Like most mobsters—including and especially those who became known for their ‘ratting’—he was preoccupied with matters of honor.
At the time of those conversations Gravano – whose testimony led directly to the downfall of his former boss John Gotti was participating in the federal witness-security program and we met at a number of locations in the Southwest.
I did not know it at the time but while under federal protection Gravano was leading Arizona’s largest Ecstasy-distribution ring.
He was also in the pool-building business.
I have not seen Gravano in a very long time—he has spent most of the past two decades in prison – after having failed to hide his drug-distribution business from his federal monitors—but my thoughts turned to him yesterday when I read President Donald Trump’s tweet on the subject of loyalty and respect.
The president – who is obviously perturbed by the felony conviction of his former campaign chair Paul Manafort and the plea deal taken by his former attorney Michael Cohen – wrote the following: ‘I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. ‘Justice’”—a cutting reference to the Justice Department – which he oversees as the leader of the executive branch—’took a 12 year old tax case among other things – applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen he refused to ‘break’ – make up stories in order to get a ‘deal.’
Such respect for a brave man!”
What we see in this astonishing tweet is an implicit endorsement by the president of the United States of omertà – the Mafia code of silence – which has been honored – especially over the past 30 years or so – more in theory than in practice.