Former Colombo Boss Tommy Shots Takes Shot At Getting Out Due To COVID-19 Fears

The judge will let Tommy Shots know "shortly" if he can get out of prison early because of COVID-19. Nick Christophers listened in on the conference call and wrote the following, including a detailed transcript of the call Monday to get Tommy Shots sprung....


Maureen, wife of Gioeli,
Maureen, wife of Gioeli, outside Brooklyn court after his 2012 acquittal for murder.



Nick is the author of several books, including Prison Rules, Destinies, and Godfathers of the Night, which is the story of the Greek Mafia...

By Nick Christophers
During a hearing Monday (May 18), Thomas (Tommy Shots) Gioeli’s mouthpiece took a shot at getting him sprung from prison four years early based on his fears of contracting COVID-19; the judge said he would decide shortly whether he would grant the former Colombo acting boss's request.

In a telephone conference call Monday, his attorney, Federal prosecutors, and Judge Brian Cogan discussed what should happen next regarding Goieli's delicate health condition. Gioeli, who served 12 years of an 18-year sentence, has been plagued by medical issues.

Tommy was indicted in 2008 for extortion, robbery, and the murders of Frank Marasa, John Minerva, and Michael Imbergamo between 1991-92. The Marasa and Minerva murders were connected to the Colombo war that erupted in 1991; both Marasa and Minerva were Vic Orena loyalists. Gioeli was aligned with Carmine Persico.

The robbery charge was when he posed as a customer at a fur shop and used the farce to rob the store. Even though Gioeli was also indicted on the murders of Colombo associate Richard Greaves and acting boss William (Wild Bill) Cutolo, he was acquitted.

In 2007 Carmine Persico’s son Alphonse (Allie Boy) Persico was convicted for the Cutolo murder. Two informants -- ex-mobsters Dino Calabro and Joey Competiello -- were prepared to testify against him.




As for Gioeli's medical problems: in 2010 he suffered a stroke and had already been known to have
diabetes and cardiac issues. He tried one time before to be released based on these issues but was denied. Gioeli was a warden’s worst nightmare as he came up with complaints constantly. That same year he was indicted for the murder of NYPD Officer Ralph Dols. But was cleared of the murder of Dols and Cutolo in 2012 due to a mixed verdict.

In 2014 he was sentenced to 18-years and 8 months on the charges of racketeering conspiracy to commit murder involving Minerva and Marasa. He has been housed at the Federal Correctional Complex, Butner in Butner, North Carolina.

Now with the coming of the dreaded pandemic and his increasing medical issues he saw an opportunity to be released on the fear he may contract the disease. The following is the conference call between the parties on his request. A decision from the Judge is still pending.

Gioeli’s attorney opened the discussion at the Judges request:
“Exhaustion is not an issue here as more than 30 days have passed since the request from Mr. Gioeli to the warden was made which is all that is required. Even if the court does not feel exhaustion is not an issue and that the government has discretion to weigh it and other courts have had the power to do so. I believe that the court have the same jurisdiction to do so. It is telling that the government has not realized that Mr. Gioeli has buried his burden to demonstrate extraordinary compelling reasons for immediate release. In leu to the sentencing commission statement, those statements do not constrain the courts independent assessment whether extraordinary compelling circumstances warrant a sentencing reduction under the First Step Act they give no consideration at all to the current state of the world and Mr. Gioeli’s unique circumstances and the pandemic is extraordinary. No one can dispute Mr. Gioeli’s many underling conditions and it is abundantly clear that Covid-19 and a combination with the underling conditions he has can be severe or deadly.”

Judge Cogan –
“Can I ask you to summarize those conditions? I know you filed redacted medical records and a redacted rit describing them. But I don’t think you filed the unredacted. I know about Mr. Gioeli’s medical condition from my previous acquaintance with him and since then he had a serious injury to his knee. But I do not know what conditions you speak of that put him at risk.”

Gioeli’s attorney –
“I do believe I emailed to the court the unredacted copies just the other day…”

Gioeli during his arrest in 2008.


Judge Cogan –
“Let me interrupt you there, sorry. You may well have done that but that is not the way to do that. You make a motion to file the unredacted under a seal and then I grant that motion since it is medical information. Then it is only visible to only you and me.”

Gioeli’s attorney –
“Thank you, your honor. I will note that for the future.”

Judge Cogan –
“Okay, you may proceed.”

