« True Murder: The Most Shocking Killers


2013-07-17 | 🔗
A vain man of good looks, small means, and no family links to the mob, Vincent “Vinny Gorgeous” Basciano steadily worked his way up to acting boss of the Bonanno crime family, becoming its leader when official boss Joseph Massino went to the clink in 2003. But at a time when the Mob was crawling with secret operatives and informants caving to government pressure to flip, Basciano obeyed the code of La Cosa Nostra. “I got faith in one guy,” he told a group of mobsters during a secretly taped meeting. That man was Joseph Massino, head of the Bonanno borgata. But for all his loyalty, Basciano was still a hot-headed, cold-blooded killer, which led to his arrest. Then, in a remarkable betrayal that shook the Five Families to their foundation, Massino secretly cooperated with the FBI—the first official boss ever to roll over. As a result, Basciano faced the death penalty, but a federal jury, disturbed by the prosecution's use of criminal informants, reached a surprising verdict. Veteran crime author Anthony M. DeStefano tells the riveting story of the last true believer in the Mob’s cult of brotherhood and how he was betrayed by the only man he ever trusted. VINNY GORGEOUS-The Ugly Rise and Fall of a New York Mobster-Tony DeStefano
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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you are now listening to true murder, the most shocking killers in true crime, history and the authors that have written about them: Gacy, Bundy, Dahmer, the night stalker Btk every week, another fascinating author talking about the most shocking and infamous killers in true crime. History, true murder, with your host journalist and author Dan Spanky. Good evening. This is your host Dan Zamansky for the program, true murder, the most shocking killers in true crime, history and the authors that have written about them. A vain man of good looks, but no family ties to the mob Vincent
hi folks dark Bentley here being on the go, is a big part of my life, I love seeing new places, meeting new people and performing all over the world for energy, on the go for me, it's five hour energy It works fast, works long and it a skirt was zero sugar and four calories. Try it work here on the go life too? five, our energy energy on the go: get five hour: energy at your local haha vine gorgeous Basano worked his way up to acting boss of the banano crime. Family becoming its leader official boss, Joseph Massino went to prison in two thousand and three. When the mafia was crawling, with secret operatives informants caving to government pressure to flip the scandal is that, firstly obeyed the code of La Cosa, Austria. I got faith in one guy. He said during a secretly tape meeting that man was Messina head of the banana war. Gotta
but for all his loyalty. Buscano was still a hot, headed, cold blooded killer, which ultimately led to his arrest and downfall. Then, in a remarkable betrayal that rocked the five families to their foundations, Massino secretly cooperated with the FBI, the first head boss ever to roll over as a result, bus gown or face the death penalty, but a federal jury disturbed by the prosecutions use of deadly criminal informants reached a surprising verdict here from veteran crime. Author Anthony. Am these? The final comes the riveting story of the last true believer in the mobs called the brotherhood and his betrayal at the hands of the only man he ever trusted the book it we're featuring this evening is Vinnie gorgeous the ugliest ugly rise and fall of New York mobster.
My special guest journalist and author Anthony M? These defined welcome back to the program Anthony Anthony, thank you and you can call me Tony ok, tony thing you very much thank you for coming back on. This is another great book, this one new vote on yourself. Let's get right to this now I love the way you set up this book and any you drew us in, and it's like, I was to you in earlier in I just before we went on the air very soprano
Is she in terms of the you grab the reader and bring them right into something that we see only in the movies? So let's talk about first, the the sort of colorful character of Randy Rand off up the solo, and just tell you start in the book. Let's talk about this guy is sort of a radic character and who he is, and his role in the mafia tell about this rand off the solo and and how you start in your in your book really gorgeous yeah. I open I open the book with the the the scene. Where does all it was killed because it really are allowed us entree into the wider story. Bizarre low was one of these tragic characters who had aspirations to join the mob and wanted to be a main member and did his work and had his,
but he had a lot of problems and some of the problems was his sort of poor impulse control, He did things that embarrassed people and show that he was somewhat hot, tempered he also had the misfortune of doing some work. Construction work at a time when it was very important that he do do well in his jobs straight as it were, and that seemed to antagonize people around him, including Bassano. Really use them on a number of projects, but what really? It was a confluence of things, his paw
pulse control, his embarrass, embarrassing episodes where he was doing things with guns and bars and stuff and shooting up places. It really really started to wear nine people- and ultimately you know it is a it is number came up and he was, and he knew something was going on. He knew we didn't have long to live. In fact, the night he was killed. He was supposed to meet insurance, a take out an insurance policy on his life. He I'm sure this, a location in Greenpoint which is a sort of deserted industrial place in in in Brooklyn, between Brooklyn and Queens right on the on the car, and gritty industrial area and he drove there and he was meeting a couple of characters. He was expected to me. He was going to meet them and they thought
