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MURDER – AMERICAN STYLE!

ATYPICAL MURDER CASES
& THE EVOLUTION OF ORGANIZED CRIME

By James Ridgway de Szigethy

     It was 1991, in a seedy Manhattan nightclub, the kind that often changes it’s name. The space was small with not much of a dance floor, but the invitation got me in free, and there was an open bar. I was then thirty-something, newly divorced, and determined to squeeze every minute out of my rapidly vanishing youth. The usual Upper East Side yuppie type crowd was there, the sort chronicled in all those bad novels of the 1980s. "House Music" ruled the floor, that dance form created by artists such as Clivilles & Cole, Screaming Rachel, and Frankie Knuckles. The Big Apple had never been so rotten so the only answer was to party like there was no tomorrow. And we did!

     Dr. Tom Stevens, an attorney and long-time President of the New York Young Republican Club was there and at one table were several young toughs whom it was said were associates of John Gotti Jr., the son of the alleged Gambino Family Boss. I only met one of them that night, Jerry Surace, whose living was selling caskets to funeral homes. I didn’t like Jerry but he soon became a fixture on our "scene," which picked up substantially when I was chosen Society Editor for CAB Magazine. This required me to go out most nights of the week, to parties, publicity events, charity fundraisers, etc. and chronicle what I experienced. It was exhausting work but fun also and I met just about everybody who went out on the town in New York. .

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MURDER, YOUNG REPUBLICAN STYLE!

     In May, 1993, several disgruntled officials of the Ross Perot organization UNITED WE STAND went public with their complaints on NBC's DATELINE and ABC's NIGHTLINE. Charges that Ross Perot hired private detectives to illegally spy on his employees and volunteers had led to investigations by the Secret Service, FBI, and Federal Trade Commission. Perot himself had admitted he utilized the services of private detectives to spy on people in his organization and some of these would file lawsuits against him. Dr. Tom Stevens was one of those who expressed his disillusionment with Perot in an interview with Ted Koppel on NIGHTLINE. Tom had joined up believing Perot would revitalize American politics. Perot had, in fact, been leading in the polls a year earlier until he suddenly withdrew from the Presidential race. When he got back in a few months later he told 60 MINUTES that he had been blackmailed by Republican covert operatives who had "compromising photographs"of his daughter and another woman. Perot had asked his friends in the FBI to investigate and on August 6, 1992 Scott Barnes was photographed by the FBI offering ‘secretly recorded phone conversations of Ross Perot’ to Jim Oberwetter, the senior official in charge of George Bush’s Texas re-election campaign. Oberwetter wouldn’t accept Barnes’ tapes, but instead suggested he take them to editors of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper, whom Oberwetter said would likely be interested since Perot had in his possession "a picture of one of their reporters in a compromising position with someone from City Hall!" The FBI would later send a wired FBI undercover agent to once again entice Oberwetter with ‘secret tapes of Perot,’ but once again Oberwetter refused to accept them. When the FBI reported back to Perot that they could not prove the ‘Republican conspiracy’ against Perot and his daughter, Perot was furious and months later would ‘expose’ this conspiracy to the American people on 60 MINUTES. Perot came off as irrational and paranoid and lost his credibility with the American people. He would never get it back.

     Immediately after Stevens’ NIGHTLINE appearance he noticed persons unknown were following him and Stevens suspected they were private investigators for Perot's organization. Soon, things began to escalate. A whispering campaign was started about Stevens in an attempt to discredit him; Stevens was alleged to be a cocaine addict, a government spy against Ross Perot, and a child molester. The Young Republican leader was furious when these allegations got back to him and at that point Stevens met someone who called himself "Louie the hitman" from the Luchese Mafia Family. "Louie" suggested to Stevens that he would murder one of the men who was spreading the false rumors about him and in exchange wanted Stevens to launder Luchese drug money through the Young Republican Club bank accounts. Stevens agreed to Louie’s scheme. How is this known? Because "Louie" was wearing a wire and turned his tapes over to the U. S. Attorney’s office – Southern District of New York. Dr. Thomas R. Stevens, President of the New York Young Republican Club, the oldest such club in America, founded by Teddy Roosevelt in his youth and whose President had once been future New York City Mayor John Lindsay, was arrested on October 9, 1993; the charge? Solicitation of murder!