Gioeli’s attorney –
“Mr. Gioeli as you know is now 57 years old a diabetic, has back conditions since he was arrested in 2008. He had six cardiac episodes requiring surgical intervention. In 2002 he had a coronary endograph with catherization on one side of his heart and 14 months later had another. July 2004, he underwent another cardiac procedure and in July of 2008 he suffered chest pains and had another catherization and a week later another. In 2010 he suffered from a mild stroke since then he has been on several medications to prevent strokes or heart attacks. He has experienced weakness on the left side of his body. As you indicated your honor, in 2013 he fell and broke his knee and was in the hospital and was chained to a bed for 4 weeks while being treated. Most recently in February of 2018 he had had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his bladder. He was also advised in 2017 that his gale bladder must be removed but the BOP failed to settle that procedure. He takes multiple medications for diabetes, heart issues, blood clotting, cholesterol, prostate and high blood pressure.”

Judge Cogan –
“Okay, thank you.”

Gioeli’s attorney –
“If I may continue. The government said that Mr. Gioeli tested positive for anti-bodies but that doesn’t change anything. There is no science that says that anti-bodies provide immunity or protect them from developing symptoms at a later time. Mr. Gioeli was selected as someone who may be eligible to home confinement and passed the 14-day required quarantine only to have them change their mind on the 12th day which added layer upon layer of stress and pain to the already fraught situation. This court passed judgement on Mr. Gioeli in 2014 and at that time he was already suffering health issues so this was issue enough to warrant for a departure of the maximum. But Mr. Gioeli is a different man that what the court saw at this arrest, during the trial and at his sentencing. Mr. Gioeli may only be 57 but he wears these years on his face and his body. I do not believe anyone present on this call has sit across from Mr. Gioeli in the past 6 years other than me. He is the not the man he once was.

He is a weakened fraction of that man. He walks slowly with a help of a cane, his skin is palate and gout, his eyes have the appearance of someone who is ill and his voice is raspy and coarse. These long years have worn on him. He like many others are afraid for their lives. Although jails are meant for punishment. What Mr. Gioeli is enduring is potentially deadly. This is not just speculation there have been many deaths in the BOP and across the country and world. This court has the power to prevent another death. The government writes about the BOP’s written plans but in reality, the BOP does not follow those basic guidelines. They are not able to follow the basic guidelines to keep people like Mr. Gioeli safe. People were tested positive in Mr. Gioeli’s unit and were left there with others for hours.

Mr. Gioeli tested positive and was moved to another unit with infected people and we were told it was a false / positive test but he was still left in the infected unit. The government points that Mr. Gioeli is A-systematic at this time but tested positive on May 14, 2020 and studies show that when Day 5 or 10 pass they can have a Covid crash including inability to breathe and a rapid deterioration. Being A-systematic four days later does not mean he is out of the woods. Mr. Gioeli implores the court to release him to home confinement to serve the remainder of his sentence. The court already took in account the danger to the community when sentencing him as part of his sentence at six months of home confinement very little can be gained for 4 more years in prison for Mr. Gioeli in these unknown circumstances and serving 12 years of an 18-year sentence is not an insignificant amount of time. As the court recognizes sentencing these years have been longer and harder for Mr. Gioeli than someone who is healthy. The sentence your honor, imposed could not have taken I account the post-sentencing development for Mr. Gioeli’s medical condition or the pandemic and for these reasons and his current health and a combination of Covid-19 and not knowing how is being treated or if he will be treated if he develops symptoms, we ask that your honor grant his immediate release.”

Judge Cogan –
“Let me ask you a question. My recollection is that the knee injury came about when he slipped playing ping pong. Is that right?”

Gioeli’s attorney –
“That is not my understanding your honor. I believe he was on his way to the shower and there was excess water on the floor.”

Judge Cogan –
“Okay, I see. Thank you. I will hear from the government.”

Government –
“Thank you, your honor. The government opposes Mr. Gioeli’s release today for a number of reasons. First, the government has not waived and does not intend to waive the exhaustion requirement and there is not an alternative to fully exhausting one’s administrative remedies where the warden of the facility timely denies an inmate’s motion and that’s what happened here. But more importantly than that as your honor is well aware that even when there are extraordinary compelling circumstances and we do not coincide that there are. But I want to talk about this even where there are such circumstances, they need to be balanced with the 3553 A factors and in this case they do not. The 3553 A factors out weigh and over power any list to Mr. Gioeli given all the circumstances and can not justify a release. Your honor, presided over the six week trial and a very protracted litigation before and after that and had an opportunity to become familiar with Mr. Gioeli as a person and in his capacity in a leadership role and at one point a “street boss” of the Colombo Family where he presided over and cultivated a crew of men who murdered without any compunction whatsoever.

