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After Vincent Esposito Guilty Plea Giovinco Found Guilty by Jury Now Gets 48 Months

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 22 – The remaining portion of the racketeering prosecution in which Vincent Esposito on April 10, 2019 pleaded guilty to extorting a union official and a financial adviser, resulted in finding of guilty by a  jury on December 3 in the case against Frank Giovinco, before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Jed S. Rakoff. The case is US v. Giovinco, 18-cr-14 (Rakoff).

  On June 22 Giovinco appeared between Judge Rakoff for sentencing; Inner City Press covered it.  He told the judge he had been offered a plea deal to 24 months but rejected it. Then this:

Giovinco faced 108 to 135 months as guideline.

His lawyer asks for 10 months, saying, "I'm not going to try to re-try the case."

 Judge Rakoff: Your client has more criminal history points. I am a critic of the guidelines. But this is just common sense.

 Defense lawyer: He has one prior, 20 years ago.

  AUSA: The defendant served two years for racketeer and it did nothing to chasten him. He kept bragging about his connections. He was a trusted soldier. It is astonishing he's asking for less time than for 1st offense.

 Defense lawyer: When Mr. Giavinco said, "Since I was 18," he meant he's been around unions since he was 18.

 Giavinco: Is it in my best interest to speak?

Judge Rakoff: I have never in my 24 years as a judge increased a sentence base on defendant speaking.

 Giavinco: I was offered a deal of 24 months. I turned it down. I agree I should never have approached him. It was not for a crime family. I was in the dark as to what was going on. I never asked him for money. If I'm this nefarious Mafia guy why didn't I threaten?

Judge Rakoff: I am always happy when someone goes to trial rather than pleads guilty, even if they are guilty. The legal system is put to the test, and the court learns fact. I impose no trial penalty, the guidelines do, with their "acceptance of responsibility." But I found the evidence more than sufficient beyond a reasonable doubt to convict. The is acting as a father and husband. The guidelines give almost no credit for that. But I do.  I sentence you to 48 months, to begin Sept 22 at 2 pm at the designated facility.

   In the government's closing back on December 2, Giovinco was described as sent into the union to check up on Vincent Fyfe, the grandson of Genovese boss Vince "The Chin" Gigante. The search of Vincent Esposito's townhouse at 67 East 77th Street was described and photos shown, of $4 million in cash in bags and boxes.

  The townhouse was listed as "Triangle," an echo of the Triangle Social Club on Sullivan Street where The Chin based the Genovese family for a time.

 Notably the US Attorney's press office is making available all exhibits from the Giovinco prosecution, as it did with the Londonio trial in White Plains, while it withholds nearly all exhibits from the recent OneCoin crypto currency scam trial against Mark Scott, which according to some involves Eastern European or Russian organized crime.

  On December 4 the US Attorney announced convicted yesterday of conspiring to commit extortion and racketeering offenses with members and associates of the Genovese Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra following a six-day jury trial before U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff.  The jury found the defendant responsible for acts involving extortion, honest services fraud, and unlawful kickback payments related to the Genovese Crime Family’s control of two local chapters of a labor union.  U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “For years, Frank Giovinco, as a member of the Genovese Crime Family, instilled fear in victims and propagated kickback schemes to tighten the Family’s stranglehold over two labor unions.  Now, a jury has held Giovinco accountable for his crimes.”  Sentencing before Judge Rakoff is scheduled for March 11, 2020.

  We'll have more on this - and more of the Giovinco exhibits, pending the release of the OneCoin / Scott exhibits which Inner City Press has now requested under FOIA.

   Co-defendant Steven Arena, it emerged at a status conference before SDNY Judge Marrero on May 10, has rejected a plea offer from the U.S. Attorney's office and now resists agreeing to any stipulations in connection with the trial.

   Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Ravener told Judge Marrero that what was scheduled, even before Esposito pled guilty, to be a two week trial beginning June 17 might now go three weeks or longer. She said that Arena through his lawyer Salvatore Strazzulla was resisting stipulating to the accuracy of bank records and e-mails.

 Judge Marrero called this a radical position, and asked Strazzula to explain the basis since this would require more time not only from the court but also from jurors. Strazzulla replied that the evidence against his client is weak, with Arena not appearing in many of the videos and e-mail chains the government has so far produced as discovery. (In the complaint, Arena is accused with others of threats to "induce a victim into providing annual cash payments... in order for the victim to maintain an official position with a labor union by threatening force and violence.")

 Additional discovery was provided by the government just this week and the trial will be pushed back. But will Arena and the other remaining co-defendant Frank Giovinco, reach a disposition or guilty plea by then? Or will Arena push the boundaries by disputing what have become routine stipulations? More on Patreon, here.

  Judge Marrero instructed Assistant U.S. Attorney Ravener to meet with Arena's lawyer Strazzulla about the stipulations, then to write him a letter is dispute still remain. How far does a defendant have to go in expediting the government's prosecution of him? Perhaps this trial, if there is one, will help illuminate this. The case is USA v. Esposito, et al., 18-cr-00014 (Marrero).

SDNY with

  Back on April 10 after his guilty plea, Esposito and two apparent family member rebuffed the media at the elevator, then again on Mulberry Street. Inner City Press Periscope video here.


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