     At Stevens’ arraignment, the Feds asked Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald to hold Stevens without bail. Stevens’ attorney argued that no money had exchanged hands between his client and "Louie the hitman," nor did Stevens really believe "Louie" to be a hitman, but rather was just playing along with "Louie" in an effort to identify who the people were that were plotting against him. Judge Buchwald remarked; "It sounds like West Side Story!" Sensing that something was wrong with this bizarre case, Buchwald denied the Prosecutor’s request and released Stevens to House Arrest.

     After Stevens’ arrest, Jerry Surace and an associate, whom I will only identify as "Jay," started inviting me out for evenings on the town. One place we frequented was the LIMELIGHT, an Episcopalian Church turned into New York’s most popular disco by a Canadian named Peter Gatien and his party promoters, including the notorious "King of Club Kids," Michael Alig. The Limelight was a hangout for both celebrities and the scum of the earth and was renown for the blatant drug use and back room sex that went on as the strobe lights bounced off the Church’s stained glass windows. At such places, Jay, Surace, and I would drink heavily, after which they would encourage me to testify against Tom Stevens. Surace knew that I had grown up in the same, small Texas town as Ross Perot and suspected I had helped Stevens in alleged ‘dirty tricks’ operations against Perot. I denied this but eventually agreed to speak to the Prosecutor in the case, Michael Horowitz, although I explained to Horowitz that I didn’t know Stevens that well and had nothing of substance to say against him. Horowitz said he wanted me as a witness, but wasn’t sure he could use me.

     Things would soon escalate; in our twice-weekly drinking sessions, Surace began demanding that I perjure myself – fabricate testimony – against Stevens to assure his conviction. I refused and Surace warned me that he had "friends" in the Gambino and Colombo Mafia Families that he met through his casket selling business. That made sense, as it was common knowledge that many of the funeral homes in the New York City area through which Surace worked were Mob-connected. One night a clearly troubled Jay asked me out alone. After hours of drinking, Jay admitted that Surace was an FBI informant who gave the Feds information about the Mafia people he came into contact with through his casket business. Jay said Surace had also given information to the FBI about goings-on at the Limelight. I believed Jay and decided, for my own protection, to start tape recording my conversations with Surace. Over the next few weeks I did so, with Surace’s threats escalating to the point where he threatened to have me killed if I didn’t do as he said. Finally, one night he admitted on tape he worked for the FBI and said that they would "get me" if I didn’t comply with his demands. At that point I told him I had been secretly tape recording his threats and would turn the tapes over to the authorities.

     On the eve of the Stevens trial, I turned copies of the tapes over to Jack Holder, a retired NYPD Detective, former Marine, and private detective. He took the tapes to Tom Stevens, who turned them over to his attorney. That same day, I got a message on my machine, where a flustered Prosecutor Horowitz stated; "Uhmm, I understand there’s some sort of problem, and that if you have any tapes, you should turn them over to our investigator!" I turned over copies of the tapes to Horowitz' office, as well as several other people I knew. The Feds then asked for an adjournment of the trial.

     For weeks the case was in limbo. Finally, I contacted New York Post columnist Neil Travis. On April 20, 1994, he ran the story, "Nobody’s Talking About GOP Slay," in which he detailed the whispered problems about this bizarre case. The very next day, Mary Jo White, the U. S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, signed the papers that dropped the prosecution of Tom Stevens for the crime of murder solicitation. Still, the matter had to be brought before the Judge, who threw out the case "WITH PREJUDICE," a ruling which expressed the Judge’s troubling questions with the Prosecution’s case. Tom Stevens was relieved, yet we still knew little of those who had plotted against him, including the identity of "Louie the hitman," the Fed’s Confidential Informant. I, the reporter, was determined to find out who "Luchese Louie" was.

