Monday, November 16, 2009

Mafia boss Domenico Raccuglia captured

ROME -- Police captured one of Sicily's top Mafia fugitives on Sunday, dealing a stiff blow to the island's Cosa Nostra crime syndicate, Italian officials said.
Convicted mobster Domenico Raccuglia, who has been on the run for 15 years, now faces several life sentences for crimes including the murder of a rival's 9-year-old son, whose body was then thrown into a vat of acid.
Raccuglia was arrested in an apartment in a tiny town near Trapani, where he is believed to have had his power base, police said.
Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni described Raccuglia as Cosa Nostra's No. 2, and hailed his arrest as delivering "one of the hardest blows" to the Sicilian Mafia in the last few years.
Palermo Prosecutor Antonio Ingroia described Raccuglia as a rising star in the syndicate. He was listed as one of Italy's 30 most dangerous fugitives. We have captured one of the absolute heads of Cosa Nostra still in circulation in a moment of (his) ascent in the Mafia hierarchy," ANSA quoted Ingroia as saying.

The No. 1 Cosa Nostra fugitive on the island is considered to be Matteo Messina Denaro, who investigators believe also has his power base in western Sicily

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Gotti's mom unleashes tirade after jurors released

NEW YORK — John "Junior" Gotti's mother unleashed a profanity-laced tirade Wednesday after a judge dismissed two anonymous jurors at her son's racketeering trial, saying he was being cheated of a fair trial as his father had been.
"They're railroading you!" Victoria Gotti shouted as she stood in the spectator section several feet behind her son. "They're doing to you what they did to your father."
John Gotti Sr. was convicted of racketeering in 1991 after several previous trials had ended in deadlocked juries. He died in prison in 2002.
Mrs. Gotti's outburst came as the two-month trial nears its end and after several notes from jurors over a period of weeks indicated there were personality issues bothering some of them.
The trial is the fourth for Gotti in the past four years. The others ended in hung juries.
Even before the latest trial began, seven jurors asked to be relieved of the jury duty. Five complained of issues such as damage it would cause to their jobs or personal finances, but two suggested that they feared being on a jury for an organized crime trial.
Several weeks ago, the judge revealed that he had received an anonymous letter to the court purportedly from a juror who was angry that one juror seemed to be fawning over the defense lawyer's presentation. As a result, the judge questioned each juror about any concerns but none arose. Castel dismissed the two jurors Wednesday after one complained this week that a fellow juror had made her feel "very uncomfortable."The juror told Castel that the woman told her at one point: "I'd rather phony people not speak to me at all."
The juror added: "I don't need that. I should be spanking her."
Castel said he decided to release the two jurors from duty after receiving a letter from the government. The contents of the letter were not revealed.
The judge said judges have wide latitude to release jurors from duty before deliberations start. Three alternate jurors are left.
"This is a railroad job. Enough now. Enough," Mrs. Gotti said after the judge made his announcement outside the presence of the jury.
Gotti, seated at the time, turned his head around to look at his mother and said: "Ma. Ma. Please."
Later, he told his mother: "I can deal with it. I'm OK. Don't worry about it. I'm fine."
At one point, Mrs. Gotti shouted as she pointed toward prosecutors and the judge: "They're the gangsters, right there! ... Put your own sons in there. You bastards."
Still shouting, Mrs. Gotti was ushered out of court by her family and court security officers.
Gotti's lawyer, Charles Carnesi, objected to the dismissal of the jurors, saying the judge should have been more concerned about the anonymous letter he had received weeks ago from a juror who "objected to the fact that a juror was paying particular attention to the defense case and somehow found that to be offensive."
Closing arguments are expected next week.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Salvatore Russo camorra mafia clan captured

Rome - Italian police on Saturday said they arrested one of the country's most wanted mafia fugitives in a dawn raid near the southern city of Naples.Salvatore Russo, who heads a Camorra clan carrying his name and was sentenced to life in prison for homicide and links to organised crime, had been on the run since 1995, Naples police said in a statement.The arrest was made in a country house not far from where he was living.The Naples Camorra, which comprises several dozen often feuding clans, is believed to be 5 000-strong.