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Jury selection begins in Lufthansa heist trial

Bonnano mob figure Vincent Asaro of Ozone Park,

Bonnano mob figure Vincent Asaro of Ozone Park, Queens, is seen in this mug shot photo from Feb. 15, 1995. Credit: Jonathan Fine

Jury selection began Thursday in the Lufthansa heist trial of Vincent Asaro with the distribution of questionnaires to prospective jurors, but the case lost some of its cinematic luster with a ruling excluding some "Goodfellas" moments from evidence.

U.S. District Judge Allyne Ross in Brooklyn barred testimony on the murder of Lufthansa crew member Tommy DeSimone -- the character played by Joe Pesci in the film -- and other killings featured in the film about the legendary 1978 robbery of $6 million at Kennedy Airport.

Ross, in an order issued Wednesday, prohibited prosecutors from getting into the bloody aftermath because Asaro is charged with conspiring to commit the theft, but not with the murders, and evidence about them would be too prejudicial.

Asaro, 80, an alleged Bonanno family capo from Howard Beach, is the first mob figure indicted in connection with participating in the Lufthansa robbery. The trial is scheduled to begin on Oct. 19.

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