"These are despicable people," defense lawyer Elizabeth Macedonio said during her closing statement in the trial of aging mob boss Vincent Asaro, referencing so-called "paid cooperators" who they argue were simply trying to frame Asaro. "They are accomplished liars." The four-week trial, which included some amazingly detailed testimony from Asaro’s cousin, concluded with Asaro being found not guilty on Thursday. Prosecutors were reportedly (and predictably) stunned, according to the New York Daily News.
"We thought there was going to be $2 million in cash," Gaspare Valenti (Asaro's cousin) recalled during his testimony, as cited by the Associated Press. "There was $6 million." The much-discussed 1978 Lufthansa heist, documented in the confirmed classic Goodfellas, has remained a baffling topic for organized crime historians and law enforcement officials alike. Asaro’s father and grandfather were both members of the legendary Bonanno crime family, a fact that Assistant U.S. Attorney Alicyn Cooley argued greatly informed the path of Asaro’s adult life: "[Asaro] was born into that life and he fully embraced it."
After hearing the news, Asaro reportedly kissed his lawyer on the lips "four times" and slammed his fist on the defense table, says the Daily News. Asaro, now 80 years old, was also acquitted of helping another man strangle a purported snitch with a dog chain.