House Arrest Likely for 96-Year-Old Mob Figure FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. --A 96-year-old mobster accused of overseeing robberies, money laundering and bank fraud for the Genovese crime family pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy Wednesday, but because of his age he probably will not be sent to prison. Albert "The Old Man" Facchiano, whose arrest record dates back 75 years, used a cane in court and needed a special headset to hear the questions from U.S. District Judge James Cohn. His attorney said he sees a doctor four times a week for back pain, arthritis and other ailments.
"He couldn't have stood trials in both Florida and New York on this," lawyer Brian McComb said.
Facchiano pleaded guilty to a Florida charge of racketeering conspiracy and a New York charge of conspiracy to tamper with a witness. From at least 2000 to 2003, Facchiano supervised people who committed extortion, robberies, money laundering and bank fraud, according to prosecutors. The charges he pleaded guilty to carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and $500,000 in fines, but under the plea agreement, prosecutors recommended that Facchiano serve house arrest.
Prosecutors, defense lawyers and Mafia experts have said they cannot remember anyone that age being implicated in crimes committed so recently.
* * *
· SAN DIEGO --U.S. authorities arrested more than 400 people and seized 18 tons of illegal drugs over the course of a 20-month investigation into a Mexican smuggling cartel, federal officials said. Authorities unsealed federal and state charges against 139 defendants in California, New York, Arizona and Illinois in connection with the probe, dubbed "Operation Imperial Emperor." The investigation targeted the Victor Emilio Cazares-Gastellum trafficking group, which supplied cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana across the United States, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said.
· RALEIGH, N.C. --The former prosecutor in the sexual assault case against three members of the Duke University lacrosse team did not intentionally break ethics rules, his attorneys argued as they sought to keep him from being disbarred. Attorneys for Durham County District Attorney Michael B. Nifong acknowledged that he made many of the comments the state bar deemed misleading and inflammatory. But they denied that Nifong intentionally withheld DNA evidence from defense attorneys -- the most serious of the ethics charges faced by the veteran prosecutor.
· EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --A military jury ignored an Air Force captain's plea for leniency, sentencing him to 50 years in prison for raping four men and attempting to rape two others. The sentence was delivered a day after nine Air Force officers serving on Capt. Devery L. Taylor's court-martial jury found him guilty of all charges against him for drugging and kidnapping servicemen and others he met in bars. Taylor will not be eligible for parole for 20 years.
· ATLANTA --A bipartisan group of lawmakers called for tighter restrictions on how police use "no-knock" warrants in the wake of a shootout that left an elderly woman dead after plainclothes officers entered her home. A measure would allow judges to grant the warrants only if police officers can prove a "significant and imminent danger to human life."
-- From News Services