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Busting the Mob

Busting the Mob: The United States v. Cosa Nostra

James B. Jacobs
Christopher Panarella
Jay Worthington
Copyright Date: 1994
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 292
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  • Book Info
    Busting the Mob
    Book Description:

    Since Prohibition, the Mafia has captivated the media and, indeed, the American imagination. From Al Capone to John Gotti, organized crime bosses have achieved notoriety as anti- heroes in popular culture. In practice, organized crime grew strong and wealthy by supplying illicit goods and services and by obtaining control over labor unions and key industries. Despite, or perhaps because of, its power and high profile, Cosa Nostra faced little opposition from law enforcement. Yet, in the last 15 years, the very foundations of the mob have been shaken, its bosses imprisoned, its profits diminished, and its influence badly weakened. In this vivid and dramatic book, James B. Jacobs, Christopher Panarella, and Jay Worthington document the government's relentless attack on organized crime. The authors present an overview of the forces and events that led in the 1980s to the most successful organized crime control initiatives in American history. Enlisting trial testimony, secretly taped conversations, court documents, and depositions, they document five landmark cases, representing the most important organized crime prosecutions of the modern era - Teamsters Local 560, The Pizza Connection, The Commission, the International Teamsters, and the prosecution of John Gotti.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-4395-9
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
    James B. Jacobs
  5. PART I

    • 1 Introduction
      (pp. 3-28)

      For most of the twentieth century, what has been called the “Mafia,” “Cosa Nostra,” or simply “organized crime” seemed as inevitable as increased taxes. Some Mafia chieftains even attained widespread public notoriety and were treated like folk heroes in their neighborhoods, cities, and beyond. People who understood power and “the way things worked” in New York and other large cities recognized organized crime as a key player in politics, vice, and legitimate industry ranging from shipping and trucking to garbage disposal and the garment trade.

      Despite, or perhaps because of, its power and pervasiveness, with a few notable exceptions Cosa...

  6. PART II

    • 2 Teamsters Local 560: United States v. Local 560 (IBT) (Filed March 1982; Decided February 1984)
      (pp. 31-78)

      United States v. Local 560 (IBT)is the most important civil labor racketeering case ever brought by the Justice Department against a union local.¹Local 560broke new ground because it was the first time the Department of Justice brought a civil RICO action against a labor union. Unlike a traditional organized-crime criminal prosecution, this suit did not aim for a criminal conviction. Instead, the Justice Department sought to free Local 560 from the influence of organized crime by means of a wide-ranging civil injunction. The litigation that began in the early 1980s and continues into the early 1990s reveals...

    • 3 The Commission: United States v. Salerno (Trial: September–November 1986)
      (pp. 79-128)

      United States v. Salernoaimed to fell all of New York City’s Cosa Nostra leaders with a single stroke. The indictment charged the bosses of New York City’s Cosa Nostra crime families and several of their subordinates with constituting and operating a “commission” that served as a board of directors and supreme court for the mob. In proving its case, the government sought to place the defendants within the history of Cosa Nostra. In a real sense, the case was about whether it is a crime, meriting life imprisonment, to be a Cosa Nostra boss. Ultimately, the jury, the judge,...

    • 4 The Pizza Connection: United States v. Badalamenti (Trial: October 1985–February 1987)
      (pp. 129-166)

      United States v. Badalamentiexposed a heroin-trafficking conspiracy that emerged in the aftermath of the breakup of the French Connection in the early 1970s.¹ The case came to be known as the “Pizza Connection case” because several of the defendants used pizzerias as fronts for engaging in heroin distribution. It was the longest organized-crime trial and culminated the largest and most complex of the decade’s organized-crime investigations.Badalamentiexposed organized crime’s involvement in drug trafficking and the extensive cooperation between the American Cosa Nostra and the Sicilian Mafia. The case also demonstrated the extraordinary efforts American and foreign law enforcement...

    • 5 Teamsters International: United States v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters (Complaint filed June 1988; Settlement signed March 1989)
      (pp. 167-210)

      United States v. International Brotherhood of Teamstersis the Department of Justice’s most ambitious labor racketeering suit and perhaps the most farreaching effort at institutional reform through litigation ever attempted. The civil RICO suit charged Cosa Nostra members and the Teamsters’ general executive board (GEB) with running the nation’s largest union as a racketeering enterprise in which union officials obtained mob support for their union careers and the mob obtained all kinds of opportunities for siphoning money out of the union and its employers. Ultimately, the suit was settled, with the Teamsters agreeing to a three-person trusteeship that, over the...

    • 6 The Dapper Don: United States v. Gotti (Trial: February 1992)
      (pp. 211-240)

      United States v. Gottiwas the culmination of a determined government effort to convict a mob boss who, in the public mind, had come to symbolize the power and persistence of organized crime. The prosecution’s success depended in part, however, upon the cooperation of a mob defector who, on the basis of his record, warranted the most serious government attention and societal condemnation. The Gotti conviction was attributable to many other important, and yet controversial, decisions, including the trial judge’s disqualification of the defense lawyers who had represented Gotti (with great success) and other members of his crime family for...


    • 7 A Post-1980 Bibliography of Organized Crime
      (pp. 243-268)

      Part 3 includes four organized-crime bibliographies from 1980.*As we emphasized in the preface, scholarship on organized crime is difficult to carry out. Data are neither reliable nor readily available. There is no ongoing government data collection and no opportunity for participant observation. The explosion of government activity in the 1980s has generated an enormous amount of raw material that has scarcely been mined. It has also generated a steady stream of popular books, articles, and government hearings and reports.

      The strike force cases section of this bibliography lists all of the indictments obtained by the fifteen federal strike forces...

  8. Index
    (pp. 269-276)
  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 277-277)