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FBI framed alleged mobster, his lawyer says

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

A lawyer for alleged Colombo family mobster Thomas "Tommy Shots" Gioeli of Farmingdale said his client had been framed by an "obsessed" FBI agent and informants trying to save their own skins, in closing arguments in the murder and racketeering trial Monday.

"These informants were concerned about only one thing -- their own survival, no matter what story they have to give you," defense lawyer Adam Perlmutter told jurors in federal court in Brooklyn.

Gioeli, 59, is accused of six murders and an array of other crimes on Long Island and in Brooklyn during the 1990s as he rose from head of a Colombo family crew to the family's street boss during the 1990s. Co-defendant Dino Saracino, an alleged member of Gioeli's crew, is charged in three of the murders.

Three former members of Gioeli's crew testified against him -- former lieutenant Dino Calabro, enforcer Joseph Competiello and Saracino's brother Sebastian. Among the murders they said Gioeli ordered were the 1997 killing of NYPD cop Ralph Dols and the 1999 execution of Colombo underboss William Cutolo.

Perlmutter said there was no forensic evidence or wiretaps linking Gioeli to the murders, and no evidence that his allegedly successful mob career made him wealthy. He showed jurors pictures of Gioeli's two-story frame house in Farmingdale -- owned by his late father and shared with his parents, wife and four daughters.

"He lives in a modest home, not a house by the water with tennis courts," Perlmutter said, comparing Gioeli's house with that owned by his alleged subordinate, Calabro. "That is not the home of a captain of all captains of the Colombo family."

Unlike Saracino's attorney, Perlmutter did not concede that Gioeli -- whose sources of income have not been specified -- was in the mob.

He said Gioeli associates with "people the government doesn't like," and has been targeted since 1987 on just "suspicion by association."

The lawyer blamed FBI case agent Scott Curtis, a member of the agency's Colombo squad for 15 years, for manufacturing the case against Gioeli, and eventually encouraging informants like Competiello and Calabro to fabricate evidence, elaborating on their claims of Gioeli's role in crimes as their debriefings progressed.

Calabro, who had connections with Colombo family higher-ups and was in fact the central player in several murders, was only too happy to oblige, Perlmutter said, while Gioeli "never committed, planned, conspired or participated in a murder in his life."Summations are expected to conclude Tuesday.

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