“Never in a million years did I look to put a hit on you,” murderous mobster Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano recently assured a federal judge in Brooklyn.
Basciano’s words to U.S. Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the Eastern District of New York, uttered in a closed proceeding on May 6 and reported on Thursday by The New York Daily News, amounted to yet another bizarre tidbit in a case that has already produced more than its share of oddities.
It seems that Basciano, who acquired his nickname because he is (or was) a fashion-conscious hair stylist, wrote the name of the judge and that of Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Andres, now a high-ranking official in the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, on a scrap of paper. Since the piece of paper also bore the name of three mob “rats” (we know how the mob deals with them), federal prosecutors suspected Basciano’s motives.
Not only that, but Basciano supposedly wanted to bump off Andres because Andres had the temerity to dine every week at a mob-connected restaurant, as Main Justice reported recently. (What did Andres do, put ketchup on his veal?)
Anyhow, not to worry, Basciano said in court as his fate for ordering the murder of a mob associate– the death penalty or life in prison –was being debated. The paper wasn’t a “hit list” but rather a “Santeria list,” meant to ward off bad vibes under the Afro-Caribbean religion, Basciano explained. “There was never, ever, ever at any time, judge, ever a plot to harm His Honor, Greg Andres, or three cooperating witnesses,” he emphasized.
Of course not. In any event, Basciano, 51, was spared from execution by jurors who concluded that life in a super-secure federal prison would suit him just fine.