John "Sonny" Franzese arrives at federal court in Brooklyn with...

John "Sonny" Franzese arrives at federal court in Brooklyn with an unidentified woman. Franzese is charged with racketeering. (June 10, 2010) Credit: James Carbone

Defense attorneys began cross-examining government witness John Franzese Jr. Thursday, portraying the former crack-cocaine addict as someone who never really had an insider's view of New York's Colombo crime family.

Franzese, 50, who grew up in Roslyn, is the federal government's star witness in its racketeering conspiracy trial that has cast him as chief accuser of his father, John "Sonny" Franzese Sr., 93, of Brooklyn, reputed underboss of the Colombo crime family; Joseph DiGorga of Oceanside, and two other men.

On Tuesday, John Franzese Jr. testified about audio recordings of conversations he had with his father during which crime family business was discussed, including those that allegedly caught his dad plotting to extort strip joints and discussing political arrangements for a club in Babylon.

But there was drama outside the courtroom when testimony ended. Sonny Franzese's estranged wife, Christine Capobianco Franzese, 75, of Selden, and John Jr.'s mother, was issued a citation for disorderly conduct.

Timothy E. Hogan, chief deputy with the U.S. Marshal Service in Brooklyn, said Capobianco pushed a family member in the hallway outside the courtroom. Outside the courthouse, Capobianco Franzese said that Lorraine Scorsone, of Brooklyn, pushed her in the arm, "and I pushed back."

She said she urged her husband to plead guilty.

"I went to tell Sonny to plead guilty and let him [John Jr.] get off the stand," Capobianco Franzese said. She spoke to Sonny Franzese when he was taken to the men's room.

Scorsone left the courthouse without comment.

In court Thursday, defense lawyer Richard Lind questioned Franzese about his past crimes, which included several robberies, that weren't conducted with the blessing of mob bosses.

"That's what a junkie like me does," Franzese testified, referring to his putting a gun to the head of one of his friends and taking $40 to buy drugs.

It came out in court that Franzese, who said he drove a Mercedes-Benz while in high school, was diagnosed as HIV positive in 1990. Lind pressed Franzese on whether payments made to him by the police in Los Angeles were for medication to treat his disease.

Franzese, who testified he got HIV from drug use, also testified that the payments, "maybe $100 a week," were for expenses incurred while working as a police informant while in California.

Outside of court, Michael Franzese, John Jr.'s brother, said his brother's testimony about having intimate knowledge of his father's crime business - and his own work as a deliverer of mob messages for his father - wasn't true.

"My father never instructed him to get into this life," Michael Franzese said. "It was through me. I was a made guy at the time. Our father was in prison for 30 years. We essentially grew up without a father."

Michael Franzese, now a born-again Christian who says he's no longer part of the mob, said he wished his younger brother had "got involved with the Lord" because then he would "never have been in this mess."

Nassau gun permits … Massapequa motel closed … Boxing bus driver  Credit: Newsday

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Nassau gun permits … Massapequa motel closed … Boxing bus driver  Credit: Newsday

Nationwide cellphone outage ... Last LI Boston Market closes ... LI home prices ... What's up on Long Island

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