The Boys from New Jersey: How the Mob Beat the Feds

The Boys from New Jersey: How the Mob Beat the Feds

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by Robert C. Rudolph
     
 

Of all the extraordinary stories to emerge about the war on organized crime, none is quite so bizarre as the U.S. government's 1988 prosecution of the notorious Lucchese crime family, the mob that claimed to "own" New Jersey. Federal authorities called it the most ambitious legal attack ever mounted against underworld figures--a sixty-five-page indictment capping a… See more details below

Overview

Of all the extraordinary stories to emerge about the war on organized crime, none is quite so bizarre as the U.S. government's 1988 prosecution of the notorious Lucchese crime family, the mob that claimed to "own" New Jersey. Federal authorities called it the most ambitious legal attack ever mounted against underworld figures--a sixty-five-page indictment capping a ten-year investigation that would take out an entire organization, from godfather to street soldier, in one knockout blow. The two-year proceeding became the longest Mafia trial in American history--but it took the jury less than two days to render its verdict: not guilty. On all counts. It was a devastating blow for the government. How did this happen? Robert Rudolph, the only reporter to cover the story from start to finish, answers that question in a book that turns courtroom drama into a rollicking theater of the absurd. At its center are defendants like Jackie "Fat Jack" DiNorscio, the career criminal representing himself, who began the trial by announcing, "I'm a comedian, not a gangster," and then proceeded to turn the legal system on its ear; mob boss Anthony Accetturo, a man of almost unlimited luck, who once avoided prosecution by claiming to have Alzheimer's disease, only to experience a miraculous "cure" when he slipped and fell in the shower after the case against him was dropped; and the philosophy-spouting underboss, Michael Taccetta, who brazenly debated his FBI nemesis on the morals of the underworld and how they applied to the teachings of Socrates and Machiavelli. And there are lawyers, like Vincent "Grady" O'Malley, who'd never lost a case until quarter-backing a government offensive that aimed too high and took too long; and Michael Critchley, who led a Mission Impossible-style defense team that succeeded in putting the government itself on trial. Here is the full story behind what should have been the government's shining hour, and how it turned into one of the most embarrassing

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In November of 1986, the federal government brought to trial 21 members of the Lucchese crime family, regarded by law enforcement officials as the Mafia group in charge of activities in northern New Jersey. Held in the Newark court of Judge Harold Ackerman, the proceedings featured V. Grady O'Malley as chief prosecutor and Michael Critchley as coordinator of the defense. Each of the accused was represented by a different attorney. In August of 1988 all of the defendants were found not guilty. Why? Rudolph, a reporter for the Newark Star Ledger , suggests that too many defendants were tried at the same time; that the case went on so long that the jurors became restive; that the defense succeeded in discrediting many of the mobsters who had become informants; that the judge did not exercise proper control; that ``Fat Jack'' DiNorscio, who usurped his lawyer and called himself ``a comedian, not a gangster,'' turned the trial into a circus. Rudolph is a journalistic stylist of the highest order: his sentences and paragraphs are short, punchy and highly readable. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.)
Library Journal
The case described here involved 20 alleged members of the Lucchese crime family led by Newark, New Jersey mob boss Anthony Accetturo. After a lengthy two-year trial, despite seemingly persuasive evidence, all the accused were acquitted of all charges, a rare victory for organized crime and an embarrassing loss for the government. Prosecution witnesses confessed to more heinous crimes than were charged against the defendants, which may have influenced the jury. Journalist Rudolph provides an anecdotal account, focusing on many humorous trial incidents, such as the antics of ``Fat Jack'' DiNorscio who was allowed to represent himself and made a mockery of the court. Although somewhat superficial, this book is readable and entertaining. Recommended for Mafia buffs.-- Gregor A. Preston, Univ. of California Lib., Davis
The Denver Post
"The dialogue is so frank at times that the reader wonders if the tale is fiction or fact."

- The Denver Post.

Star-Ledger
"An incisive who's-who in the ranks of organized crime... a major portrayal of how a trial went wrong, of how a system of justice failed, of how the bad guys became the good guys... one of those books you won't want to put down until the end."

- Herb Jaffe, Star-Ledger.

Publishers Weekly
"Rudolph is a journalistic stylist of the highest order."

- Publisher's Weekly.

The Houston Chronicle
"A good read."

- The Houston Chronicle

The Jersey Journal
"The bizarre untold story of how federal authorities let the 'big one' get away."

- The Jersey Journal

New Jersey Monthly

The true-life account of a mob trial so bizarre that it could pass for fiction . . . [Rudolph] has captured the longest and most expensive mob trial in U.S. history in all of its behind-the-scenes intrigue and courtroom lunacy. . . meticulously reported by a veteran journalist.
Star-Ledger - Herb Jaffe

An incisive who's-who in the ranks of organized crime. . . . a major portrayal of how a trial went wrong, of how a system of justice failed, of how the bad guys became the good guys . . . one of those books you won't want to put down until the end.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780688092597
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/01/1992
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
356

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