HuffPost: Judge cuts sentence of Greg Scarpa Jr.; ex Mafia capo who tipped the FBI to Terry Nichols’ OK City bombing cache — a story first reported in “Triple Cross.”

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By Peter Lance (c) January 6th, 2016. Huffington Post. Today The NYT weighed in on a story published Monday and Tuesday in New York’s two tabloids, The Daily News and The Post. Now all three papers have reported on the order signed January 4th by Judge Edward R. Korman, reducing former Colombo Family captain Greg Scarpa Jr’s. 40 year sentence by 10 years.

Korman’s action effectively vindicated Scarpa Jr. who  helped the FBI in 2005 to uncover a cache of high explosives buried in a crawl space beneath the Herington Kansas home of convicted Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols, a spot Bureau investigators missed during a search of the premises ten years earlier.

But the News, Post & Times pieces (based largely on Judge Korman’s order) didn’t even hint at the depth of cooperation from the son of Greg Scarpa Sr., the murderous capo chronicled in my latest book “Deal With The Devil.”

In fact, Junior first risked his life in 1996 in a sting of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef, which, if properly acted upon by the FBI, could have led to the capture of Yousef’s uncle Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and derailed the 9/11 “planes as missiles” plot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I first told that story in my 2004 HarperCollins  book “Cover Up” and offered additional details in a 2009 piece for PLAYBOY magazine titled, “The Chilling Effect.”  

As I reported back then, the Feds, led by former Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, later characterized Junior’s eleven month sting of Yousef in a Manhattan federal jail as a “hoax” and a “scam,” despite dozens of FBI 302 memos documenting the intelligence initiative.

In fact, one of the 302′s contained intel that KSM was then hiding out in Doha, Qatar.

Once the Bureau identified his presence there, the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team was dispatched to the Qatari capital for the takedown.

But they were told to cool their heels in a hotel while the Qataris “put the handcuffs” on KSM. Then, a day later, when the agents finally went to a safe house where KSM had been hiding, he had already fled to the Czech Republic, using the alias Mustafa al Nasir.

Despite the quality of Junior’s intel, which the Feds clearly took seriously, Judge Reena Raggi — herself a former AUSA — seemed to buy the “scam” story during Junior’s 1998 trial for racketeering and drug sales.

At his sentencing, though not specifically finding that he’d engaged in a hoax, she nonetheless hit him with a 482 month (40 year) sentence.

That despite the fact that the younger Scarpa had never been convicted of a single murder and his own father who had “stopped counting” after 50 homicides, got a virtual wrist slap sentence of 10 years from Jack B. Weinstein another judge in the same judicial district.

Over the years successive judges refused to grant Junior any “downward release” time until Korman became aware of his role in the OK City sting.

That happened in 2005 in the month’s prior to the 10th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.

As detailed in the third book in my HarperCollins 9/11 trilogy, “Triple Cross,” Scarpa Jr. found himself at the ADX Florence (The Supermax prison) in Colorado in a cell adjacent to Nichols, who’d been convicted with Timothy McVeigh (below) in the 1995 bombing of The Murrah Federal Building — a domestic act of terror that claimed 168 lives; including 19 infants and children.

Concocting the kind of plot you’d see in a film thriller and undeterred by the losing hand the Feds had already dealt him, Greg Jr. mounted a second sting, this time learning from Nichols that the FBI had missed those explosives.

Now, on the upcoming 10th anniversary of the bombing, Nichols told Scarpa Jr. he was concerned that “others unknown” involved in the plot, might find them and use them.

This is a link to that story as I first told it in 2006. The revelations in “Triple Cross” proved to be so embarrassing that Fitzgerald himself mounted a 20 month campaign to kill the hardcover edition and keep the paperback from publication.

He was unsuccessful, the First Amendment prevailed and the trade paper edition was published in 2009 followed by a HuffPost in which I challenged Fitzgerald to “put up or shut up;” either bring suit or apologize for his baseless claims.

He did neither.

But in 2012 after Scarpa Jr. had been moved from the Supermax to a prison in the midwest, I was able to conduct a series of interviews with him for “Deal With The Devil.” Those interviews yielded…

AN ASTONISHING DETAIL IN THE NICHOLS’ STING 

One that until now has never been made public.

During those interviews, conducted by phone, the younger Scarpa told me that he had learned the details of the explosives’ location with such precision because the sinks in his cell and Nichols’ cell at the Supermax had been installed back to back.

Demonstrating the same uncanny ingenuity he’d employed in the Yousef sting (when notes were passed through the holes in jailhouse walls) Junior figured out that if he and the OK City bomber used toilet paper rolls to “blow out” the water from the U-shaped traps beneath each sink, they “could talk to each other like (they) were on cell phones.”

WRITING TO JUDGE KORMAN ON GREG JR.’S BEHALF

In 2012, ten years after Greg Jr. had first filed a habeas corpus motion for “downward release,” I sent this letter to Judge Korman. It was lodged as an exhibit in Greg Jr.’s federal case file on November 20th.

In it I described the 1996 Yousef sting in detail; noting that Scarpa Jr.’s material “not only confirmed the presence of an active al Qaeda cell in New York City but warned of a plot by al Qaeda to hijack planes to free the blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman convicted in the Landmarks plot in 1995.

“That same threat was considered such actionable intelligence that it turned up in the infamous Crawford Texas PDB (Presidential Daily Briefing) to President George W. Bush in early August 2001, just weeks before the 9/11 attacks.”

Regarding the Nichols sting I sent the judge a pair of articles from the Associated Press, the first from former Washington A.P. Bureau Chief John Solomon, which went out over the national wire on April 3rd, 2005 after I’d alerted him to the efforts of investigator Angela Clemente to help Scarpa Jr.

