Saturday, September 23, 2006

Mob Boss Hit List Results in Terror Case Restrictions

Friends of ours: Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano

A set of restrictive rules established for terrorism suspects has been imposed on a convicted mob figure under investigation for plotting to kill a federal judge and others, prosecutors disclosed in a court hearing Thursday.

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales imposed the rules on reputed mob boss Vincent Basciano after a jail house informant revealed a list that Basciano wrote, which prosecutors allege was a hit list with the names of the judge, a prosecutor and three mafia turncoats.

Basciano gave the list to the informant, a fellow inmate at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, according to prosecutors, and indicated he wanted the people on it killed. A lawyer for Basciano has said that the list was intended for a mystical religious ceremony, recommended by the informant, to improve Basciano's fortune in his trial.

Basciano, known as Vinny Gorgeous, was convicted earlier this year of racketeering charges, though jurors deadlocked over more serious allegations including murder.

The special rules imposed on Basciano, known as special administrative measures, restrict privileges including phone and mail use and visits. They also require his lawyers to sign affidavits saying they will not pass messages from their client to anyone.

The measures have been used 40 times since they were developed in 1996, according to a Justice Department spokesman. Twenty-five of those instances involved terrorism cases. The spokesman said that the rules had been used in three other organized crime cases, but would not say which.

A prosecutor in the hearing Thursday in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn suggested the rules were meant to keep Basciano from communicating what they allege are bad intentions.

Basciano now faces a murder and racketeering indictment including the accusation that he planned to kill the prosecutor whose name appeared on the list. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

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