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MURDER, CIA STYLE!

     In 1983, CIA officer Edwin Wilson was languishing in a Manhattan jail cell, awaiting trial on charges he illegally sold an enormous stockpile of C-4 plastic explosives to the government of Libya. Wilson then met a fellow prisoner named Tony DeAngelo, a self-professed hitman for the Mafia. "Tony the hitman" convinced Wilson that he would arrange the murder of two of the Prosecutors in Wilson’s C-4 trial, as well as seven witnesses. Wilson agreed to hire Tony and days later, Tony, now free, accepted a $10,000 down payment for these murders from Wilson’s son.

     "Tony the hitman," it turned out, was actually Lynn de Vecchio, an FBI agent who had for many years crafted a fantasy alter ego of "Tony the hitman" and had finally gotten the opportunity to bring "Tony" to life, wearing a wire, of course. Those tapes resulted in convictions against Wilson which sent the rogue CIA officer to prison for life. For the FBI, that from the beginning has fought tooth and nail against their hated rivals in the CIA, this was a great, rare victory. As a result, de Vecchio’s position in the FBI would rise to that of Agent in Charge of the Colombo squad of the Organized Crime Task Force, an elite group of FBI agents, Federal Prosecutors, and NYPD Detectives investigating New York’s five Mafia Families. De Vecchio would develop as one of his FBI informants Colombo hitman Greg Scarpa, a tough, handsome bi-sexual who early in his career as an FBI informant had performed well for then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.

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MURDER, COLOMBIAN MAFIA STYLE

     While the Stevens trial was under adjournment, I attended a memorial service for investigative reporter Manual de Dios, who was murdered in New York in 1992 on orders of Colombian drug Lord Jose Londono. This murder stunned law enforcement nationwide as it symbolized the supplanting of the Italian Mafia, whose laws dictated that cops and journalists were off-limits, by the new ethnic mobs, the Colombians being but just one. Security at the De Dios service was extensive and among the inner circle of those protecting De Dios’ wife were retired NYPD Detectives Jim Lanzano and David Durk, a legendary figure who blew the whistle on corrupt cops back in the 1970s. They also had in their company a stocky young man who appeared to be Colombian. The three viewed me with suspicion and invited me out for dinner after the Service. It was obvious their objective was the standard ‘get him drunk and pump him for information’ routine, but I stuck to diet soda. The Colombian told me he was "Jimmy Smith," an investigative reporter from Ireland.

     A few days later, "Jimmy" called, wanting to know more about the Stevens case and the threats against me on my tapes. It was obvious to me that "Smith" was no Irishman and I concluded that like some reporters involved in sensitive investigations, this was an alias and ‘cover,’ which probably meant he was working with the government on the investigation of the De Dios murder. Still, I secretly tape recorded our conversation and later played it to a friend of De Dios’ from Bogota. She said his accent was Colombian, and more specifically, Bogota. She too had been at the Memorial Service and seen "Jimmy" talking to me and didn’t know who he was, but said she had seen him before around the neighborhood in Queens. Unbeknownst to me at the time, "Jimmy Smith the Irishman" and "Louie the Italian Mafia Hitman," were one and the same person.

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MURDER, JAPANESE MAFIA STYLE!

     On January 13, 1982, Michael Riconosciuto, a convicted drug dealer and scientist, entered the San Francisco apartment of his friend Paul Morasca, a money launderer for the Gambino Mafia Family. Morasca was dead; he had been bound with wire in a technique popular with the Yakuza, or Japanese Mafia, that causes the victim to slowly asphyxiate. Instead of calling the cops, Riconosciuto hopped in his car and drove 500 miles south to the Cabazon Indian Reservation outside Palm Springs, California. There Riconosciuto informed the Reservation’s Manager, Dr. John Phillip Nichols, that their mutual friend and associate had been murdered.

