New York Daily News: Mafia Rat Bites Boss on Stand

April 24, 2012 in News Thomas Gioeli

By John Marzulli

Tommy Shots’ decision to call his cousin as a witness in his murder and racketeering trial backfired Monday.

Colombo crime boss Thomas Gioeli had hoped mob turncoat Thomas McLaughlin’s testimony would clear him of any role in the 1991 rubout of Frank (Chestnut) Marasa in Brooklyn. Instead it did the opposite.

McLaughlin testified that Gioeli had approved the killers on the hit team.

After Marasa was gunned down, McLaughlin said he drove shooter Dino Calabro to meet his cousin at the Cropsey Diner.

McLaughlin also testified that he was reprimanded by Gioeli for blabbing to people about “taking care of” Marasa.

Defense lawyer Adam Perlmutter looked stunned as McLaughlin unloaded on the stand and asked the turncoat if he told these details to investigators.

“I don’t recall if I did say it before, or if I didn’t,” McLaughlin sneered.

McLaughlin wore a wire for the feds, secretly recording conversations with multiple Colombo gangsters. But federal prosecutors decided not to call McLaughlin during the Gioeli trial.

The latest family betrayal in the trial — last week co-defendant Dino Saracino was implicated by his brother in multiple murders — triggered a volley of retorts in the courtroom.

With the jury present, Gioeli snapped, “Stop drinking,” to McLaughlin.

That prompted McLaughlin to reply, “Richie says hello,” apparently a reference to slain crew member Richard Greaves, whom Gioeli and Saracino are charged with murdering.

“How’s Joey Caves?” Gioeli shot back, referring to another turncoat witness, Joseph Competiello.

Then Gioeli’s daughter got in the act, shouting at McLaughlin from the gallery section.

Brooklyn Federal Judge Brian Cogan threatened to eject the next spectator who yelled at a witness.

Earlier, Cogan had threatened to boot Gioeli if he didn’t stay silent.

After getting sandbagged by McLaughlin, defense lawyers decided against calling their dozen character witnesses.

Closing arguments are scheduled to begin Wednesday, with Gioeli charged with six murders and Saracino charged with three.