How’s this for one last twist in the “Mafia Cops” case?
After five years of legal wrangling, “Mafia Cops” minor players Anthony Eppolito and Guido Bravatti walked out of U.S. District Court on Tuesday free men.
In September, Eppolito and Bravatti were convicted on federal drug charges as part of a larger case that focused on former New York Police Department detectives Stephen Caracappa and Louis Eppolito, Anthony’s father. The corrupt “Mafia Cops” were convicted of charges related to their work for New York’s Lucchese crime family.
The drug case against young Eppolito and Bravatti was important to the larger investigation because it served to show a continuation of criminal activity.
In the end, that continued criminal activity netted negligible jail time.
In a move rarely seen in U.S. District Judge Philip Pro’s courtroom, Anthony Eppolito and Bravatti received substantial leniency after a two-hour hearing involving defense attorney Richard Schonfeld, Assistant Federal Public Defender Shari Kaufman and Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Vasquez. Neither defendant had prior convictions. They received sentences of one day with credit for time served, five years of supervised release with the first six months to be served in a halfway house followed by six months of home confinement.
They could have received as much as 51 months.
“The judge took into consideration all the factors, the lack of prior criminal history, and the exceptional family and community support, and fashioned a just and fair sentence,” Schonfeld said.
Call it a little armchair handicapping from a broken-down courtroom wag, but I wonder whether we’ve heard the last of Bravatti.
Now for the biggest twist: The FBI’s key undercover informant Stephen Corso — without whom the government would have been unable to make its case — is serving several months in a federal correctional facility for a white-collar crime.
PRESIDENTIAL VISIT: Former President George W. Bush said he was impressed Wednesday after touring the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health downtown with his friend project creator Larry Ruvo.
“I tip my hat to the people of Nevada for stepping up to the plate and recognizing a need, and displaying the desire to help,” Bush said in a statement. “The research and treatment being done inside these walls is essential to prolonging health and vital aging in people at risk for dementia and memory impairments, and I look forward to following the Center’s progress.”
THE BEAT: For a minute this week I thought someone had taken me down to funky town as I walked through the Riviera and took in some of the booths at the Mobile Beat Show and Conference 2010. The latest in mobile disc jockey equipment was on display, and some displays appeared to have been ripped right out of “Saturday Night Fever” and a Biggie Smalls music video. The DJ conference drew hundreds of music party practitioners.
NFL WARRIORS: They came through the door of Salvatore’s Saturday night at the Suncoast at a slower gait than in their prime. But the Oakland Raiders of the 1960s — Otis Sistrunk, Big Ben Davidson and Jim Otto among them — turned heads in the restaurant.
Otto has paid a heavy price for playing the game he loved, undergoing almost 70 surgeries, including a leg amputation.
Decorating his prosthesis: a Raiders logo.
ON THE BOULEVARD: Jared Halper, the IRS special agent who played a key role in the tax case against contractor Robert Kahre, has been named to a supervisory position in the agency’s Salt Lake City office. … “Country Chuck” Manning is taking his popular morning show to Coyote Country 102.7 FM.
John L. Smith’s column appears Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. E-mail him at Smith@reviewjournal.com or call (702) 383-0295. He also blogs at lvrj.com/blogs/smith.