     A few years earlier, Dr. Nichols had convinced the impoverished Cabazon Indians to hire him as their Administrator, after which Nichols brought in a gambling casino to generate income. As Indian Reservations are "sovereign terrority," State and Federal laws against gambling do not apply. The Cabazon experience with gambling, upheld by the U. S. Supreme Court, would soon become common on Indian Reservations nationwide, with the Italian Mafia usually involved. The Cabazon operation became the object of scrutiny in 1981 when three Cabazons opposed to the gambling were found murdered in nearby Rancho Mirage. In March, 1985, the FBI arrested Dr. Nichols, charging he tried to hire a hit man to murder 5 people. Nichols accepted a plea bargain that only required him to spend one year in jail. Riconosciuto was prosecuted for conspiracy to traffick drugs and is currently serving a lengthy prison sentence. Riconosciuto claims he was prosecuted because he knew about two now-discredited CIA conspiracy theories; the "October Surprise," which had Reagan campaign officials negotiating with Iran over the release of the American hostages, and the INSLAW case, regarding computer software allegedly stolen by the government for use as a spying tool against foreign nations. One of the prosecutors in the Riconosciuto trial was DEA agent Michael Hurley, who would later successfully sue government informant Lester Coleman over claims Coleman made about Hurley in his book about the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.

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MURDER, ITALIAN MAFIA STYLE!

     My investigation of Jerry Surace, "Louie the hitman," and Ross Perot uncovered some interesting, if bizarre information. . Once Perot sought elective office, the Media began to investigate him, with many reporters concluding, as did TIME Magazine’s Laurence Barrett, Richard Woodbury, and Jay Peterzell that Perot suffered from "Perot-noia." In 1996, Gerald Posner published "Citizen Perot," a scathing portrait of the Texas billionaire, from which the above quote of Jim Oberwetter was sourced. Posner, who also authored THE definitive book on the assassination of President Kennedy, "Case Closed." exposed in meticulous detail the many improbable claims Perot has made over the years. Among them; that Perot's lone, barking dog once scared off a hit team of five Black Panther assassins hired by the Viet Cong who had somehow infiltrated the elaborate security features surrounding his Dallas home; that Charles Harrelson, the father of actor Woody Harrelson, had accepted an assassination contract against Perot from drug dealers; that a hit team of 6 Cuban drug dealers were going to assassinate Perot in order to ensure the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement. (NAFTA) Perot's friends in the FBI were unable to substantiate any of these claims by Perot.

     Scott Barnes, the man who claimed the Republicans had "compromising photographs" of Perot's daughter was a dress shop owner who in 1989 was convicted of illegally taping phone conversations. In 1984 ABC News claimed that the CIA had ordered Barnes to assassinate a convicted con man in Hawaii but later recanted the story when Barnes refused to take a polygraph test. Barnes was best known for his claims with former Green Beret Colonel "Bo" Gritz, that the U. S. government had left prisoners of war behind in Vietnam. Barnes and Gritz had also convinced Ross Perot that CIA associates of Ed Wilson knew about the POW’s and covered this up while at the same time trafficking drugs with regional drug Lords. These were stunning allegations that neither had much evidence to support but Perot had been one of the very few public figures to champion their claims. Perot had in fact made this something of a crusade by constantly asking reporters, government officials, and FBI agents if they had any information on Ed Wilson and his associates.

