Alleged Genovese crime family capo Anthony “Rom” Romanello was acquitted in Brooklyn federal court of extortion and conspiracy charges.
Prosecutors accused Romanello of presiding over a sit down between the Genovese and Bonanno crime families to settle a dispute over a $30,000 debt. But the defense argued that the mere presence of Romanello was not enough to tie him into the conspiracy and no steps was taken by the defendant to enforce any orders leading to the debt being repaid. The jury agreed and cleared Romanello of all charges.
The prosecution called multiple witnesses to testify against the alleged mobster including former Bonanno family boss turned rat Joseph Massino. Even though Massino had no direct criminal dealings with Romanello he was used by prosecution as an expert witness to testify on mafia life and the workings of organized crime. But prosecutors booted turncoat Bonanno family associate Joseph Galante Jr who was supposed to be the star witness against Romanello off Team America. Galante secretly taped the mob sit down between the two mafia families in a Queens pizzeria. There reason for Galante being dismissed by the prosecutors has yet to be released.
The verdict was not without some drama as a dissenting juror was removed. When the jury returned to the court room to read its verdict a juror said she did not agree stunning the defense team. After over two more hours of deliberation the forewoman for the jury sent a note to the judge questioning the competence of the juror. The Judge briefly questioned the dissenting juror before deciding she would be removed and the verdict taken from a jury of eleven.