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Federal judge denies request to free reputed LI mobster Thomas Gioeli to home confinement

Reputed acting Colombo crime family boss Thomas "Tommy

Reputed acting Colombo crime family boss Thomas "Tommy Shots" Gioeli is led by FBI agents from Federal Plaza in Manhattan in June 2008 for arraignment. Credit: AP/Louis Lanzano

A federal judge Thursday rejected the request by the reputed former head of the Colombo organized crime family to be released from prison to home confinement because of the threat of the coronavirus.

Thomas Gioeli, 67, of Farmingdale, also known as “Tommy Shots,” had argued on Monday during a telephonic conference that his age and ill health especially endangered his vulnerability to the virus.

U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan in Brooklyn denied Gioeli’s request in a decision stating that Gioeli had not exhausted his administrative remedies within the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, that the bureau was taking steps to deal with the pandemic. The judge also said Gioeli’s history of Colombo leadership in the organized crime family argued against showing him compassion.

“ [Gioeli] displayed a callous disregard for human life, and I am not persuaded that he warrants more compassion and understanding than I demonstrated when I imposed a less than maximum sentence,” the judge wrote.

Cogan sentenced Gioeli to 224 months in prison in 2014 after he was convicted of racketeering conspiracy in three murders, which eventually led to the killing of two of the targets. The judge noted he could have sentenced Gioeli to 240 months at the time but gave him 16 months less because of his age and ill health.

“We’re disappointed” and haven’t decided whether to appeal, said Gioeli’s attorney, Jennifer Louis-Jeune.

The killings occurred during the bloody so-called “Colombo Wars” during the 1990s between two factions fighting for control of the family, authorities said.

“To reduce defendant’s sentence [now] would be diminishing his transgressions and undermining the goals of the original sentence," Cogan wrote. “Among them, the need to dispense adequate punishment for defendant’s multiple acts throughout his criminal career and to deter others from emulating his behavior.”

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 “[A]lthough defense counsel contends her client is ‘a weakened fraction' of the man he was based on his age and infirmities," Cogan added, “the danger posed by mob leaders, like the defendant, is not that those leaders will personally engage in acts of violence but that they can command others to do so."

In asking for Gioeli to be released, Louis-Jeune had reeled off a list of her client’s illnesses, including diabetes, a stroke, prostate cancer, numerous arterial problems, and that he is now facing a gall bladder operation.

Louis-Jeune said that Gioeli had initially tested positive for the coronavirus at the federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut, and was then moved to a unit with prisoners who had the virus. Gioeli had remained there despite later tests showing the first result was a false-positive, although testing showed he had an immune response, indicating he had been exposed to the virus, she said.

Louis-Jeune said her client is in a cell by himself but shares a common bathroom with others on the unit, and still is vulnerable to getting the virus.

Cogan also noted a 2013 incident — widely reported in the media — in which the defendant was awarded $250,00 for fracturing his knee in prison by tripping in a puddle of water while playing ping-pong.

“Neither that nor his medical condition would stop him from picking up a telephone," to conduct organized-crime business, Cogan wrote.

John Marzulli, a spokesman for Eastern District federal prosecutors, , declined to comment.

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