Thursday, December 11, 2008

Federal prosecutors eye N.J. capo from Genovese family in 2005 trial rubout

Thursday, December 11th 2008, 4:00 AM

Federal prosecutors named a powerful Genovese family gangster as the prime suspect in the gangland rubout of a fellow capo who was killed while on trial in Brooklyn.
Reputed capo Tino Fiumara is a target in the investigation of the murder of Lawrence Ricci, who disappeared Oct. 7, 2005, in the middle of his waterfront racketeering trial, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jacquelyn Rasulo and Jack Dennehy disclosed in court papers this week.

Authorities say Fiumara, 67, runs the Genovese faction in New Jersey, including its illicit stake in the waterfront. Ricci reported to him at the time he was killed.

Ricci was killed for going on trial with two officials of the International Longshoremen's Association, sources said.

"They wanted him to plead guilty," a source said. "They didn't want him sitting at the table with the union guys. It didn't look good."

The prosecutors say another capo, Michael (Mikey Cigars) Coppola, could finger Fiumara in the murder.

FBI agents have been squeezing Coppola, who is awaiting trial for a 1977 murder, to cooperate against Fiumara, a knowledgeable source said.

Coppola's lawyer Henry Mazurek, has represented Fiumara, and prosecutors want to boot Mazurek from the case, possibly removing an obstacle to Coppola's cooperation.

"[Coppola] could implicate Fiumara ... in the murder of Lawrence Ricci to potentially receive a reduced sentence," the prosecutors argue.

Law enforcement officials see Fiumara as a potential leader of the Genovese family, which has been without an official boss since the death of Vincent (Chin) Gigante.

Ricci's corpse was found in the trunk of a car in the parking lot of a New Jersey diner. The trial continued in his absence and he was acquitted