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Long IslandCrime

Gioeli decides against testifying in trial

In this June, 4, 2008 photo, reputed acting

In this June, 4, 2008 photo, reputed acting boss of the Colombo crime family Thomas "Tommy Shots" Gioeli is led by FBI agents from Federal Plaza for arraignment in Manhattan. Credit: AP

Alleged Colombo family leader Tommy Gioeli of Farmingdale told a judge he wanted to testify but changed his mind within an hour and decided not to take the stand in his murder and racketeering trial as testimony came to an end Tuesday.

Closing arguments are scheduled to begin Wednesday morning in federal court in Brooklyn. Gioeli, 59, is accused of running a mob crew responsible for at least six murders during the 1990s, including killing a police officer and a Colombo consigliere, and burying three bodies in a Farmingdale mob graveyard.

Appearing in court Tuesday, Gioeli -- who has complained on a prison blog that he is a law-abiding suburbanite being persecuted by his government -- said he was unhappy with his lawyers and wanted to testify. U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan gave him an hour to prepare, and he changed his mind.

As evidence closed, Gioeli's lawyers told jurors that the government had spent more than $1.3 million on witness security and relocation costs for eight informants who testified against him. That included payments for two former members of Gioeli's crew who testified that they committed murders on his behalf -- $103,725 for Dino Calabro of Farmingdale, Gioeli's top lieutenant, and $238,151 for Joseph Competiello, who also lived in Farmingdale at one time.

Gioeli and co-defendant Dino Saracino, who is charged in three of the murders, both face up to life in prison.

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