A Most Happy Fella


A goodfella, turned oldfella, is now a freefella.

Vincent Asaro embraced his attorneys, Elizabeth Macedonio and Diane Ferrone, in Brooklyn Federal Court Thursday after he was acquitted of all charges including the iconic $6 million 1978 Lufthansa heist immortalized in Martin Scorcese’s Goodfellas and the 1969 murder with a dog chain of a suspected Mafia snitch.

“I can’t believe it,” said Asaro, as he sank back into his chair after hearing the panel’s verdict.

Prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s office couldn’t believe it either. They replayed to the panel surveillance footage and recordings between Asaro and his turncoat cousin, Gaspare Valenti, the FBI informant whose testimony helped bring charges against Asaro, but after two days of deliberation, the jury found the old gangster not guilty.

The jurors, who began deliberations on Monday, reached the verdict unanimously. After one juror read, “not guilty,” on the first count, everyone in the courtroom was stunned. Prosecutors used testimony from other alleged Mafia figures and retired FBI agents who specialized in organized crime, but even after four weeks of surveillance accounts, were not able to link Asaro to the charges.

Asaro thanked Judge Allyne R. Ross twice before leaving the room after the trial was dismissed.

The 80-year-old retired mobster left the courthouse with his arms victoriously stretched out to each side. “Free!,” he shouted. “Id like to thank the U.S. Marshall Service for treating me great,” said Asaro, with Macedonio and Ferrone at his sides. “I can’t say the same for the FBI.”

“It was her (the prosecutor’s) overkill,” Asaro responded to reporters who asked what he believed was the key to winning the case.

In closing statements, Macedonio argued that Valenti was an “experienced liar,” and the surveillance accounts and footage of Asaro proved nothing. Two weeks ago when prosecutors displayed phone books tying Asaro to the Bonanno crime family, Ferrone also argued that having a contact number didn’t mean anything. “Your honor, if I had Charles Manson’s number in my phone book, would I be committing a crime?” Ferrone asked Ross.

Asaro, who has been in jail since January 2014, said he couldn’t wait to go home and have a cooked meal. But before leaving Cadman Plaza, the jubilant freefella joked with reporters about the Mets game and “Goodfellas”. “Don’t believe everything you see in the movies,” he said, laughing.

“Don’t let them see the body in the trunk,” Asaro joked before he entered Macedonio’s car.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply