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Closing arguments begin in Franzese trial

John "Sonny" Franzese is no Donald Trump or George Steinbrenner, a defense lawyer for the 93-year-old reputed Colombo family underboss said Monday as closing arguments began in Franzese's Brooklyn federal racketeering trial.

Dismissing his client's bragging about his mob power on secretly recorded audiotapes as exaggerations by a has-been, defense lawyer Richard Lind said real bosses like Trump or Steinbrenner wouldn't need to chest-thump with underlings.

"You think Donald Trump tells people he's the boss of the Trump organization? You think he needs to do that?" Lind said. ". . . It's pathetic. He's got to say, 'I'm the underboss'? I think it's a sign of insecurity, not strength."

Franzese, once a feared enforcer who was widely viewed as Long Island's most powerful mobster, and three other men are charged with a racketeering conspiracy including loan-sharking, robbery and extortion of strip clubs and an Albertson pizzeria.

Franzese's son, John Franzese Jr., testified against him - a first in mob lore.

Prosecutors told jurors that despite his advanced age and more than half of the last four decades spent in jail, Franzese has remained a potent criminal force.


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