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The 10-week-long Commission trial played to full courtrooms

April 18, 2021

Last of two parts. The Commission trial continued through November and into December of 1986.  The eight men on trial included New York’s top Mafia bosses and a few of their key underlings. The Manhattan courtroom was always standing room only. Arriving early in order to get a seat was worth the effort – this was the best show in town.  Defendant Carmine Persico, boss of the Colombo crime family, kept one thing in mind as he represented himself. It would take only one juror not to believe the prosecution’s case – one juror could give all eight defendants their freedom.  Persico had ...

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The Commission trial lifted the lid on the New York Mafia

First of two parts. In the annals of Mafia courtroom dramas, one case tends to stand above the rest, The…

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The afternoon that Joe Masseria dined on bullets

The tale of Giuseppe “Joe the Boss” Masseria’s assassination on April 15, 1931, is one of many gangland legends that…

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How Prohibition changed beer

For dedicated home brewers and beer snobs, the tale is familiar. Prohibition killed small and mid-sized breweries, and after repeal,…

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A new look at Tony Spilotro in upcoming movie

When mobster Tony Spilotro was active in Las Vegas decades ago, doors opened for him in Hollywood. As the Chicago…

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Nevada marks 90th anniversary of legal gambling

Ninety years ago today, Nevada legalized gambling. It changed everything — eventually. When Governor Fred Balzar signed Assembly Bill 98…

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Embattled ‘maxi-trial’ prosecutor takes on ’Ndrangheta

Nicola Gratteri has not been to a restaurant in 20 years. The 62-year-old lawyer eats in his office. His home,…

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El Chapo’s wife arrested in U.S., faces federal charges

Emma Coronel Aispuro may not be a household name, but the U.S. Justice Department believes she was a key accomplice…

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