U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Williams yesterday expelled the owner of two area restaurants from his courtroom in Alexandria, saying the man made facial gestures to a witness during the trial of another restaurant owner accused of distributing cocaine.
Williams told Giulio Santillo, owner of Tiberio in the District and Terrazza restaurant in Alexandria, that he could not remain in the courtroom "if you're trying to intimidate the witness.
"I've seen you making facial gestures to the witness and passing notes," Williams said. Santillo had earlier passed a note from the gallery to lawyers for the defendant, Savino Recine, owner of Galileo in Washington.
Santillo had entered the courtroom during the testimony of Angelo Puccinello, a former waiter at the Terrazza.
Recine, 35, has pleaded innocent to charges of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and distributing cocaine. Prosecutors have alleged that Recine sold 27 grams of cocaine for $1,800 to Puccinello on Oct. 26, 1983, outside Terrazza.
Recine said he helped the Drug Enforcement Administration make some drug purchases prior to April 1983 as part of a plea bargain agreement in another drug case. He yesterday denied making any illegal drug deals after April 1983.
During questioning of FBI agent M. Glenn Tuttle, Recine's lawyer, Gilbert K. Davis, asked whether "this incident came about as a result of an FBI investigation of suspected drug trafficking by personnel at Terrazza? . . . and included in that would be Giulio Santillo?"
"Partially," Tuttle responded.
Santillo said he knew nothing about an FBI investigation of himself.