‘Goodfellas’ mobster Vinny Asaro granted early release over coronavirus concerns
The aging Bonanno capo who once beat charges that he was involved in the infamous 1978 Lufthansa heist immortalized in Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas” is getting another break — early release from prison.
Wiseguy Vinny Asaro was granted compassionate release Friday out of concerns that the 85-year-old Bonanno big — who had a stroke last year — is at high risk if he catches coronavirus.
“If Asaro were to contract COVID-19, given his age and current state, it is not unlikely that the consequences would be dire,” Brooklyn federal Judge Allyne Ross wrote in a 16-page decision.
Asaro is serving an eight-year sentence on arson charges stemming from a 2012 road-rage incident.
Ross is the same judge who presided over the 2015 trial in which Asaro was cleared on charges that he took part in the Lufthansa job as well as the 1969 gangland murder of associate Paul Katz.
Prosecutors alleged that Asaro was involved with a band of mob hoodlums who breached the Lufthansa cargo terminal at Kennedy Airport on Dec. 11, 1978 and made off with $6 million in cash and jewels — though jurors were not convinced.
But the reputed mobster’s freedom was short-lived.
Less than two years after the trial, he was back before Ross on charges that after a stranger cut off, Asaro off at a traffic light in Queens, the enraged wiseguy followed the motorist home and later had two goons — including the grandson of the late “Dapper Don” John Gotti — torch the stranger’s car.
“Asaro nursed enough of a grudge from simply being cut off in traffic that he not only followed a member of the public for an extended period, terrorizing him, but also had an associate find out his home address and then ordered the man’s car to be burned to a crisp days later,” Ross said at the December 2017 sentencing, according to court papers.
While Asaro was acquitted on charges that he had anything to do with the Lufthansa heist or the Katz rub-out, Ross considered Asaro’s alleged role in those crimes when giving him an eight-year sentence for the road-rage torch job — which the judge said was effectively a “death sentence” for the octogenarian mobster.
Asaro is being held in the same Springfield, Missouri medical prison where the Teflon Don drew his final breaths in 2002.
While there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 in that facility, disease is spreading through the Show-Me State, Ross wrote.
A spokesman for the US Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn said that prosecutors are reviewing Ross’ ruling and weighing legal options.
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