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"Reputed mobster cleared in Lufthansa heist" by Stephanie Clifford New York Times November 13, 2015
NEW YORK — Vincent Asaro, the reputed mobster charged in connection with the notorious 1978 Lufthansa robbery, walked out of federal court in Brooklyn on Thursday a free man after a jury cleared him of racketeering and other charges.
The verdicts, delivered after little more than two days of deliberations, left many in the courtroom stunned, most visibly prosecutors from the US attorney’s office, which had spent years building a case against Asaro, 80, with testimony from high-ranking Mafia figures and recordings made by an informer for the FBI.
What this verdict tells you is the American people no longer trust or believe in authority or government. Nor should they.
But the case relied heavily on the cooperation of those Mafia figures, some of them admitted killers, and the jury ultimately rejected the government’s accusation that Asaro helped carry out a criminal enterprise engaged in murder and robbery, most notoriously the Lufthansa robbery, which became a central plot point in the film “Goodfellas.”
When the juror chosen to deliver the verdict said “Not guilty” on the first count — the racketeering charge, by far the most complicated and serious of the charges — there was a startled silence in the courtroom.
After the “not guilty” verdict on the second and third counts, for extortion, Asaro pumped his right fist in the air three times. Once the jury left, he clapped sharply, then hugged his lawyers. “Your Honor, thank you very much,” he said.
As he walked out of the courthouse in downtown Brooklyn, Asaro raised his hands in the air and shouted, “Free!”
Flanked by his lawyers, Elizabeth Macedonio and Diane Ferrone, he fielded a flurry of questions from reporters, who asked what he was going to do (“play some paddleball”), where he was heading (“to my friend’s restaurant”) and what he was going to eat (“anything but a bologna sandwich”).
The jury in US District Court in Brooklyn had begun deliberations late Monday and continued through the week, with a break Wednesday for Veterans Day.
The three-week trial was an open and shut case according to the Globe.