The sensational murder trial of Bonanno crime family mobster Vincent Basciano has uncovered another surprising secret.
Joseph Massino, the ex-boss of the Bonanno clan who made dubious history by becoming the first Mafia chieftain to testify against his underlings (namely Basciano), testified today that John Gotti at one time plotted to murder Massino.
The revelation is somewhat surprising given that Massino and Gotti were reportedly good friends and neighbors in Howard Beach, Queens.
Moreover, Gotti, who was boss of the powerful Gambino family, helped dispose the bodies of Massino’s murder victims. The two men also participated in some gangland murders together.
According to Massino’s latest testimony, when he was serving time in prison in the early 1990s, Gotti hatched the murder plot in league with Salvatore “Good Looking Sal” Vitale (who at the time was serving as the Bonanno family underboss).
The alleged assassination was never carried out, Massino said, because Gotti was sentenced to a life sentence shortly thereafter on another racketeering and murder convictions.
If [Gotti] wasn't arrested, I probably wouldn't be here today, Massino said in Brooklyn Federal Court.
It is unclear why Gotti would have wanted Massino dead and what role, if any, Vitale would have played in the conspiracy.
Ironically, Vitale (who was also Massino’s brother-in-law) later testified in several trials against Massino and helped send his ex-boss to jail for life.
However, as a government witness, Vitale never spoke of any such Gotti murder plot.
Massino said he became aware of the murder plot in 2004 when he was informed by Genovese capo Barney Bellomo when both were in detention at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn awaiting trial.