Key dates in Ray Donovan case

May 25, 1987
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NEW YORK -- Key dates in the government's investigation of former Labor Secretary Raymond Donovan, executive vice president and 40 percent owner of Schiavone Construction Co. of Secaucus, N.J.:

Dec. 16, 1980 -- President-elect Reagan nominates Donovan as secretary of labor.

Jan. 29, 1981 -- Senate Labor Committee approves Donovan confirmation after FBI reports it could not corroborate allegations that Donovan has ties to underworld figures.

Feb. 3, 1981 -- Senate confirms Donovan 80-17.

Feb. 4, 1981 -- Donovan sworn in as labor secretary.

June 8, 1981 -- Time Magazine reports Donovan mentioned in FBI wiretap of reputed mobster William Masselli, who did subcontract work for Schiavone Construction.

Dec. 10, 1981 -- FBI investigation discloses allegations by former labor union official Mario Montuoro that Donovan was present in 1977 when $2,000 payoff was made by an official of Schiavone to union official.

Dec. 22, 1981 -- Donovan calls Montuoro a 'damnable and contemptible liar.'

Dec. 23, 1981 -- Attorney General William French Smith asks for investigation of Donovan.

Dec. 29, 1981 -- New York attorney Leon Silverman named as special prosecutor to investigate Donovan under the Ethics in Government Act.

Dec. 30, 1981 -- Senate Labor Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and senior Democratic member Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., urge Silverman to investigate allegations about Donovan.

May 2, 1982 -- Senate Labor Committee report indicates new FBI information about Donovan's alleged connections with slain underworld figure Salvatore Briguglio.

May 11, 1982 -- Donovan testifies before special grand jury in New York.

June 11, 1982 -- Body ormer Teamsters union member Fred Furino found in car trunk in New York City with bullet wound in head; had appeared before Silverman grand jury on Donovan matter.

June 21, 1982 -- Washington Post reports Schiavone Construction linked to Genovese crime family; Donovan vows to stay in Cabinet.

June 28, 1982 -- Silverman commission cites 'insufficient credible evidence' in clearing Donovan.

Aug. 25, 1982 -- William Masselli's son, Nat, gunned down shortly after testifying before Silverman's investigators; murder later determined not linked to Donovan.

Sept. 13, 1982 -- Silverman commission clears Donovan of 14 'new' allegations, citing insufficient credible evidence. Donovan declares his vindication.

Sept. 10, 1984 -- Bronx District Attorney Mario Merola indicates a Bronx grand jury is investigating charges that in 1979 Schiavone firm manipulated figures on its minority subcontractors to qualify for a federally subsidized New York City subway construction contract. Merola's investigation stemmed from probe into charges William Masselli, accused Genovese crime family member, helped kill a gangland rival in 1978 in dispute over the Schiavone subcontract.

Sept. 11, 1984 -- Federal judge in New York refuses to block Bronx grand jury investigation into possible fraud by Schiavone on subway contract.

Sept. 24, 1984 -- Donovan waives immunity and testifies before Bronx grand jury.

Oct. 1, 1984 -- Donovan, Schiavone, William Masselli and seven current or former executives indicted on charges of grand larceny, maintaining and filing false business records. Donovan takes leave of absence so his indictment will 'not reflect negatively on the president.' Masselli indicted with an associate for murder of Salvatore Frascone, Bonnanno crime family member involved with Schiavone sub-contract.

Oct. 2, 1984 -- Donovan pleads innocent to the charges, begins efforts to have indictment dismissed.

March 15, 1985 -- New York state judge refuses to dismiss the indictment; Donovan resigns.

Nov. 5, 1985 -- Bronx District Attorney Mario Merola charges that federal authorities mishandled Donovan investigation.

Nov. 26, 1985 -- Merola releases list of checks Donovan signed to 'phony' minority firm run by Masselli but allegedly owned by another defendant in the case, state Sen. Joseph Galiber, D-Bronx, who is black.