it's just going to be a short meeting and then it was going to go, do his life insurance policy and and then drinks with another friend of his it didn't happen. He was gunned down on the street and people coming to work the next morning at about six, thirty or so found his body on the street, and that was the murder. Randy Paolo, and that was really the nub of the case against and the solving of that murder and the gathering of evidence was the thing that sort of put the feds finally onto I've. Then he Bessie was so you know I was just nobody shooting and it was done as we found out through the evidence in the case by his friend ACE
happening with a slight yellow. Who is the for your man and that's what loyalty is in Amman? That's what happens now. Do what I really like this. He painted you you you talk about these guys. It's not like these guys are shy about doing murders, but it is not something that you can just happen in. You explain how, if somebody were to kill someone without this being cleared by the what's that that might get you killed itself. The thing that you talked about this was all will be in a specially. Well to me want to kill, was especially a couple of things that he did do. He was again harassing an agent in a restaurant. Again, when you explain in the book, that's because Mafia would really like people to take take delete people alone that are just doing their job. So that's the way they see it. The other thing was he had said to someone else. I guess in in one of the families that that they better not be beer,
or try to be a rat. So these are kind of things that are major offenses, aren't they they, so he didn't get killed. For now right he was. You know he kept screwing up in and small and big ways, and you know sort of embarrassing people insulting people If your wallet starting to them and then He was told what really sort of I think ice the case against him that he was told you know, to leave New York, go down, Florida and take care of some projects in Florida and he didn't want to go. You has family, here and his daughter area
interest here and you didn't want to go. He wasn't going to go. He said, I'm not going so that sort of put him on the radar an when you when you sort of dis the leadership and you don't go or get chased as it were when you suppose there let's go, things are going to happen and that's what happened yeah and he knew especially when that occurrence that thing happen in terms of asked to be going to Florida. He knew what that meant right and him you got to get out of here. Yeah yeah. I got to get out here what was going to have trouble and you didn't go and gotten a lot of trouble fatally now you talk, you talk about a sense any a little and who killed his all over. My find evidence shows later that when he's a soldier with Vincent Diaz and so tell is the pronunciation of screwed me up to his family, had a different pronunciation even for me
Bush on away, they put the kind of accent honor. Middle syllables, but in our we'll call any gorgeous, simplifies it, but I think your question was what ass connection to Basano. He was under under Vinnie's Asia, as I was part of his people. He was a very loyal dog as they call him Asian called him. My LUCA Brazuca Brai Browser look is a rather the character from the film was the sort of loyal supplicant. Who would do any and that's what that was, I always reputation would do anything we can include. It's great greatly show the photo of a guy. I guess it's a mug shot, no doubt that doesn't look like a high school graduation at most,
yeah. She looks very intense, it looks very believable is capable of something. Well yeah he. He has that look right. The sort of head sort of merges with the neck and he's got these eyes that look straight in very cold jet black eyes and it kind of say you know you want to mess with them. No, no, it looks. It looks like a serious guy. Now tell us about uh, give us the background on Vinny gorgeous because it's sort of a well. It is a very, very interesting story, his rise, but just give us the background on who he was at a younger age and how we grew up, tell us, but about Vinny. Just how are you really well yeah a guy. I grew up in Westchester County, which is just north of New York City. He didn't grow up in the Bronx as it turns out. They call him Benny from the Bronx he came from ever. Sort of italian american families. Father was a stone cutter, sort of it a craftsman as it were,
his mother was a house housewife and Vinny know a a around kid. He didn't really finish high school when it was supposed to Instead he was kind of like a me a Robin and type character where he stick up for kids in the neighborhood who were being put upon, and he did that for one person who happened to be the relative of Dominic, trimmed Shera, know, Dominick's insurer may not mean mean much to people now and in the grand scheme of things, but he was a pretty powerful captain and the ban on a crime family when Xin Trojans Chinsurah trend chairs on either your pronunciations against us, the stuff found out that Vinny helped his, I guess was nephew. He took a liking to on and of any sort of was around and Vinny was became, mad Dominic's driver, and that was Vinnie's entree to this world, which at the time was a pretty power.
