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Vincent Gigante Trial: 1997

An Elaborate Ploy, Mob Informants Testify About Gigante's Sanity, Defense Accuses Informants Of Lying To Save Themselves

Defendant: Vincent "The Chin" Gigante
Crimes Charged: Racketeering, murder, conspiracy to commit murder
Chief Defense Lawyer: Michael Marinaccio
Chief Prosecutors: George Stamboulidis, Andrew Weissman
Judge: Jack Weinstein
Place: New York, New York
Date of Trial: June 25—July 25, 1997
Verdict: Guilty of racketeering and conspiracy to murder
Sentence: 12 years in prison and $1.25 million fine

SIGNIFICANCE: After finally bringing the elusive "Chin" to trial, the government's case rested on two things: 1) Proving the mobster really was a top crime boss and 2) establishing that he had the mental competence to issue orders and run the family business. Testimony by gangster turncoats, including a riveting one via closed-circuit television, guaranteed justice at last.

For more than 20 years, Vincent "The Chin" Gigante eluded justice with an elaborate and innovative ruse: He acted crazy. The reputed head of New York's powerful Genovese crime family wandered the streets of his Greenwich Village neighborhood in a tattered bathrobe, relieved himself against light poles, and muttered incoherently. Word on the street had it that "The Oddfather" used an umbrella while showering. Gigante even had himself hospitalized 25 times for schizophrenia in the 20 years before his prosecution.

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