Dec. 23, 1985 -- Judge rules that FBI surveillance tapes are legal and can be used in Donovan trial, ending months of defense efforts to keep them from being used in the case. Donovan is not heard on the tapes, but other Schiavone executives are. Judge rebukes FBI's New York office for 'disorder', 'lack of leadership' and 'chaos' in their inquiry.

Feb. 18, 1986 -- Jury selection postponed to March 24, then to April 1, but delayed again until September.

April 3, 1986 -- Prosecutor releases 366 pages of FBI tape transcripts, with Masselli quoted saying 'I made some deal with them (Schiavone).' 'They wanna go though me, through our company' to qualify for the Transit Authority contract. Referring to the alleged black owner of Jopel, Masselli says: 'Galiber gets a check. He's on the payroll. I give him a check for $700 a week.' Judge orders transcript copies sealed to prevent mistrial. Issues gag order barring Merola's office from discussing case with reporters.

Sept. 2, 1986 -- Judge delays trial to find out if Ronald Schiavone, who co-founded the firm with Donovan, is well enough to stand trial. Defense says he suffered heart attack and needs time to recover. Jury selection begins.

Sept. 5, 1986 -- Schiavone severed from the trial.

Sept. 26, 1986 -- Jury selection complete, but Donovan trial delayed again by defense maneuver. 'The trial will be nothing compared to the waiting,' the former labor secretary says.

Sept. 29, 1986 -- Federal special prosecutor Silverman called to testify by defense in last ditch move to bar the FBI tapes. Silverman appears startled when presented with document on his letterhead saying Nat Masselli had agreed to wear a tape recorder for the FBI three months before his death. 'I never saw this document until this moment,' he says. 'It must have been a mistake.'

Sept. 31, 1986 -- Chief prosecutor Stephen Bookin begins opening arguments, saying the case was 'about greed, plain and simple.'

Oct. 3, 1986 -- Donovan defense lawyer labels it a 'non-case' that 'exists only in the mind of Mr. Bookin.'

Oct. 7, 1986 -- Bookin plays Masselli tapes. Masselli is heard saying late Mafia boss Vito Genovese's son-in law, Patty Simonetti, helped his friend, Louis Nargi, gain subcontract with Schiavone Co. Masselli later describes how he muscled Nargi out of the construction business and took over the Schiavone subcontract for Jopel. No mention is made of the killing of Frascone, who tried to intercede on Nargi's behalf.

Nov. 17, 1986 -- U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear defense appeal, rules that federal grand jury material can be used as evidence in the state trial. Much of the evidence had already been introduced.

April 21, 1987 -- Judge dismisses charges against one defendant, Schiavone executive Robert Genuario.

April 23, 1987 -- Judge reduces counts in trial to 10 from 137 to simplify case for jury: one count second degree grand larceny, four counts falsifying business documents and five counts offering a false instrument for filing.

April 30, 1987 -- Defense lawyers begin summations characterized by emotional tirades against Bookin, labeled a 'madman' who has manipulated and distorted evidence in the case in a 'conscious effort' to avoid the truth. Summations later delayed due to illness of Masselli, hospitalized for severe ulcers.

May 13, 1987 -- Defense finishes summations, prosecution begins.

May 14, 1987 -- Judge orders jury sequestered following Newsday report that special prosecutor Silverman has reopened his 1982 investigation into allegations about Donovan's mob ties based on new FBI evidence.

May 19, 1987 -- Prosecution ends summations.

May 20, 1987 -- Judge delays charging jury for hours while debate rages over absence of Masselli, reportedly hospitalized for 'life-threatening condition.'

May 21, 1987 -- Jury begins deliberations.

May 22, 1987 -- Juror ruled 'grossly unfit' to serve. Removed from jury after dragged into courtroom chanting 'the Lord is my shepherd' and demanding to see a priest. Sets the stage for possible mistrial.

May 23, 1987 -- Donovan asks that trial go on with alternate juror. But other defendants demand mistrial, then call for charges to be dismissed. Judge refuses, orders alternate join jury that must begin deliberations anew.

May 25, 1987 -- After nine hours of deliberations over two days, jury acquits Donovan and his seven co-defendants of all charges.

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