NEW YORK (AP) — A federal prosecutor urged a jury on Tuesday to reject defense arguments that the government used conniving turncoat mobsters to frame a reputed Mafia boss and another defendant in the brutal slayings of six victims, including an off-duty police officer.
"The government did not choose these men — the defendants did," Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Geddes said at the murder trial in federal court in Brooklyn. "They robbed with them and they killed with them."
In their summations, attorneys for Thomas "Tommy Guns" Gioeli, the alleged former boss of the Colombo crime family, and reputed mob soldier Dino "Little Dino" Saracino sought to convince the jury that key government witnesses — one an admitted hit man, another Saracino's brother — had lied on the witness stand in a bid for leniency.
Outside the turncoats' testimony, prosecutors offered no evidence proving that Gioeli ordered any of the killings, defense attorney Adam Perlmutter said Tuesday.
Gioeli, 59, "has been targeted relentlessly because he knows people the government doesn't like," Perlmutter said.
Jurors have heard one of the cooperators, Dino "Big Dino" Calabro, give dramatic testimony about the previously unsolved killing in 1997 of Officer Ralph Dols.
Investigators believe Dols ran afoul of the mob by marrying the ex-wife of Joel Cacace, another Colombo boss. Calabro, at the time a Colombo associate, described being recruited by Gioeli for a "piece of work" wanted by Cacace.
Gioeli misled Calabro by telling him the target was a worker at a Queens social club who was in trouble with the family, Calabro said. The witness described how he and Saracino donned baseball caps and gloves before confronting Dols as he got out of his car.
"What's up?" the officer asked before both men opened fire and left him fatally wounded on the street, Calabro said. The killers tossed their guns in the sewer as they fled, he said.
Calabro claimed he only learned the victim was a police officer by reading newspaper headlines the next day.
"I was amazed," he said. "We don't typically kill police officers. That's just the rule — you don't hurt kids and you don't kill cops."
Another witness, Saracino's brother Sebastian, testified that he was ordered to get rid of a Cadillac used in the Dols rubout. The testimony drew a courtroom outburst by Saracino.
"Don't call me your brother no more! ... Stop lying, Sebby!" the defendant shouted as he was being led to a holding cell while jurors took a break.
The jury could begin deliberating later Tuesday.