Awful organized crime. World print share was involved so that they tell us the facts, tell us but a lot of narcotics dealings and he had the your price of the Montreal faction of the family and it is very interesting photo that was taken of a wedding and a a Swank hotel in Manhattan, in which all the banana lobsters and all the canadian lobsters were together a tranche? Is there at table who was behind from Cherub, but many by Shado as a young sort of starry eyed kid no tie and he wasn't dressed for a wedding. You know you just had a just bored jacket on and had an open, open college shirt and the FBI was looking at that picture when they find the God. I said who is this guy he's a young kid,
and he came in a way that would have normally show disrespect at this wedding coming dressed down as you were. They found out ultimately that he was Dominic Cancers driver and that Sir, what then is on track to the world and by small steps became an associate. He got involved in gambling and try to remain involved with gambling for most of his life and. Then became initiated to the family about nineteen ninety one. Ninety two and then made his rise pretty quickly after that, because it showed showed that he could be relied upon to earn money. Certainly gambling and there was always the claim that he wasn't the drug dealing alone beat a very big heroin case. So He made his way made his bones as it were,
gambling operations had a reputation for being involved in homicides and you know he sort of solidified his credentials as it were. Boys is legitimate. What was his legitimate? business face, though, what was he? What did when you don't tell me of working, yet legitimately he was involved in a number of things. He had a video store He had a sandwich store sort of a deli He had a construction business businesses They had a beauty salon which was called hello, a gorgeous which I learned was taken, from line taken from the movie Mary married to the mob and he got got the moniker of that. That also because of his good, looks as vine gorgeous. So that's
stuck, but he had a lot of legitimate enterprises and he was pretty much involved in legitimate businesses up until the very time he got arrested in two thousand and four now you say this he slowly rose in this battle family and in small increments and doing certain things and and obviously gaining the grace of up people in power. Tell us a some of the things that he would would be required to do we're talking about a guy that ends up. You know having a violent streak in him. So is there any hint of anything like that? He said when he was young. He was sticking up for kids in the neighborhood, but whether any violent streaks at a in that time. It also impressed or or worried. He is also the leader. I think what he he he you know you have the reputation of being involved in homicide of some unknown person who was in any gambling the spear.
And they never able developed the name on it, but supposedly was involved, murder took place on social cloud was never proven in a court of law, but that kind of made also, like Messina, Joe Machine, a little a little bottle, weary of him, because he had a reputation for you know, being having a hot streak and sort of doing things sort of without the clearance sanction and then, ultimately you know we got into the situation where before Paolo. There was another murder that took place, which he ultimately got convicted for Court, this guy Frank tomorrow, no and not cleared nobody had cleared and which normally
I've gotten Vinny in a lot of trouble, but sort of just maybe gave a tongue lashing, and that was the end of it, but He knows leery of him, so they tell us and kept them around. You know he didn't kick him. The family, I think machine or so a lot of use that could be gotten from somebody like Vinnie, had gambling enterprises he had is.
You know it's legitimate businesses and he had a certain sort of charisma on the street now, partly because I think it is good, looks but also be cause. He was very self self assured and very assertive. So he would you know it was a guy who could take command annina family for boss. You need somebody to take him and that's not a bad thing. Yeah. He was well liked by people is going to put that into a question. He was obviously had this charisma, but he also had to dodge all the bullets that could come his way. So we had to have that natural leadership and
his mind and really just get along with people basically, what's on interesting, too, is how you portray this guy. Having again, I don't know normal, I don't what normal is, but as normal a life as a sea of businessman, with a with a wife that was quite attractive than outgoing, and so they they parted and and associate with people. Tell us a little bit about that. He was it's have almost a normal life. He did some way he was like Messina because machine I had a normal life machine. I had a lot of legitimate businesses We had a in a in a wife and and family to three daughters and they and and they're. You know who I grew up, but her a nice family setting church church going family, family family. He had four kids for boys and he had a wife, attractive, wife,
and she was working as well and she worked in some of his businesses or at her own businesses as well and I did very well for themselves. They moved up the scarsdale at some point, which is a very sort of nice, communicator to reside and most people aspire to that and he did well. He did well in some ways you know miss you know did very well, he does well is this, you know materially Masina, afforded lots and lots of money. I mean he had millions upon millions of dollars in cash. Abortion is a very well for himself and you know he had a. He had a normal
the family, setting as it were, although you know he did, have a girlfriend with that girlfriend. He had a had another son and that sort of creating some interesting issues when he got arrested and how to go to trial. Yeah now tell us about this Florida part of me, the blue, thunder and tell us how some people well Basiano avoided the prosecutor part May convicted, but some other people weren't so lucky so tell us about this initiative by the authorities. The blue thunder heroin tell us about that, blue thunder case was really really first major, serious, now we had an earlier attempted murder case involving a guy in a bookie operation, but that case was
