The Franzese Trial: The Mob Does Underwear


The Italian opera known as USA v. Franzese is runnning in Brooklyn and there is more than enough good copy to fill many news stories. The best of them will come your way in a Voice column in this week’s paper, well-hidden as usual on the Web page, but worth the hunt to find it.

In the meantime, here is an outtake from one of the many secret tapes played in court last week. This one was so good they played it three times in a single day.

It began with defendant Joseph DiGorga, 69, an entrepreneur who operates several strip clubs on Long Island, telling John Franzese Jr., chief prosecution witness, about the problems he had after John Jr.’s father, Sonny, reputed Mafia underboss, instructed him to advance some cash to an associate looking to launch a women’s underwear company:

“Your dad comes in and says, ‘Take care of it because I got a piece of that.’ I said, ‘You sure?’ He said, ‘Yeah, I got 20 percent of that business.’ So Joe T. comes in, I handed him sixteen thousand cash. Then he asked, could he use two of my girls to model the thing. I said, ‘I don’t control the girls. You gotta work with ’em.’

“So he offered the girls twenty-five hundred dollars to do the fuckin’ deal. The girls tell him, ‘I can’t model this like this, you wanna go on TV? My pussy’s sticking out.’ So he said, ‘No, no, no, it’s gonna be good.’ She goes, ‘When you put the bright lights on….’ But these girls know what they’re talking about…the guy’s a mutt.”