Alleged Genovese family captain Anthony "Rom" Romanello of Franklin Square was acquitted on extortion and conspiracy charges by a jury in Brooklyn federal court on Friday after one dissenting juror was dismissed.
Romanello, 76, was accused of presiding at a mob sit down with Bonanno family bosses to resolve a dispute over a $30,000 debt. The defense argued that his mere presence wasn't enough to make him part of the conspiracy, and he never took any steps to enforce the order to repay the debt.
When the jury first came into the courtroom to read its verdict, one juror said she didn't agree, stunning Romanello and his defense team. After 2-1/2 hours of additional deliberation, the jury's forewoman sent out a note raising questions about the competence of the dissenting juror.
U.S. District Judge Carol Amon, after some brief questioning, decided to remove the dissenter and take a verdict from a jury of 11. The government did not object.