Time has run out to convict a reputed Mafia boss of racketeering charges in New York, famed U.S. lawyer Alan Dershowitz testified yesterday at Vito Rizzuto’s bail hearing.
The reputed “godfather” of the Montreal Mafia is facing extradition to the United States, where he would confront federal charges stemming from the slayings of three Mafia captains in a Brooklyn social club in 1981. Affidavits allege Rizzuto, 58, was the gunman.
Dershowitz, a Harvard University law professor, testified a federal court in New York would throw out the case against Rizzuto because the five-year statute of limitations on the charges ran out 18 years ago.
Even if there was a conspiracy to conduct racketeering activities, it ended with the men’s deaths, he said.
Rizzuto faces 20 years in prison if convicted because the murder allegations have been filed as part of a racketeering case. He has not been charged with murder.
“Under a traditional statute of limitations analysis, he would have had to be prosecuted by 1986,” Dershowitz told a throng of reporters outside the courtroom, noting it’s “now 17 or 18 years later.”
But federal lawyer Michel Vien said there is proof that Rizzuto continued to be a member of the Bonanno crime family well past 1986.
Dershowitz was called as an expert witness by the defence