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An undercover FBI agent recalled today conversations in which...

NEW YORK -- An undercover FBI agent recalled today conversations in which alleged mobsters praised known Mafia leaders and condemned famous mob informer, Joseph Valachi.

Agent Edgar Robb, who posed as Anthony 'Tony' Rossi, also recounted how one man said he admired Joe Bonanno, a former leader of the Bonanno crime family, because Bonanno fooled his men by putting on pajamas as if to go to bed but then went out at night.

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The conversations were presented as evidence in the trial in U.S. District Court in Manhattan of five reputed members of the Bonanno crime family charged with racketeering and conspiracy.

The tapes were among those recorded by the FBI in Nov. 1980 in a bar the agents ran in Florida.

Robb said one defendant, Benjamin Ruggiero, had confided he thought Valachi, who was one of the first men to reveal the inner workings of the Mafia, was a 'stool pigeon.' He also praised former gangsters Funzi Tieri and Albert Anastasia.

It was Ruggiero, Robb said, who praised Bonanno as being 'the greatest man he ever knew' for being smart enough to be able to fool his men.

Robb said one defendant, Benjamin Ruggiero, had confided he thought Valachi, who was one of the first men to reveal the inner workings of the Mafia, was a 'stool pigeon.' He also praised former gangsters Funzi Tieri and Albert Anastasia.

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It was Ruggiero, Robb said, who praised Bonanno as being 'the greatest man he ever knew' for being smart enough to fool his men.

Earlier in the trial, FBI Agent Joseph Pistone, 43, testified about his six-year infiltration of organized crime under the name of Donnie Brasco. Pistone, who worked closely with Robb during the undercover operation, is the government's chief witness at the trial.

Robb testified he opened the Kings Court bottle club outside of Tampa, Fla., as an 'undercover business' to enable him to meet 'individuals interested in selling stolen property, narcotics.'

Robb said Pistone introduced him to one defendant, Benjamin 'Lefty Guns' Ruggiero, on March 26, 1980, at Tampa International Airport.

Robb said he told Ruggiero the club was in financial trouble and he had been unable to find a partner despite connections with 'wise guys' - organized crime members -- in New York.

'Well, if they didn't put up any money,' Robb quoted Ruggiero as saying, 'they can't stop us from forming a partnership.'

Robb testified that Ruggiero, as part of the agreement, demanded $5,000 in cash, an amount eventually negotiated down to $3,000.

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