     Just as FBI agent Lynn de Vecchio had investigated Ed Wilson, I investigated de Vecchio and the Organized Crime Task Force with the help of Staten Island Advance reporter Angela Mosconi. Mosconi and I soon determined that two of the Task Force’s co-operating Witnesses, "Big Sal" Miciotta and Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso had falsely accused three hero cops of serious crimes. Miciotta, a capo in the Colombo Family had accused decorated NYPD Detective Joe Simone of being the Mob’s mole on the Task Force. Simone and his attorney John Patten were grateful for our support, lone among the local Media. Simone was acquitted in his Federal trial and it would later emerge in Court proceedings that Simone’s supervisor, FBI agent de Vecchio, had leaked information to Colombo hitman/FBI informant Greg Scarpa that Scarpa used to murder rival Mobsters during the Colombo Family civil war of 1991-94. Scarpa had enjoyed support within the law enforcement community because he ordered the murder of his nephew, Gus Farace, after Farace murdered DEA agent Everett Hatcher in 1989. Scarpa died of AIDS in 1994.

     "Gaspipe" Casso, who admitted to murdering 34 people when arrested, falsely claimed that he recruited two hero NYPD cops, Lou Eppolito and Steve Caracappa to carry out the 1991 murder of Gambino hitman and heroin addict/trafficker Eddie Lino. Eppolito was an easy target for Gaspipe’s claims, as Eppolito’s father had been a capo in the Gambino Family, about which he wrote in his biography ‘MAFIA COP!’ As with Detective Simone, Eppolito and his attorney Bruce Cutler, who had represented John Gotti and would later represent his son, were grateful that Mosconi and I, lone among members of the local Media, had the courage to express our conviction that Gaspipe was lying. It would take many months, but eventually we were proven right when the Feds dropped as co-operating Witnesses Big Sal Miciotta and Gaspipe Casso.

     In regards to Jerry Surace, once my tapes of his threats started floating around New York, he went into hiding. There was a rumor going around that once I had Surace on tape admitting to being an FBI informant, I went PERSONALLY to John Gotti Junior to warn him that Surace was spying on his associates and that I asked Gotti for protection from Surace and his handlers on the Task Force.

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MURDER IN THE NATION OF ISLAM

     In 1995 Qubilah Shabazz, the daughter of slain activist Malcolm X, was arrested by the FBI for allegedly hiring a hit man to murder the man she believed murdered her father, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. The set up of Shabazz was almost a carbon copy of the Tom Stevens murder solicitation case and Shabazz’Attorney William Kunstler complained to the New York Post: "She was set up and the FBI is responsible!" Michael Fitzpatrick, an FBI informant since 1978, despite his 1980 arrest for bombing a Manhattan bookstore, had secretly tape recorded conversations with Shabazz, egging her on about the man he claimed murdered her father. When Fitzpatrick had enough evidence on tape that she supposedly agreed to hire him to kill Farrakhan, the Feds indicted her. Civil rights activists nationwide were outraged and Kunstler threatened that the prosecution of this tainted case would prove very embarrassing to the FBI. As in the Tom Stevens case, the Feds did not go to trial. After this victory, Minister Farrakhan and Betty Shabazz, the mother of Qubilah, held a ‘reconciliation rally’ at Harlem’s famed Apollo theatre.

     On October 6 of that year, the New York Post's Neil Travis reported that supporters of Dr. Stevens were throwing a party at a Manhattan pub to celebrate the second anniversary of the wrongful arrest of Stevens on murder solicitation charges. At one point during the festivities a local reporter pulled me aside and claimed that some of the people in attendance he believed were government spies, as he saw them almost daily sitting in on Federal trials at the U. S. Courthouse that was his beat! I just laughed and told this reporter that EVERYBODY in New York is spying on EVERYBODY!

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MURDER, CLUB KID STYLE!

