tampabay.com

Prosecutors try to tie crimes to mob

They hope to prove a conspiracy between four defendants and the Gambino crime family.

By CARRIE WEIMAR
Published November 18, 2006


TAMPA - From the robbery of a Sears in Vineland, NJ, to a beating at a nude club in Tampa, jurors in the Ronald "Ronnie One Arm" Trucchio case have heard testimony about dozens of crimes over the past month.

On Friday, assistant U.S. Attorneys Jay Trezevant and Dennis Moore tried to link those crimes, the defendants on trial, and the notorious Gambino crime family.

In a closing argument, Trezevant and Moore explained the extortion and racketeering charges the four defendants face, and how the charges relate to the crimes witnesses have described.

The consequences could be significant: Trucchio and a Steven Catalano face a maximum penalty of life in prison. Co-defendants, Kevin McMahon and Terry Scaglione, could be sentenced to up to 20 years.

Trezevant compared the alleged conspiracy to an umbrella, with Trucchio, a captain or "capo" with the Gambinos, at the top. Beneath him were the members of his crew, who committed crimes and funnel money back to the family.

To prove their case, prosecutors called on witnesses who admitted to committing crimes. Several testified they used and sold drugs. One government witness, Michael Malone, said he participated in killing a man inside a bar in Queens, N.Y.

Trezevant said they had no choice but to rely upon admitted criminals in building their case.

"If you want to write a book about baseball, you have to talk to baseball players," Trezevant said. "Nobody's ever going to tell you these are good people. Nobody's going to tell you they should be excused for their sometimes violent behavior."

Defense attorneys will make their closing arguments Monday.