Wednesday, March 29, 2006

James Caan Hails District Attorney for Probing Agent

Friends of ours: Joseph "Jo-Jo" Russo, Colombo Crime Family, Gregory Scarpa

"The Godfather" and "Las Vegas" star James Caan is close to some real mobsters in his offscreen life - so he knows the difference between the Mafia and make-believe. So when he heard that allegedly corrupt FBI agent Lindley DeVecchio was being investigated, he took the time to thank Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes in a letter. After all, DeVecchio had helped put away one of Caan's pals, Joseph (Jo-Jo) Russo, a Colombo family member convicted in 1992 of murder and racketeering charges.James Caan

Caan wanted "to thank [Hynes] ... for undertaking such an extensive and malignant corruption case." "Joseph Russo is a dear friend of mine and I cannot express enough how pleased I am that your office has taken interest and is in pursuit of corrrecting this problem," Caan wrote from his office in Encino, Calif. Caan's letter, obtained by the Daily News, also thanks Hynes for "taking the time to evaluate the situation to correct the wrongs that have affected so many lives."

Caan could not be reached for comment. His publicist, Paul Bloch, said, "He's shooting on location and I can't get to him."

There were other strong reactions to the news of DeVecchio's indictment, including charges that he allegedly helped mobster Gregory Scarpa kill 17-year-old Patrick Porco. "Losing Patrick Porco as a teenager ruined the lives of his entire family,"
said attorney David Schoen, who represents Porco's brother and sisters in a pending civil action against DeVecchio. "The family is stunned now to learn that an FBI agent is allegedly involved in Patrick's murder. Stunned, and they're looking forward to getting to the bottom of what happened," said Schoen.

Other reaction came from a former NYPD detective who said he was a fall guy for DeVecchio and now hopes his name will be cleared. Joseph Simone said his life was wrecked when he was accused of leaking information to the mob during the 1992 Colombo wars. At the time, he was working on a task force unit headed by DeVecchio.
Simone was acquitted in 1994 of the criminal charges, but lost his job after a 1996 NYPD administrative trial found he had failed to report that mobsters had tried to bribe him. He gets no pension despite more than two decades on the police force. "I hope now that the real rat is getting indicted, maybe that will allow the department to reconsider my case," said Simone.

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