Ms. Clemente’s campaign along with that of her associate, the late Dr. Stephen Dresch, then caught the attention of Congressmen Dana Rhorabacher (R-CA) and William Delahunt (D-MA).

The pressure they brought caused the Bureau to take the Scarpa/Nichols intel seriously and the explosives were located precisely where Junior had said they’d be; a fact documented in a second A.P. story the next day by reporter Mark Sherman.

In my letter to Judge Korman I went on to write:

“As a veteran journalist covering organized crime, it is absolutely unprecedented in my experience, to find a “made” member of an LCN family who was so willing to risk his own life vs. terrorists in not just one instance, but two. Further, many of the crimes that Junior was convicted of in 1998 were executed on his father’s orders at a time when his father was operating as a virtual agent provocateur for the FBI.

“So while the “authorization” defense may have been spurned by Judge Reena Raggi at Junior’s trial in 1998, In Triple Cross I reveal compelling new evidence proving that John Napoli, the DOJ’s principal source for the “hoax” story – patently denied that he told the FBI that the “Scarpa materials” were a fabrication.

“Thus, I believe Scarpa Jr. deserves serious consideration for his 2255 motion. If you can examine this evidence your Honor, with the same objectivity you demonstrated during the Orena brothers trial in 1995 you could serve to help close one of the darkest chapters in the history of the FBI and the Justice Department – the period described by the late Judge Gustin Reichbach in his dismissal of murder charges vs. ex SSA Lin DeVecchio in 2007 as “a deal with the devil.”

TIME IS RUNNING OUT FOR GREG JR.

But in his 10 year reduction of that four decade sentence, Junior, now 64,  still won’t be eligible for parole until 2025 when he’ll be 74 and as Judge Korman admitted in his order, “Scarpa is suffering from Stage IV nasopharyngeal squamous cell cancer for which he has had multiple surgeries and has undergone chemotherapy and radiation treatments.”

Noting that “The relative five year survival rate for a person with this type of cancer is thirty-eight percent,”  it’s unlikely that despite the sentence reduction Greg Jr. will ever see the light of day outside prison.

That result is particularly troubling since Judge Korman declared in his order that the Assistant U.S. Attorney who, for years, fought Jr.’s release under Rule 35(b) relied on “faulty and inaccurate information provided by the FBI to deny Scarpa sentencing relief based on his substantial assistance.”

Further, it comes on the heels of my months long investigation into the apparent failure of Tampa federal Judge Susan Bucklew to find ex-Gambino associate and multiple murderer John Alite in violation of her five-year order of “Supervised Release” despite prima facie evidence he’d repeatedly violated the order.  

The evidence, sent to Judge Bucklew September 8th, prompted an investigation by the Newark branch of The U.S. Probation Office, but their findings and any action by Judge Bucklew to enforce her own order remain matters of secrecy which the Feds refuse to disclose.

That apparent double standard in the way “cooperating” former Mafia members and associates are treated is underscored in Judge Korman’s order when he writes, “Significantly, the U.S. Attorney for The Eastern District repeatedly, in the ordinary course, accepts cooperation — and credits cooperation — from defendants who are guilty of the most serious criminal conduct and who have lied in the course of cooperation.”

At the end of his order Judge Korman also acknowledges that “the prison facility at which Scarpa is incarcerated advises that Scarpa has been an extraordinarily model prisoner.”

Thus, one wonders, given his own recognition of Scarpa Jr.’s “substantial assistance” and the death sentence from cancer he’s facing, why Judge Korman couldn’t have seen his way to knock another 10 years off that 40 year sentence, making Greg Scarpa Jr. eligible for parole immediately?

Regarding Junior, the judge notes that “assuming he lives that long, he will have served the maximum sentence for his conviction for RICO conspiracy to commit murder — the most serious offense for which he was sentenced.”

But John Alite has been driving around New York and New Jersey in a convertible after pleading guilty to far more violent crimes and his testimony at John A. “Junior” Gotti’s fourth trial was so lacking in credibility that the jury deadlocked after refusing to believe him.

THE SINS OF THE FATHER

Therefore I suspect that’s there’s more at work here than the simple administration of justice. Greg Scarpa Sr. only served 30 days in jail during a 40 year career of murder, mayhem, drug dealing and racketeering — thanks to his status as a Top Echelon Criminal Informant.

His hyper-violent behavior along with the duplicity of the FBI in keeping him on the street is documented in The Introduction to “Deal With The Devil,” which was excerpted by salon.com

If you read it you’ll see that the story of Greg, “the Mad Hatter” Scarpa Senior makes the Whitey Bulger scandal in Boston seem like a Disney movie in comparison.

The Feds protected him and years later they were embarrassed by the disclosure.

By now you may be sensing that if there’s one thing the Justice Department hates, it’s being embarrassed.

So while the Book of Exodus declares that it is a “jealous God” who “visits the iniquities of the father upon his son,” it’s clear to me that Junior, who risked his life not once, but twice to protect this country, has now become a victim of the DOJ’s wrath.

As to the guilt he feels, this is what Greg Jr. told me in one of our final interviews:

“My father ruined my life and the lives of my brothers and sisters. He put a mark on my name that I’ll have to live with forever. He was “the Grim Reaper,” but he was still my father. Would I follow him again? Never. Would I break the law for him? Absolutely not. Do I pray each day for the people he killed and the bodies he had buried? You bet. He got to renounce this life at his sentencing, and I renounced it a long time ago. I carry around a huge amount of remorse.”

I’m going to send this piece to Judge Korman in the hope that he demonstrates some further clemency.

 

 

 

 

 

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