You see the song. This handled with the evidence was so problematic that they played it down to a gun case and Vinny had to go away for about a year in jail, but the blue thunder case was a heroin case It was a brand of heroin that was in the city streets in the late. Nineteen. Eighty early, ninety Ninetys and the third ultimately made an indictment they indicted Vinny most of the. Characters running a very large a large heroin trafficking ring He want to trial, as did about probably about nine others. Vinny. At a very good lawyer had been Brackman. Theirs alone is well known in the criminal justice field. He represented Dominique Strauss. Later on
a very strong lawyer and the case with against any really was problematic and embracing did a very good job, I sort of exploiting those weaknesses and arguing to the jury that look. They made a mistake with any yes he's a gambler. We have tapes, saying Vinnie's a gambler, but we don't have any tapes, putting him in the middle of heroin ring or on operations. Many got off a number of others warrants a lucky and they got convicted mega long censuses, in jail, but any got off and know it should have been his wake up. Call thy and told them said: look very carefully
You don't know what just happened when you just got to quit it here. This doesn't happen. Every day, yeah nine out of ten people in federal court is going to get convicted. Vinny avoided that he got acquitted. Bratton says, look just forget about this life, go away, so your businesses and do something else. If I get a I've been a gorgeous, and me about Santa of you know, gave me a knowing smile and said Ok! Now you basically saying to himself look: I know how to live my life. You know how to do your business I'll. Do my my way and that that was that and that led on to his next phase of the life was bullet dodgy one bullet he going to get gonna get ensnared in some other stuff, which is what happened now tell us that this is of a good
lesson for the FBI and authorities themselves, because they do a wire tap and, and, like you said, the evidence is out of this week, but it wasn't that strong and- and he had a really strong lawyer, which can be expected when a guy has monies light and is fighting for his life. You know some, so they knew that wire tap, probably wasn't the best thing, but anyway, how does the FBI now or the authorities basically. To gain information on Vinny gorgeous. Well, ultimately, what happened after the blue thunder case any goes about his life he's doing this thing with the crime family, but he's really not on the radar in a big way way is ultimately the guy in about early two thousand. Came in, I came into the rate or the FBI sites, so they went after machine O the f B. I did in this offensive
and that the Bronx wing of the family, which was really Vinnie, swing, wasn't getting that much attention in terms of prosecution? Ultimately they got it. I got Messina, they got him arrested, And that the sea, no no, he was going to be arrested guys like Basano to sort of help out and running the family that in stock, as were in his power, and his ability to do things. So if any now was more of a name and you had more recognition and the FBI, started to put together resources to go after the Bronx, the Bronx wing of the Bonanno family. Focusing on Vanni and some others patty concerns captain and how you know got convicted, and this is the famous story
Masino within minutes of his conviction, decided he was going to cooperate with the FBI and This was a song and dance that went on with the FBI this for while they weren't sure about Joe. They didn't know what he had. He gave a couple of things he pointed out where some bodies were literally buried in a lot in queens, but ultimately it was when both Vinnie and Joe we're in the federal lock up together. The thing started to happen Joe learns in meeting these guys roll out of me when they have the same then the same criminal case code. Meaning Joe learns that Pizarro we talked about earlier was was dead. Joe had sanctioned Vinnie sort of indicates that something happened.
And ultimately, Joe and Vinny have more conversations, and this is where the record gets a little strange. There was no tape recordings of these conversations. I Sena swears that Bassiana told him about the Bazol homicide, the for us and also about the idea of going after a federal prosecutor who they wanted to harm. There was no no of those conversations. So how goes back to the FBI and tells him about these interchange exchanges They then wire up Joe Main, the first time a mob bosses. Official boss has ever been wired up and that's in chapter two of the book they send in to meet
basin in the recreation area of the jail and Massino makes these tapes and if you listen to the tapes, they're really works of art machine is basically a neophyte sort of spy This point, but he's doing a pretty good job, he sort of blood bash on a down the garden path and tells gets. You need to admit that they had a conversation about taking a prosecutor, but by shadow doesn't admit to really wanted to do that. He said, let's all forget about forget about it's kind of like or financing and but by Sean does. To indicate in those conversations that he did order the hit against Paolo, but then he pulled it back. He canceled it
but he knew about it that he didn't know where he is he's a critical indications that he was involved in the puzzle here. So the feds take that yes, the I takes that may said mom you know we have enough, maybe to build a case and they started building a case and that's when the dominoes start to fall after that friend of acid in your head. So, let's just go back just a little bit, because the the the amazing thing that we that you write about- Main, and they talk about the Marat and, America, America. Nobody is how your words are. You know we should have a question about this. I think it's not a. I should get you get beaten up. Okay, so anyway talk to those he's up for murder and so he's up for seven murders and saw how many people turned state's evidence against him was amazing. Again
I even yeah against man, he had six major cooperators, including his brother, in law. Salva. Yeah, I was raised pretty heavy. That's a pretty heavy load of women against you and Joe knew at that point that he had a long road against them and defending that case, that was a major captains and major people in his family gave evidence consistently. Yeah, so he would, he was done in an again amazing. Almost very movie ask as well so right after that, its he's right in the judges chambers going listen. Can we make it here It's amazing I mean Joe. Has it figured out this a long time before you got convicted that this case is going south on me? I've got to do something much my car by one court. One card is really to cooperate at that point. Joe didn't really have that much to give and the F b I was skeptical of it.
