The champagne flowed as family and friends celebrated the murder acquittals of reputed mob boss Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo and eight associates accused of killing a gangster rival.
"It was a very, very brave jury," said Las Vegas lawyer Oscar Goodman at the party in a posh center city hotel hours after Tuesday's verdicts clearing Scarfo and his associates of killing Salvatore Testa on Sept. 14, l984.Scarfo and his associates were also found not guilty of conspiracy and possession of an instrument of crime, charges brought against them by two ex-mobsters turned informants who said they were part of the murder plot.
The revelers sipped $50-a-shot Louis XII cognac and downed glasses of $100-a-bottle Taittinger champagne to celebrate the stunning acquittal.
The acquitted men, however, did not attend.
They remained in jail without bail, under federal indictment with nine other Scrafo associates on charges of operating a criminal enterprise that includes murder, extortion, drug dealing, loan sharking and gambling.
"No jury in the world is going to accept that kind of perjured evidence without some kind of corroborating evidence, and in this case there was none," Goodman said on the testimony of informants Nicholas "Nicky Crow" Caramandi and Thomas "Tommy Del" DelGiorno.
That trial is expected to be held later this year, and First Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Lee said the acquittals shouldn't affect his case, which uses the same charges the federal government has brought against organized crime families in Boston, New York and Kansas City.
Scarfo and other mob associates, including a few acquitted with him this time, are charged in two other murder cases still ahead - one in Philadelphia for the 1985 slaying of Frank "Frankie Flowers" D'Alfonso, and the other the 1978 killing in New Jersey of former Judge Edwin Helfant.
Last December, Scarfo was found not guilty of federal drug racketeering charges, and the chief evidence against him and six associates came from Caramandi and DelGiorno.