Court in NYC upholds geriatric gangster conviction

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Associated Press

Posted on January 16, 2013 at 2:32 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 16 at 2:33 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — A 95-year-old mob boss who authorities say boasted about killing 60 people in a lifetime of crime must serve his eight-year prison sentence after his racketeering conspiracy conviction, a federal appeals court said Wednesday.

John "Sonny" Franzese was sentenced last January after his conviction for extorting Manhattan strip clubs and a Long Island pizzeria while he was underboss of the Colombo crime family.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld his conviction, finding that it resulted from a fair trial and his sentence was proper. The court also upheld the convictions and sentencing of two others in the case.

An FBI agent testified that Franzese bragged about killing 60 people over the years and once contemplated arranging his own son's death after he became a government cooperator.

Federal prosecutors had sought to imprison him for at least 12 years after calling one of his sons, John Franzese Jr., to testify against him.

Franzese was once a regular at the Copacabana nightclub, where he could be seen with singers Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. He also had a stake in the classic porn film "Deep Throat."

Authorities say an informant had recorded him bragging about mob killings, saying he "killed a lot of guys" but was "never caught." They say he also recommended that the best way to dispose of body parts was to dry them out with a microwave and grind them up in a garbage disposal. He was arrested in the racketeering case in 2008 and was later freed on $1 million bail.

With credit for good behavior and time served awaiting his trial, Franzese is scheduled to be released in June 2017. A message left with his lawyer seeking comment was not immediately returned Wednesday.

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