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VIDEO RUBBED OUT: Feds: Evidence of jailhouse mob rite erased in bungle


September 24, 2012

FEDERAL prosecutors would show a bombshell video of a mobster becoming a made man behind bars, but there’s one problem – a prison official erased the tape!

The feds claim that Ilario (Fat Larry) Sessa was inducted into the Colombo crime family at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn by then-acting boss Andrew (Mush) Russo after more than 100 gangsters were rounded up by the feds in January 2011.

Mob rat Reynold Maragni provided the account, though said he was not present for the ceremony, a source said.

Sessa’s lawyer demanded the government back up its talk by handing over surveillance tapes from the high-security facility, which is wired for pictures wall-to-wall.

Under pressure to respond to Sessa’s lawyer’s denials, the feds have been forced to admit that they don’t actually have the Jan. 21 footage, which they claim would show the ultimate mob ceremony.

An FBI agent said he saw the video, which showed “several defendants … variously entering and exiting Andrew Russo’s cell,” according to papers.

The agent requested a DVD copy of the tape, but a prison staffer “failed to properly burn the video.” So the agent contacted the prison for a new copy, but was told that the original tape had been overwritten, prosecutors stated.

Defense lawyer VINCENT ROMANO has maintained the snitch’s claim is bogus. “I’M NOT SURPRISED THE GOVERNMENT HAS ERASED THE TAPE OF A SO-CALLED EVENT THAT NEVER HAPPENED IN THE FIRST PLACE,” the lawyer told the Daily News.

ROMANO also asked for a list of all the alleged mobsters who supposedly attended the blessed event – but prosecutors said they would not provide the list.

There seems to be little question about Sessa’s connection to the mob, given that he is expected to plead guilty soon in Brooklyn Federal Court. But the question of whether he is a “made” man or just a soldier is central because prosecutors are expected to argue at sentencing that a high-ranking member of the mob should get more jail time than a mere criminal associate.

Footage of a mob induction ceremony is considered the holy grail of Mafia buffs.

In the ceremony, a mobster holds a gun and swears allegiance to the crime family as his finger is pricked with a knife and the blood smeared on the picture of a saint. The picture is then set on fire and the wiseguy warned that he will burn in hell like the picture if he ever violates the oath of secrecy, or omerta.

In the alleged Metropolitan Detention Center ceremony, a prop would have had to replace a gun.

There is an audiotape of a ceremony secretly recorded among members of the Patriarca crime family of New England, but there are no known videos of such a ceremony.

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