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Tuesday, 22 March 2011

death penalty trial of crime boss Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano may bring to light the gangster's darkest secret

05:30 |

upcoming death penalty trial of crime boss Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano may bring to light the gangster's darkest secret - he was the victim of child abuse.

Basciano's lawyers have informed federal prosecutors of plans to raise the issue as a mitigating factor against executing the former boss of the Bonanno crime family if he's convicted of ordering a murder.

The court filing contained no details of the "abusive childhood," but Basciano's former lawyers say he was beaten severely and frequently by his father, Jerry Basciano.

"There were really bad beatings," said lawyer Ephraim Savitt, adding that Basciano had objected to throwing his father under the bus to save his own skin.

Basciano remains opposed to publicly airing the family laundry, but lawyer Richard Jasper overruled his client, sources said.

"He's trying to protect his nuclear family and I think that's a testament of his own goodness," Savitt said.

Basciano remains on good terms with his father and made efforts after his arrest to ensure that his own sons stayed in touch with "Grandpa Jerry," Savitt recalled.

Barry Levin, who also represented Basciano in a prior racketeering trial, said he was frequently beaten while trying to protect his mother from a raging father.

The beatings were severe, sometimes involving a baseball bat, and Basciano would take refuge at an aunt's house, sleeping on the couch until his bruises healed, Levin said.

Both former lawyers said the beatings by Jerry Basciano were apparently fueled by alcohol. They learned of the abuse from interviewing other members of Basciano's family.

Jerry Basciano, a retired construction worker, could not be reached for comment. The current defense team declined to comment on the issue.

Vincent Basciano is charged with ordering subordinates to whack mob associate Randolph Pizzolo Pizzolo in order to send a "wakeup" call to the beleagured crime family. Jury selection is continuing in Brooklyn Federal Court.

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