Anthony "Bingy" Arillotta, the flipped Genovese capo who is the star witness for federal prosecutors at the racketeering trial against reputed soldier Emilio Fusco, cooly brushed off personal attacks during cross-examination by the defendant's lawyer Richard B. Lind who targeted the ex-mobster's supposed "history of broken promises, murderous intentions and a beholden status to the government" as reported by Stephanie Barry for The Republican.
The criminal underworld and defense lawyers may not like so-called rats but juries routinely convict defendants based on their testimony. Indeed, Arillotta testified at the trial last year against Fusco's three co-defendants, including onetime Genovese acting boss Artie Nigro, and the jury returned a guilty verdict after deliberating just five hours.
Juries are sophisticated enough to understand that a rat carries baggage, and they aren't looking for boy scouts and choir boys. Indeed, a flipped witness is credible precisely because he's a slimeball. Who else would be involved with the Mafia to know where the proverbial bodies are buried? Ironically, defense lawyers enhance the credibility of the rat before the jury by portraying him as bad, and the badder he is, the more he likely knows.
Moreover, personally attacking a flipped witness ironically can have the broader effect of smearing the one against whom he is testifying. After all, if the turncoat were such a bad person then why was the defendant allegedly involved with him in the first instance? As the silly childhood taunt goes: it takes one to know one!
The jury looks favorably on a man who has renounced his criminal ways, and instead chosen to do the right thing. Although Arillotta likely was motivated by self-interest in his decision to flip, the move also came at great personal risk to himself: the family doesn't look kindly on those who betray it.
Apparently defense lawyer Lind yesterday even attempted to impeach Arillotta's credibility for the "breaking of his oath to the Mafia" as reported by Stephanie Barry for The Republican. Of course, most of us ordinary folk want career criminals to betray their once-held values, and rather than condemning rats we encourage them.