     In May 1996, the performer "Screaming Rachel" Cain flew in from Chicago to appear on a Geraldo television segment about the "Club Kids" scene; those creatures who habituate the nightclubs of major cities. Afterwards, she and I got together and after she had loosened up over a couple of drinks, she confided that Michael Alig, a party promoter for Limelight owner Peter Gatien, had come to visit her in Chicago and confessed to murdering and dismembering a drug dealer known as "Angel." I told Rachel that this was all very interesting and then called my pal Al Guart at the New York Post. We then contacted Angel’s brother and began our own investigation. The cops could not have been less co-operative and some even questioned if Angel had indeed been murdered. Still, we persevered. Because of New York Post articles about this case, authorities took a second look at a body part found on Staten Island that showed signs of sexual mutilation and cannibalism. Dental records proved the body part to be that of Angel’s and as a result Michael Alig and his accomplice confessed. Peter Gatien was indicted for drug trafficking by the Feds and for income tax evasion by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

     The lead Prosecution witness in the Gatien drug trafficking trial was "Lord Michael" Caruso, one of Gatien’s party promoters who agreed to testify against Gatien in exchange for a reduced sentence. The jury was absolutely stunned at Caruso’s blatant and shameless crimes he confessed to committing; among them, armed robberies, extortions, impersonating police officers, and ripping off drug dealers. Under cross-examination it was revealed that Caruso had opened a nightclub in Miami with associates of John Gotti and that the club had mysteriously burned to the ground. One juror after the trial told me the jury was so shocked by the crimes committed by Prosecution Witnesses such as Lord Michael that they had no choice but to disregard everything they said against Gatien, who was thus acquitted of all charges.

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MURDER, CONGRESSIONAL STYLE!

     In 1995 I began doing investigative reporting for the magazine WANTED! The Nation’s Most Dangerous Criminals. One of my first targets for this magazine was Congressman James Traficant, D-Ohio, who I began investigating on two fronts; the first regarded his ties to members of the Pittsburgh Mafia Family and his alleged involvement in the murder of Cleveland Mafia figure Charlie "The Crab" Carabbia. Charlie the Crab was murdered just days after confiding to Traficant, to whom he had given a $163,000 Mafia bribe, that he was blackmailing Ed Flask, the son of a former Youngstown Mayor with "compromising photographs would ensure his silence!" My second front against Traficant involved Traficant’s claim, along with government informant Lester Coleman, ABC News correspondent Pierre Salinger, and members of the Lyndon La Rouche organization that the CIA was responsible for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. Joining Traficant in his efforts to prove his CIA theory was Polish émigré Boris de Korczak, who became notorious in 1996 when he filed a lawsuit against the CIA, claiming one of their officers extorted $300,000 from him, which he says he turned over, only to later be shot in the kidney by an unknown assailant armed with a pellet gun. The CIA denied Boris’ claims for compensation and also denied any CIA employee shot Boris with a pellet gun. Boris’ lawsuit was later dismissed by the Courts.

     Traficant and Boris would get even more publicity regarding their investigation of a murder in Georgia when they were joined by a former NYPD cop, William Acosta. This trio claimed that Georgia police officer Mike Chapel, who had been convicted of murder, had been framed by a ‘conspiracy’ involving corrupt Georgia officials. While the ‘evidence’ they uncovered did not result in a new trial for Chapel, Acosta, through a friend with contacts at NBC News, was able to get the news program DATELINE to run a story on the Chapel murder case.

     In May 1997 the Village Voice published a profile of Acosta and his troubled law enforcement career. After a stint in the Customs Service Acosta became a NYPD officer in 1990. In 1991 he resigned after fellow cops accused him of falsifying evidence. In 1994, NIGHTLINE ran an incognito profile of Acosta called "The Good Cop" and Acosta was once again hired by NYPD to work in Internal Affairs, the office that investigates corrupt cops. Once again, however, Acosta was accused by fellow cops of fabricating evidence and was placed on Departmental Trial. He was acquitted of those charges but would once again resign from the NYPD in 1996. Acosta then took his allegations of police corruption to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. After a few months, however, that office announced that it would decline to further pursue Acosta’s information. Acosta then took his allegations to George Magazine which ran a story, although not entirely sympathetic, as the George article noted that Acosta’s psychiatrist had volunteered to the almost unprecedented act of violating the sacred bond between a psychiatrist and his client by agreeing to testify against Acosta in the divorce proceedings brought by Acosta’s wife of 17 years. The profiles of Acosta in the Village Voice and George Magazine left out one tiny, little fact about this twice-former cop that I finally uncovered; William Acosta, "Jimmy Smith, the Irish investigative reporter," and "Louie the hitman from the Luchese Mafia Family," were one and the same person.