You know, but they talk with him for a period of months. And finally, the thing happened with Bassiana and was able to take these conversations now from that they have that little bit of evidence, but of course they they want to make an iron clad case here, so I found it very interesting that you write and, of course you have this incredible access again what we spoke about in the in the introduction very interesting and agent name James, these stefano- and I asked you any relation, no relation whatsoever, God was wiring mosquito up, but we're talking about some formation. How are they now going to try to reprove approach, trying to get an iron, clad charge, prosecution and conviction on Barcelona? How it is going to go about this at this time? For what they did was the use, the evidence, then the sea and given them the tape evidence and they charged
I recall, Basano and Dominic Sakali in this situation,. And successfully once he got arrested ultimately decided to cooperate against Pasiano. So I gave a great deal of evidence against Bassiana. Tell us that our audience doesn't know who that is in so tell us who the Collie is and then his relation to Bassano Dominic Kelly was Russia right hand, man, the sort of young, the brother type person is a were handsome guy strapping Italian, Sort of crude on Paul but he had a lot of his own charisma Vinny, I think so on is like son, a son figure and he was a guy who who, in
an with with Basciano and others in the family and became took, was under Bassianus wing and ultimately became a soldier, and then he came up and captain in the crime family, and he did a lot of stuff with any. They did the gambling things and, as it turned out and as we heard in court, it was a Kelly who orchestrated the details of the puzzle, a murder, and he said he swears that this was. On Bassi Ano say so in order, the evidence gets a little strange here. Becaus Sakali admits that one Vinny got arrested, that he came himself canceled the hit against Pozzolo, but then a new acting boss and the family guy by the name of Michael Mann. Kuzo, supposedly put it back on. So you have this
interesting, break in and and the in the way this case goes. But, ultimately, you know the jury, listen to sick Callie and they they believe them on this. They believe that it was enough for Vinnie to get the snowball rolling down the hill as it were, that need them more responsibility for his all those homicide in late, two thousand and four. So that's. What happened on that is. The county gave it a lot of evidence, first hand. Evidence Masino broadly gave the indicate that it was Basano who indicated himself that he knew what was going on with the police. So you got these two major chunks of evidence against
many of these other witnesses, filling in of some of the details and but larger that was a Kelly fortified by machine. Miss you know, one flat flat out testified that many told him that he ordered to oppose all accounts. So you know you get that kind. Evidence and it's really hard to beat, and that was a long struggle of any and it was ultimately as an exercise in futility. Now you single out some fine agents here that done some hard work. That's been on a banana crime. Family kind of business for many years in writing the the da but tell us some of the characters that were involved in some of the people behind the scenes that we're trying to get this prosecution, these charges of
for court well, the two agents who did the initial heavy lifting on or just select and came Mccaffrey. They were part of this banana team led by Jack stooping. Sort of supervisory agent Select Mccaffrey, where young age right out of the academy, but their accounts, so they follow the money trail which ultimately got implicated a lot of bad stuff. Select an agent to stay. We're the ones who wired up Messina. The the interesting thing is that Sino really like select
It was later arrested and they need treated him. You know courageously when dignity and that that little bonding you know played out later on because it was so let missing or approached initially to see the judge alternative. The marshals had a had a technician on site you then had MIKE Breslin is now a supervisory agent. I think in Philadelphia who put together the case against Basano and his sort of wing of the family. And so you have a you know a lot of things going on. You had a lot of moving parts here, but basically you have about a cadre of a good three or four agents who were able to do the heavy. And get this case going into. It really is a testament to the way the FBI bills, these historical mob cases yeah they go back. They built a historical case again, since you know once once you know, got ensnared.
A historical case against Bassiana when the Bronx wing of the family and once they start focusing on that. Well, you know what happens you know. Everything starts to fall into place because a lot of guys who get arrested. Just don't want to do that. Time in jail. They don't want to keep with the old loyalties and they they state's evidence, evidence what that's what happened here. Buddy mosquito engendered no loyalty passion in the end, didn't engender any loyalty among his underlings and that's what happened: we want a sort of holding the passion of the true believers he's not doing it any cooperation. In fact, I don't know what the cooperating at about. If you wanted to yeah.
Yeah I had last somewhere for you yeah, nothing. Is it you? You really describe that domino effect to once they have one someone is and snared them. They they look for the other person and then to give him an offer. He can't refuse and she's looking at the rest of his life in prison, like you say, know how much honor would really I mean, do cracks along time before you. You point out that initially there was always this connection right back to Sicilian, neighborhood or village. In ITALY, so that they could go back and and but that had been not been the case in Mafia in America, for many years anyway had met. Much of what happened was that You know, certainly in the early days of the banana crime fan with Joe Banano, He had a lot of extended relations with cousins or uncles, and people who are close from the old country gradually that war out and what you had a bosses are leading.
Or combinations of people. For the money you and not, really, there's not really much loyalty. The old loyalty is really not there. It's real. Money making proposition- and you know a lot of people there americanized and middle class A lot of them are old and they want to spend whatever time they have left outside of prison, so they're going to cooperate the best job. Somebody once said to me that some of these neighborhoods now is to become a federal witness. You know the mafia doesn't give you a retirement plan. Better diamond plan is to be a confidential informant. Where maybe you know like machine
you'll, be able to live some of your time remaining time out of jail. You might get social security, you might get a stipend and see no did very well at all this. I gotta tell you credited with twelve homicides. He spent about one thousand and eleven years in jail and he's going to be out in about sixty days or so so, and he keeps us some assets. He keeps pension and annuity and he keeps his social, so is Joe, is going to live, and it's not going to be back in the old neighborhood and I don't think it's going to be with his family anywhere near him. He's going to be comfortable and he's going to be able to much on a tiny had left and he is not well physically hasn't been he'll live it as a free man. That freedom going to be worth: that's for him to decide but clearly
was he comes out of this? Probably the the best of everybody, that's my view that was special on he's he's looking at you know this very, very serious charges, a you talk about in the book how we he goes back to brass men. And asked him if he could represent him and what's the answer, and why does Brockman say no and wood, Oh Brad mentality that wasn't gonna represent he wanted to get away from these mob type clients- and he said he just Didn'T- want to have it anymore and he told him look, I'm doing have a big white Our practice some, I really don't want to represent people in this life. I can't help you and although I mean it, wasn't a total severance, I think, for a short period of time, a colleague of Breton.
