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John “Sonny” Franzese

January 14, 2011 by USA Post 

John “Sonny” Franzese, (AP) – Condemned boss John “Sonny” Franzese is so old, he knew Frank Sinatra in his heyday. It is so old; his trial has recently become extortion naptime – even when his son was the turncoat witness against him.

But a federal judge ruled Friday that Franzese is not so old that he can avoid jail.

Franzese, 93, was sentenced to eight years in prison for extorting the Manhattan strip clubs and a pizzeria in New York on Long Island.

Prison Franzese appeared alert as he sat in a wheelchair in a federal court in Brooklyn. But when asked if he would speak, he managed only a fragmentation mumble: “I’ve never had a fair…”

Federal prosecutors had asked for at least 12 years behind bars for the underboss of the Colombo crime family – indeed, a lifetime. To strengthen their argument, they had an FBI agent testify on Friday that killed 60 people Franzese touted over the years and once considered putting a hit on his own son to become a collaborator of the government.

“For him to die in prison is not an inappropriate response to the life he led,” said Assistant Attorney Christina Posa.

Defence counsel Richard Lind argued that due to advanced age Franzese and a set of chronic diseases, a long sentence was unnecessary. He described the speech of gangland carnage “extolling pathetic.”

Sentencing a nonagenarian has not been easy, U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan said. But he also said he needed to send a message that “you can never escape the consequences of a life of organized crime.”

The sentencing was the latest chapter of a career criminal from the Great Depression.

Franzese’s first arrest, for assault, came in 1938. Prosecutors say he was expelled from the army four years later after displaying “homicidal tendencies.”

In 1947, court papers say he raped a waitress in a garage. In 1966, he beat the murder charge accusing him of murdering a rival and dumping the body – cement blocks chained to toe – in a bay.

Franzese was sentenced in 1967 to a bank robbery, and sent to prison on parole in late 1970. Although never convicted of another crime, authorities say he reached the second in command of Colombo, one of New York five Italian crime families.

According to legend Mafia, Franzese was a big spender and a regular at the Copacabana nightclub, where he consorted with Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. He also once had an interest in classic prn movie “Deep Throat”.

But in court documents, the government said Franzese true legacy was something closer to “Goodfellas”.

The main reason Franzese dodged arrest in other murders, that he became good at removing the bodies, the newspapers. The investigators caught on tape in 2006 for his favorite recipe for that: Dismember victim pool for children. Body parts Bake in microwave. Parts Stuff in waste disposal. Be patient.

“Today, you can not have a body anymore,” the court papers later quoted him saying. “It is better to take half an hour, an hour to get rid of the body that is just leave the body in the street. ”

The FBI arrested a crowd Franzese withdrawal in 2008. A jury convicted him last year on racketeering and other charges last year.

At trial, prosecutors used John Franzese Jr., a former associate Colombo has paid informant, to help convince jurors that his father’s frail appearance was deceiving. The defendant briefly asleep when her son began to testify.

“I’m not talking about my father as a man,” Franzese Jr. testified. “I speak of the life he chose. … This life absorbs you. You only see one way.”

Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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