, thugs, murderers. There is no poetry about them." 

He could've said the very same about the Joe Massino we seem to meet in this recording of him testifying.

What follows after the video is not a transcript per se – it has been edited and polished to make it readable and less redundant – none of Massino’s words were changed, but some of what he said was condensed. (It's not finished, it will take several hours of more work to finish.)

Prosecutor Taryn Merkl: What happened in 2004?

Joseph Massino (M): I went to trial and I got convicted and cooperated

You made a decision to cooperate with the government

M: I made a decision to cooperate with the government

During the 13-year period from 1991-2004. Was there anyone in the Bonanno family who was above you.


As the boss, what power did you have

M: Murder, responsible for the family, make and break captains

Do you see anyone else here in this room today who had a leadership positin in the Bonanno crime family

M: Yes, I do unintelligible

Let the record state that the witness has identified the defendant. What crime position did the defendant Vincent Basciano had in the Bonanno family

M:Acting boss

When did the defendant become acting boss


Where were you at the time

M:I was incarcerated

Have you ever heard of someone named Randy Pizzolo

M:Yes I have

Have you ever had a discussion with a member of the Bonanno family about what happened to Randy Pizzolo

M:Yes, I have – with Vincent Basciano, (Vinny) told me he killed (Randy), in November 2004..

What year did you have that conversation with Basciano?

M:November 2004


M:While meeting as codefendants at MDC, Metrolpolitan Detenction Center, a jaoil in Brooklyn

What is an acting boss

M:You are calling all the shots, you are making captains, you are breaking captains (same answer he already gave for boss) You basically do whatever you want

Did Vincent Basciano tell you why he killed Randy Pizzolo

M:Yes he did – said he was a scumbag, he was a rat, a troublemaker, a bad kid. Chased from the bars and people refused to go to bars with him

Now I want to direct your attention to the Bonanno famil itself. You mentioned you were the boss of that family for about 13 years?

M:That is correct…Five families operate out of New York City…Gambino, Luchese, Genovese, Colombo, and Bonanno family….

Is the internal organization of the family the same?

M:All the same….

Starting with the top position, the boss position, what are the responsibilities of the boss of an organized crime family?

M:Boss is responsible for the whole family…unboss assists the boss…the consiglieri is there to help the boss run the family

What are captains in an organized crime family

M:Each captain has his own crew… the captains service wiseguys… made guys….

What do you mean by service

M:Wiseguy has to go on record with his captain….an associate is someone who is not a wiseguy… orders come from the top, the boss down to the soldiers….

What does “being around” mean?

M:If you’re an associate, you are basically around somebody, a wiseguy or a captain

 If you are around someone, what responsibilities do you have to that organized crime person

M: The guy puts his service in, puts everything on record with the captain

What is kicking up mean in organized crime

M:If an associate makes any money, he kicks it up to wiseguy, wiseguy kicks it up to the captain, and the captain kicks it up to the boss

The money flows up?


Meanwhile, orders flow down


Other terms for a captain?

M:Skipper, caporegime…

Any other terms for soldiers?

M:Wiseguy, button man, goodfella

Straightened out?

M:That means you are a made member and became a wiseguy

Are there any rules regarding who you can discuss business with?

M:Associate can only talk to the wiseguy of each wing. Wiseguy cannot resolve with another wiseguy of another family, you gotta go to the captain, your captain has to sitdown with the captain of another family

If a soldier wants to discuss business with another captain, he can do that?


Who has to represent the soldier with that captain
M:His captain and their captain