NEWARK, N.J. -- Reputed Mafia leader Louis 'Bobby' Manna inducted new members into the Genovese organized crime family by telling them, 'This is the gun you live by. This is the knife you die by,' an alleged high-ranking mob defector testified Friday.
Vincent 'Fish' Cafaro, 55, who turned against the family and worked undercover for the FBI for five months in 1986, testified for the first time in a criminal trial. He described a world of meetings in Manhattan social clubs and on street corners in East Harlem, of 'made men,' 'wise guys,' 'soldiers' and 'capos' where mob leaders approved 'hits' on 'rats.'
Prosecutors describe Manna as the Genovese family consigliere, or third-ranking leader, and as head of the family's New Jersey faction. He and five alleged associates are on trial charged with a conspiracy that includes plotting to kill reputed Gambino crime family boss John Gotti and his brother Gene and arranging the murder of mob-connected New York businessman Irwin Schiff, dubbed 'the Fat Man.'
Cafaro said 'made members' were inducted in a ritual that included pricking their trigger fingers with a pin. He said he recommended one man for membership and then watched the ceremony at an apartment in East Harlem.
'This is the gun you live by. This is the knife you die by,' Manna told the new member.
As First Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Chertoff completed his direct examination, he asked Cafaro if he was still a member of the family after wearing a wire and testifying before a U.S. Senate investigating committee.
When Cafaro replied, 'No,' Chertoff asked him why.
'Because I'm a rat,' Cafaro said.
Genovese boss Anthony 'Fat Tony' Salerno told him in 1980 that Manna was the new consigliere, Cafaro said. He also told the jury that Vincent 'the Chin' Gigante and Manna ran the family for several months after Salerno suffered a stroke in January 1981. Law enforcement authorities believe Gigante became boss of the Genovese family following Salerno's imprisonment.
Manna approved the killing of Nicholas 'Nat' Masselli, who was shot in the Bronx in August 1982, Cafaro said. Masselli, son of William 'the Butcher' Masselli, had been talking to a special prosecutor investigating former Labor Secretary Raymond Donovan.
Allegedly the highest-ranking mob defector in recent years, Cafaro agreed to cooperate after his arrest in 1986 and worked undercover with the FBI, wearing a wire. But a year later he reneged, refusing to testify in a drug trial.
He made a new agreement last year and pleaded guilty to racketeering charges in New York and New Jersey. He told the jury in U.S. District Court that he was paid $50,000 for a year's worth of cooperation.