The seriousness of these crimes cannot be overstated here and frankly are too serious to warrant his release your honor. At the sentencing of Mr. Gioeli, we pointed out that individuals at leadership positions don’t have to engage in dirty work any longer they can simply make phone calls from the comfort of their home and send messages and make things happen, make crime happen, make violent crime happen. Why present that risk? Mr. Gioeli still posses a threat to the community if he were released. The fact that he ins older, it is true that with many cases age does decrease longevity. But it does not hold true in the context of the mob and hasn’t held true here. All of the symptoms, well not all of the symptoms, Mr. Gioeli suffered health problems prior to his arrest in 2008 they did not stop him from presiding over the Colombo Family. It did not top him from cultivating this young crew of men who engaged in all of these crimes. So, there is no reason to believe that they wouldn’t stop him now.

But more than that your honor, the BOP has shown that they can monitor and mitigate the risk here, they tested him on 3 separate occasions as we pointed out the fact that he tested positive is irrelevant for a number of reasons in frankly counts against his release unlike other individuals. Releasing him will not protect him from contracting the disease since he has already contracted Covid-19 and fortunately he is A-systematic and that doesn’t mean that at some point that he wont show symptoms, he could. But releasing him does not protect that from happening. The BOP has taken appropriate steps that and have transferred him to a single cell in an isolated unit where he will stay for the 14-days following his transfer there. In light of all of that there are not any extreme and compelling circumstances that out weigh all of the section 3553 A factors towards a release. I do want to note that in advance to this hearing the government did reach out to the victims of this case. I am not sure if any one of them is on this phone call today but the victims did want to communicate to this court that they strongly oppose the defendants release. Finally, I just want to note in addition to the 3553 A factors that the court has to weigh in if the court finds that Mr. Gioeli does continue to pose a danger to the community that in of itself would be a bar to his release today. For the reasons I just stated the government submits is that Mr. Gioeli is not rehabilitated and does pose a danger and should not be released.”

Judge Cogan –
“If there are any victims on this conference call does the statutes obligate me to hear from them, if they want to be heard?”

Government –
“I di believe they are entitled to make a statement. Perhaps, it would be prudent to ask if there are any victims on the line, they can make a statement without having to identify themselves.”

Judge Cogan –
“Okay. I will ask the question. Are there any victims on this call who want to make a statement?

Okay, hearing nothing. Okay, I will give the defense the last word. But before that I want to ask a question. Suppose I agree with you on the reading of exhaustion portion of 3582 that it is not exhausted is there any discretion to waive exhaustion in particular circumstances?”

Government –
“I don’t believe there is and we’d be happy to greet that but this is a statutory requirement that the government is not waiving this requirement. If we were to waive it, I believe there would be an exception to it but I do not believe there is a manner legally for the court to waive that requirement.”

Judge Cogan –
“I agree with that the government waives that I could waive it as well. But I am not 100% positive in my power in the absence of government waiving that there is nothing I can do about that.”



Gioeli’s attorney –
“I do believe the court has the power to waive exhaustion. Other courts have found that they do have the ability to waive it. Whether the government waives it or not. The fact that the government holds all the power in deciding whether or not something is exhausted is taking it out of the hands of the Judge. I do believe that 3553 A factor is justified that Mr. Gioeli’s release is right in the mere fact he has zero infractions the government sights no reason why we would be a danger. That he can make a call and make things happen but for the past 12 years he has not done any of that. They have no evidence that he has not changed. They are generalizing the Mob to Mr. Gioeli. His actions while in jail have shown that he has been rehabilitated he has committed no infractions or crimes. If he was to be released, he would be under probation and be monitored, which they have a great record for monitoring people. It is to his detriment if he would to violate his release. The mere fact that he may be positive and by going out and doing something can become positive or put his family at risk. Which is something he would not do. I believe he was transferred to an isolated area where there is one bathroom for the people in that unit and he is not receiving his diabetic meals and has not been able to control his blood sugar. Which is further deteriorating his medical condition. Which would make him more open to new medical issues whether it is Covid-19 or others.”

Judge Cogan –
“I will give the government the floor to contradict any of the factual statements you have made if she has info on the contrary.”

Government –
“I do not have any information on the diabetic meals but we can certainly get that for him.”

Judge Cogan –
“Assuming he had anti-bodies that he has been exposed. It is better to be out of prison, its better for anyone to be out of prison, but how does that effect his condition when it comes to exposure? Why is it better outside in terms of exposure than the environment he is in right now?”

Gioeli’s attorney –
“My understanding is that by having anti-bodies does not give you immunity. There is no science that shows immunity comes from anti-bodies. It is not impossible you won’t catch it again.”

Judge Cogan –
“The things I have read is that they do not know for sure they can not determine one way or the other whether there is immunity from exposure.”

Gioeli’s attorney –
“Correct, but his chances of catching Covid-19 a second time are much greater inside than being home self-isolating and he would have access to any type of medical care that he needed which has been an issue for him over many years.”

Judge Cogan –
“Okay, I am going to reserve a decision. I know there is a need to get something out quickly. I will do the best I can you will hear from me shortly."


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