Ex-Mob Boss Massino Will Walk a Free Man

For his 'cooperation' ratting out other mobsters, judge rules
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2013 10:22 AM CDT
Ex-Mob Boss Massino Will Walk a Free Man
Joseph "Big Joey" Massino, the head of the Bonanno crime family for 14 years, is seen in this undated file photo released by the U.S. Attorney's Office.   (AP Photo/US Attorneys Office, File)

Ratting out the mafia has paid off for notorious former mob boss Joseph Massino. Facing life in prison for his role in eight murders, he'll soon be walking away a free man as a reward for helping convict dozens of mobsters, including Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano, a Brooklyn judge ruled yesterday. Massino, head of the Bonanno crime family from 1991 to 2003, will be relocated, this time armed with a new identity as part of the witness protection program, the New York Post reports.

"Quite simply, Mr. Massino may be the most important cooperator in the modern history of law enforcement to prosecute the American Mafia," the judge said. Massino's lawyer argued his client, 70, is now a "very sick and tired old man" who regrets his mafia role. Massino, dressed in a track suit and velcro sneakers, had spent 12 years behind bars and forked over millions in loot to authorities. "I pray every night for all the people I hurt," he told the court. "Especially the victims' families." He'll be released after 60 days, reports the New York Times. (Read more Joseph Massino stories.)

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