Represented by Sean at his arraignment on the big federal case. But, ultimately you know he severed the tides he just had other fish to fry. You know I had Dominique Strachan, he had a lot of white collar cases. Ben has done very well in this life. After these really and successes with monsters, so he told them- you know we're out of here maybe somewhat call, but you make a decision, I want to get too close some of these guys breath and torment. There are lawyers who got ensnared by being too close to some of these clients discredit, Brackman did very well now you talk about another, be a person, I believe, Tommy Lee, that's maybe, not the epitome of the ethical lawyer that Brockman at least
I would like that yeah yeah Tommy Lee. You know he was yeah. He was a lawyer out of the Bronx worked with Vinnie an represented some of his people in gambling cases when they got arrested, and it seemed that you know from what we saw in LA in the cases that Tommy you know was really kind of enamored. With these guys- and for a while he was carrying messages back and forth between the sino and the outside world. Well, that's a no! No was a lawyer, because I put you right in the middle of things: timely got arrested, he played out pretty quickly and he turned states evidence. You know he was not a an italian a member of the mob. But you know he had a lot to lose and he lost his law practice. At least you know that's the way it is right. And he you know you move away, he had to move away, but he gave states evidence. He gave evidence against Vinny. And some others and you know was another sort of nail
and then his coffin to were Lee turn on him as well What are the officials to do that yeah? How did they proceed? Proceeded trial too? I mean we're looking at a death penalty case were capital case here. So tell us what his lawyers did do or how they tried to attempt to defend him or what they try to do. Look at these tapes machine on aid recordings. They are what they are. You mean is not a bridge to whether or not know the jury hears them. So what the defense try to do is say, look many saying what he's saying, but he's really lying to Joe in trying to take the weight to keep Joe away from Dominic securely from thinking Don I operated on his own Vinny was taking the heat and trying to say that he organized
the murder of pisolo as a way of defending He was spinning a yarn, in other words with the scene. Now that was the way the defense try to spin the tanks. I gotta tell ya it's hard. It's like you're, trying to say well, he said what he said. What he said was was a fairy tale and if you listen to those tapes in that's, not what it's going to come out of it. You know if you're not going to prevail with that and you know Vinnie got convicted. Now we figure that Vinny was going to get convicted in that case anyway, there real battle is going to be over the death penalty because he was charged in a death penalty, count with Pozole's murder and that I would have been the first execution of a main New York City, mobsters, lamenting, forties Louis Lucky was executed.
And so that was a real struggle, the death penalty, phase of this case- and that's where the defense, really, I thought you Know- was able to to turn the tide listed. Many something like a prison, hey much, but it's something other than that. Now. What was the strategy in terms of the death penalty of we alluded to it in the introduction? But what? What really? Where you? Can you defend and and say that there are some mitigating factors who then discount? Yes, family? This is basically three prong, so that one is that many as wild and crazy as a government painted them. What do you? well under the government's control with a life sentence in the supermax prison and say Colorado. That's one argument. The other argument is that has redeeming qualities as a human being is a father, as somebody has done.
A lot of charity for for people who really knew the other is that looks okay, Vinnie's convicted of that was all a murder is convicted earlier, not in this case an illusion, Toro murder in, The prosecution claims you may or may not have been of all the other plan or alleged homicides attempted homicide, but Joe Massino, the boss of the family, kill twelve people My was will involve the all a the centre on the side. These other characters who have cooperated or aren't being given the death penalty was just a couple of Vinny or, more so know, isn't really equitable to do that,
and those are three pretty strong arguments Marshall by the defense. I sought in this case now, if only, I think the fact that machine I had such a bloody record himself made it to the jury, aim imposter, moral calculation to make for the death penalty and they voted to give any, not death but life in prison, and that's how that case ended Any gets another life sentence and he's out in Supermax in Colorado and from what I hear he's doing region. Well liking the food, liking the facility more than the other places he's been in. And he's got a life to think about gel is appealing and we'll see where that goes. But for the moment, that's where he's at what's the relationship,
Is it Angela she's one yeah? She She was there now and again the trial There are no longer married, but she does keep in touch with them. And she is supportive in the sense that you know she keeps in contact. You know they have four kids together. So they have to something something binds them and it's an interesting turn of events, because it was a very public betrayal on on his part of her body. You know this of this other girl from the child because it became very public and normally it doesn't come that, but this became Republican became very cini and very tawdry in the tabloids how to field day with it and she's a very private woman, but you know she sort of rolled with the punch.
