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Reputed Gambino underboss wants out on $2.5 million bail
By MATT APUZZO
Associated Press Writer
October 14, 2004, 5:19 PM EDT
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- The family of alleged Connecticut mob boss Anthony "The Genius" Megale has offered $2.5 million in Stamford property to secure his release while he awaits trial on federal racketeering charges.
But at a bail hearing Friday, prosecutors plan to argue that Megale is the No. 2 man in the Gambino crime family, a man who oversaw the Mafia syndicate's Connecticut gambling operations and who is too dangerous to be released.
"I suspect they'll play some tapes and they'll allege that Mr. Megale is on the tapes," attorney Stephan E. Seeger said. "I fully expect they'll attempt to use the tapes to make the claim that Mr. Megale is an underboss."
Seeger said he has heard some of the tapes but would not discuss their content. In court documents filed Thursday, he depicts Megale very differently than prosecutors, who say the Stamford man ran a gambling and extortion ring and shook down Fairfield County businessmen for monthly payoffs.
"Mr. Megale has a soft spot for underprivileged children," a woman wrote in a letter to the court. "And if he found out there was a boy who needed a glove, cleats or other equipment, Tony made sure that it was quietly provided without any muss of fuss."
Excerpts of such letters were included in court documents, but the names of the letter writers were not made public Thursday.
Megale's wife, Rhonda, who owns a local business, has offered to put up the family's $775,000 home in Stamford. Megale's parents are putting up their home, as are his sister- and brother-in-laws and other family members. The family is also offering the $400,000 former site of the Rambler's Independent Club, a Stamford bar.
In all, the property is worth $3.2 million, with about $2.5 million in equity, attorneys say. The government could seize that property if Megale were to skip out on bail.
Defense attorneys, who say Megale works for his wife, note that Megale was released on $50,000 bail in 1989, when he was charged with being Mafia don John Gotti's top man in Connecticut. They said he never missed a court appearance and showed up to serve his nearly nine year prison sentence.
That case will likely come up again Friday when prosecutors spell out Megale's criminal history.
Defense attorneys are proposing Megale be placed under home arrest with an electronic monitoring bracelet. The U.S. Attorney's office would not discuss Megale's bail proposal Thursday.
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