By Mitchel Maddux
April 25, 2012
On the day prosecutors in the Colombo mob trial were to deliver their final summations to the jury, former street boss Thomas “Tommy Shots” Gioeli suddenly refused to leave his cell — causing a delay in the wreap-up of the murder racketeering case.
“Mr. Gioeli has refused to proceed with the Marshals to the courthouse,” defense attorney Adam Perlmutter told the judge this morning.
Also noticeably absent from court were Gioeli’s family members who have been a constant fixture throughout the month-and-a-half long mob trial.
His attorneys were quick to blame Gioeli’s absence from the Brooklyn federal court trial on the mobster’s longstanding battle with a variety of medical ailments, but they declined publicly to specify the precise problem.
At the same time, Gioeli’s defense team informed the judge that the wiseguy was displeased with the wording of the verdict form, which jurors will use to help formulate their decisions about the defendant’s innocence or guilt.
“Mr. Gioeli is obviously upset with the verdict sheet,” Perlmutter told Judge Brian Cogan.
The issue revolved around the mention of Gioeli’s alleged involvement with certain so-called uncharged racketeering acts, including a bank robbery carried out years ago by his underlings in East Meadow, LI.
The verdict sheet mentions these incidents, which suggest that Gioeli may have participated in a conspiracy with other mobsters – even though he wasn’t specifically charged with those crimes.
Gioeli reportedly was angry with his decision on Tuesday not to take the stand and testify in his own defense after learning that the jurors will read about these uncharged racketeering acts and made the decision last night to not appear in court today, a source told The Post.
The judge noted at today’s hearing that he had decided to alter the wording of the verdict sheet solely for the sake of clarity, although the document still carries the same meaning as before.
“I have revised the verdict form, because I found it to be confusing,” Cogan said.
The judge stressed that the alteration “doesn’t change the substance” of charges contained in the document.
Gioeli’s refusal to appear in court prompted Perlmutter to make an emergency foray to the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where Gioeli is being housed during the trial.
It was there that by mid-morning Gioeli had a change of heart.
“He definitely wants to be present for closing arguments,” Perlmutter informed the judge, after returning from his prison visit.
A sidebar discussion was held about Gioeli’s health issues, but the judge ordered that the transcript should be sealed citing privacy concerns.
In the past, Gioeli’s attorneys have catalogued a long litany of ailments the mobster is afflicted by, including heart problems, diabetes, issues related to the implantation of a stent, and the effects of having suffered a stroke several years ago.
The judge then ordered that Gioeli undergo an examination by physicians at the federal detention center, and adjourned the mob trial until tomorrow morning.
After Brooklyn federal prosecutors make their final remarks to the jury tomorrow morning, attorneys for Colombo soldier Dino “Little” Dino Saracino will present their closing statements followed by Gioeli’s lawyers.
The timing has lead some experts and legal observers to speculate that Gioeli’s health episode today was nothing short of a calculated ploy to buy his lawyers more time to prepare.
Perlmutter declined to comment on this theory after the hearing.