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EPILOGUE, OR, WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE PEOPLE IN THIS STORY!

     In early 1996, Jose Londono bribed his way out of prison in Colombia, prompting CIA Director John Deutsch to travel to Bogota to personally take charge of the efforts to find Londono. With all of the CIA’s resources focused on this task, Londono was quickly located and chose to die in a shoot out with the authorities rather than surrender.

     Betty Shabazz died in 1997 after her grandson, the son of Qubilah, set off a firebomb inside her New York apartment. As of this writing, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan is rumored to be near death, allegedly poisoned by a ‘mystery virus.’

     Pierre Salinger no longer champions the now-discredited Pan Am 103/CIA conspiracy theory but instead promotes his NEW conspiracy theory; that the United States Navy shot down TWA Flight 800 with one or their missiles.

     Lester Coleman returned to the U. S. to face Perjury charges in the Pan Am 103 case and was placed in the same jail cell as Club Kid murderer Michael Alig while awaiting trial. Coleman then confessed that his CIA/Pan Am 103 story was a hoax. Coleman has since renounced his American citizenship, recanted his confession, and says he will testify on behalf of the two Libyan spies recently turned over for the Pan Am 103 trial to be held in the Netherlands.

     Congressman Traficant hasn’t publicly stated whether he will testify on behalf of the Libyans, but several of his Ohio associates have pleaded guilty to racketeering with the Pittsburgh Mafia Family, including Charles O’Nesti, Traficant’s Congressional Aide of 13 years, and Lenny Strollo, who admits a role in the murder of Charlie Carabbia, who disappeared just days after bragging to Traficant he was blackmailing an Ohio public official with "compromising photographs."

     Nightclub owner Peter Gatien, who was facing 15 years in prison on income tax evasion charges, was very quietly given less than 90 days in jail by the same unit of the Manhattan District Attorney’s office that refused to further investigate the allegations of former NYPD cop William Acosta. The Judge in the case inexplicably signed a Waiver, allowing convicted felon Gatien to keep his liquor license and thus keep open his clubs the Limelight and The Tunnel.

     John "Junior" Gotti accepted a plea bargain on Federal racketeering charges after actions of his private investigative team prompted the Judge in his case to make his jury anonymous, and after learning he was also facing imminent State charges of income tax evasion that could send him to jail for many more years. Just before accepting the plea bargain, the beleaguered young man asked Al Guart; "What would happen if my name wasn’t John Gotti?" Indeed, Mr Gotti had a valid point; had his name been John Gatien, he might have only served 90 days in jail for the income tax charges.

     In 1997 Scott Barnes confessed his claims about a "Republican conspiracy" against Ross Perot and his daughter was a hoax that he had concocted. It's not known if Perot believes Barnes' claim that there was no Republican conspiracy.

     Dr. Thomas R. Stevens has passed on the leadership of the New York Young Republican Club to a new generation. Stevens is now the elected President of the Beaux Arts Society, a long-established Manhattan social organization.

     As I am from the same small town where Ross Perot grew up, people often ask me if I have ever met Perot. The answer is no, nor do I have any desire ever to. As for the rumor that I went to John Gotti Junior for protection from FBI informant Jerry Surace? That was just a rumor, which I did not start. I have never met Mr. Gotti, nor spoken to him, nor am I involved in any way with any of his associates. Still, I wish Mr. Gotti and his family all the best!

     In regards to the Colombo Family? Well, that is another story.


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