It is one thing I must tell you, when the sea no. When we came down on the scene was of witness they took, was you know out of the jail where brush on a was Robbie is reasons yeah? They took him to a secure facility, I'm hold it and see. You know, while he was in the jail, had a pillow because he's a big guy any had problems sleeping so him a pill, and once you know, laughs, hello was offered the bus channel Lashandra. So there's no way when I rest my head on that pillow. This is what I'm told well for the now. What was a what was his demeanor, and behaviour like Vinnie at well. I mean he was know he I think he was getting frustrated with the court. He thought the judge was again
spar with his defence attorneys over tactics? He started off attorneys over tactics and I I think, because he was in solitary for so long. It somehow affected his emotional makeup, he seemed to to be on top of I kept incredibly it physically physically look fine, but I think you know it it was a number to an element of paranoid that crept in when you're in isolation. For so long, but I mean he now you have the case at all our first with the judge, but generally one fine. You know it wasn't really that many sharp issues. What was his reaction to people like Missy, no and
other people testifying against him. Did he have what was his reaction? Visibly none non. He sort of shake his head now and then in word out, like a border, supposedly sporting out in the Boston case but really didn't happen really wasn't a factor. He kept his cool as it were for the most part. I don't look directly at each other, yeah incredible. So as anyone interviewed Basciano since the verdict at all. Now I tried I am you know I I I I offered I wanted to interview for the book, but you know you can serve in a nice way to find. Somebody told me that you know just one look. Look as on his mob, you know we took that. We took that for what
These were interviewed his wife in two thousand and six. She gave me a nice long interview, but this time around and she wanted to keep her own counsel and she would want to comment for the book. But I gotta tell you, there's a lot of stuff. I was able to derive showed me. What is thinking was about a lot of things. For example it inside well, I. It is feeling about the meetings with Massino in jail, there's a different spin that comes to that apparently, it was Massino supposedly raised the issue of the prosecutor. Then he chimed in a way that was
from what I've read was more in jest than anything, no just blowing off steam. Does that kind of thing you know, apparently from what I'm hearing he wasn't that missed with the Zalo with Dole's work and contractor, which is one of the various governments. Pun What I found interesting too, as we didn't talk about, was again tartar practically all
what we're doing Right Leon Louis Bigelow yeah, where everybody thinks he is a Senate, so they're they're talking like they think he's wired anyway, tell us a little about that, because he really thought yeah Bigelow. He came back to New York. After being in he said he was thinking. Well, look big, lose on probation, he's going back to New York to talk to us wise guys, he's not supposed to do that. Yeah. I didn't sit right now. Why she's doing and why you're coming back many from what I understand- thought that there's a chance that Tartag wasn't informant, but you know he talked to them in the beginning and gradually he sort of the back pedal and really started to keep start tackling on it arms length, ultimately,
it sort of sensed it was one part tightly own offered, Vinnie some hot Kruger, rands and stolen. I came out of yeah. They said that later we learned that thing you said yeah the fact that in the case studies big, Louise and and sure enough, big Louis, wasn't informed, and about two days later the arrest came down, not a Bassiana, but some other people. People are at that meeting Asian had good instincts and these guys are not supposed to be fraternizing with other mobsters one hour on probation so Louis, coming back to New York, fraternize, most bessie and or red flag. The other really tiptoeing in in conversation with them do what they yeah. They really were. First conversation, they weren't so much. The second conversation with many was kind of shaky with this Steve is really backpedaling tip, tiptoeing
round of different things, and it was then that they told the gloomy look like go back. The Florida then say snatch. They just go back we need to we'll call big, and that effectively stop that investigation in it tracks because of that incident itself, but stop big Louise uses an informant, but it don't matter at that point they had enough so Two days they were dieting some of the other people in that meeting and big low turn out to be actually a pretty good witness in the Cenos case, and not so bad and bass and those kinds the of the Tolly was the guy with that was the big guy and the scene. Okay, so it really have the biggest mall father deal with me yeah he was, he
Vitali knew a lot about Joe grew up with them married Joe married his sister. So the brother and was in over tally knew about some of the murders that Joe it planned. He knew about just gambling you about your loan sharking operations. So what do you got? You know you've got. Somebody was your closest confidant, testifying against you, and the tallies evidence was like the keystone to the case, the other informants, the other captains who testified, provided information about different segments of the case, but was
how he was sort of with the overarching centerpiece that kept everything together in a cohesive that was a big blow to show and the tally is now he's in the witness protection program to is out of prison, not interesting. Now, if you know these numbers, but it is a staggering amount of numbers and and success by the FBI and authorities in general, but I know the banana family, New York, city's biggest crime family-
