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Valachi Airs More of Mob’s Dirty Laundry

Oct. 9, 1963 - Underworld songbird Joseph Valachi today told Senate racket probers how he recruited three killers and then fingered mobster Eugene Giannini for assassination in 1952 because Giannini was an informer for the Narcotics Bureau. Valachi also testified that Vito Genovese, leading New York rackets boss, told him when they were cellmates in Atlanta Prison two years ago that “he gave back Frank Costello his interest in the Copacabana” nightclub. Valachi said Genovese told him that the Copa “belongs to Frank and nobody else but Frank.” Questioned about whether he had been “asked to participate” in the abortive 1957 attempt to assassinate Costello, the mobster requested the committee to leave that subject for a closed session. He explained that he was anxious to “protect” someone. Rackets committee counsel Jerome Adlerman agreed not to pursue the matter in public. Valachi and Sergeant Ralph Salerno of the NYPD also made some revelations about the two-year Gallo-Profaci war for control of a Cosa Nostra “family” in Brooklyn. Salerno said the list of all recorded casualties shows “three people missing, nine killed, and nine attempted killings” between August 1961, when the war started, and August 1963, when an “armed truce” was affected. Joseph Magliocco now heads the gang once bossed by the late Joseph Profaci. Earlier, Valachi, the 61-year-old Cosa Nostra defector, told the committee that mobster Willie Moretti was murdered at a restaurant in Cliffside, N.J., in 1951 because Genovese considered Moretti a “sick” (in the head) man. “It was a mercy killing,” Valachi commented with a straight face. “Genovese told me, ‘The Lord have mercy on his soul, he’s losing his mind.’” Moretti, an underboss in the Genovese crime family and a cousin of Frank Costello, was the only mobster who cooperated with the Kefauver Committee hearings in 1950. Genovese and other Mafia chieftains believed mental condition was possibly deteriorating from advanced-stage syphilis and that he was becoming too talkative. On October 4, 1951, Moretti was shot to death at Joe’s Elbow Room Restaurant in Cliffside Park, N.J.

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