“Lawyers Hold Roast Of Mob Witnesses Jury To Be Charged After Summations”

Philadelphia Daily News (PA)

Attorney Robert Madden yesterday suggested that with all these mob witnesses going into the federal Witness Protection Program, they could take up new jobs.

His suggestions:John Veasey, who admitted torturing a victim by drilling holes in his head with a power drill until the bit broke, could become a “Black and Decker salesman.”

James Lynch, an enforcer who once severed the head from a toy poodle belonging to a non-paying customer, could start a “pet grooming service.”

Rosario Conti Bellocchi, the ex-fiance of Stanfa’s daughter, who shoved a shotgun that misfired in his rival’s face, could run a “skeet shooting service.”

Phil Colletti, a hit man who manufactured a bomb in his basement, could ”join the L.A. bomb squad.”

And Thomas “Santa Claus” Rebbie, a mob volunteer who kept handcuffs in his trunk for what he called “sexual contact,” could be a handcuff salesman.

As the jurors laughed at these suggestions, Madden, who represents Raymond Esposito, offered a way jurors could consider witness testimony where “part of the story is true and part of it is lying.”

Citing an adage used in the law: “False in part, false in all,” Madden suggested they discount the witnesses’ entire testimony.

Again and again yesterday Madden and four other defense attorneys ridiculed the credibility of these witnesses in closing arguments in U.S. District court.

Howard Popper, attorney for Herbert Keller, will be the last to close before the defense rests today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Gross will offer rebuttal.

And U.S. District Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter will charge the jury late in the day. The jurors are not expected to begin deliberations until tomorrow.

Yesterday, attorney Brian McMonagle took the witness stand, raised his right hand and mocked the oaths the witnesses took. “My name is John Veasey and when I murder men, I am happy . . .

“My name is Rosario Bellocchi and people trust me. Mr. DiGiacomo trusted me and I blew his brains out. The FBI trusted me and I escaped,” said McMonagle, who represents reputed mob underboss Frank Martines.

“No matter how you dress them up, those four unholy men )Veasey, Colletti, Bellocchi and Rebbie) will never wash the blood off their hands . . . ” he said.

The jury was spellbound watching McMonagle’s 1 1/2-hour tour de force from the witness stand, to showing charts, to emphasizing his points by repetition as he moved about the court room.

McMonagle pointed out that Martines had not discussed any crimes on any of the 116 tape-recorded conversations, nor was he in any surveillance photos with the admitted killers he was supposed to have supervised.

He ridiculed Veasey’s story of his attempted murder by Martines and Pagano, who only had one gun between them. “Are you going to take him to a public place, then a meat store amd kill him so the FBI would listen to a murder?”

Attorney Felipe Restrepo said his client, Salvatore “Shotsie” Sparacio, abhorred violence because it was “not good for business.” He denied Sparacio was part of any murder plot.

Restrepo insisted his client was only a bookmaker, who had “to hock his wife’s jewelry.” He denied Sparacio headed a North Jersey gambling operation, reading his client’s tape-recorded remarks:

“All my life all I did was hustle. I had a few customers . . . scratched out a living. That’s all I ever did.”

Jeremy Gelb, in a quiet buildup, suggested his client, Vincent “Al Pajamas” Pagano, was a latecomer who arrived from Florida in September 1993. He couldn’t possibly have risen to the No. 3 spot in the mob, as Pagano boasted with Lynch, a guy he knew for years who was wearing a body wire.

Gelb denied Pagano conspired to kill Veasey, “a one-man crime wave.”

Sergio Battaglia’s attorney Robert Welsh said his client “talks the talk . . . ” but even Veasey and Colletti complained Battaglia was unable to kill.

Though Battaglia talked of pouring acid in the eyes of victims and dumping bodies from New York to Delaware, Welsh said, “he did not do one thing from that conversation and neither did John Stanfa.”

This content is no longer available at Philadelphia Daily News (PA)