How many people went down, I'm not say break it up into captains and soldiers, but what kind of numbers are we talking about in terms of? We are definitely targeting and easily anywhere between seventy five to a hundred members and associates clean the boss and also very very acting bosses. That's a that's! A pretty good estimate. The Genovese family had some movement on price but they're relatively cohesive. The Gambino family You well know the problems of gaudy had their problems, but they're kind of like reconstituting and the other families. Will the Colombo's and the banana really sort of trying to pick up the pieces probably I don't think very well a
It'll happen I'll take years, but not gonna, be like I was there. Thing is what I find very interesting to us, how everybody, not everyone, but there are a lot of guys. I guess the time has passed, or they feel free or they in other vein, if they want to. They want to be in a book, so there's a heck of a lot of guys come in for that want to talk and write, books and interviewed it's in. It's kind of interesting yeah. I mean that is the real hard core guys know like Basciano. I don't you know, I don't think they're going to do that I'll, miss you know. Who knows I mean and always for doing this. You know I'm knocking on my door, maybe to write this it a story to fill in the blanks. Wait too long. You know now I think he'll just want to sort of fade away. He doesn't need the money and I doesn't need to market himself anymore,
as some of the other guys. I don't know you know you're going to see, I think low level people you know might but the hey. You know now all right, everybody's doing stuff about mom merely if you're, not a mob people writing about yeah you save a single did, sold sold well compared to everyone else. Did yeah. You surprised that a guy like that it would or were you not surprised at a guy like that without all his abilities could come out so sweet out of where everybody else didn't. Surprised that he amassed as much wealth as he did. You was shoveling and money from all sorts of places and He had he was taking money from guys. You didn't even though the last names wise men's first first matter, but he
asks. You know we gave the government ten million dollars in cash from gold bars, but you know so he had a store in a house. You know it's an incredibly deadly afraid that plays on burned down. I never leave the house, but Joe had all this dash, and this was an incredible amount of money. He also had real estate, which is able to keep some of, and he had business interests and they had a lot going form. I was surprised at the volume of the assets you have because none of the other bosses we've seen has compiled anywhere near this in terms of just cold hard cash. Now you say, ten million is is that this is ten May
was the the find that the the government said you got to give us ten million or we're gonna take. It was money forfeited after he got convicted. What they estimated is illegal, take game were ten million dollars were written a check for that but they went out and was proceeding where these were. They seized the assets but that is the that is before he walked in and said. Listen, let's make a deal so they could see. I didn't want to edit yeah. What happened was as I recall, maybe a little checking on the timing of this Joe got convicted. No, I think what happened was a Joe got convicted and walked into the judge, and I recall right. If they had a proceeding on forfeiture that afternoon and the forfeiture came down so they had have ten million dollar judgment against
Well, you had a pretty good. He had a pretty good lawyer for because really, what was stopping them from taking much more why you got a shadow council. And that was a well known former prosecutor at Mcdonald in New York who prosecutor Joe back in the nineteen eighties on some other racketeering case he had, but the court apply Mcdonald, a shadow council a secret council, Minos. Regular council didn't know about it and it was the shadow solar represented Joe in his negotiations with the government to become a cooperative And struck a pretty good deal yeah, a protected Joe's interest, and he money had to give up, and then You know
any of Joe wanted to keep assets. They want to keep you want to keep his mothers house. You wanted to keep his wife's house. You wanted to keep something for his wife and family, so they could survive on some sort of income stream. So Mcdonald had a pretty good job. I thought of protecting those interests. Yeah Joe had a pretty good lawyer and they shadow lawyers, we call it yeah, I found it. I found it very interesting because I've not really heard of anybody that survived keeping as much money as he did and also his freedom and twelve murder. So he did wonder really yeah well, like I said, is the one sort of comes out ahead. If you want to call it that, on this whole sort of situation, and Fasiano has his I was gonna, imprison ethics and got his ethics, so to speak right.
I'm not anyone else it he had. No one else did yeah, it's incredible. The Tony. This is another great book with many gorgeous the rise and ugly fall of a the ugly rise and fall of a New York mobster hello. Thank you very much. How can that people get a hold of you if they have any questions or the like to just face for fear? I have what he I have a. I have a home on Facebook, this Tony just Stephan or Anthony M. The Stefano either one I am also out of a website Tony Stefano dot com, another. The best ways to reach me through emails to my website or through Facebook. After I'm field questions, help when I can, I couldn't tell you know what I'm not readers to get in touch with me. Never a variety of reasons. You know either one. No certain things are,
they want to know other sources of information. And where I can, you know, help people. I have some secret sources, but those stay confidential as we all try to do Well, yes, I again, I want to thank you very much for coming on and talking about you're newest release, Vinnie Gorgeous and much Tony and have yourself a great evening. Thank you very much. And thank you very much for having me hope you can do it again. Okay, thank you. Have a good night if you owned your car for a while, or maybe you got a great deal on a used vehicle that feels new to you AAA has a vehicle protection plan that fits your needs and your budget, let's face it unexpected An expensive repairs can pop up. That's why
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Transcript generated on 2021-06-10.