Crime & Justice

80-year-old reputed mobster acquitted in 1978 heist portrayed in 'Goodfellas'

Vincent Asaro leaves Brooklyn federal court on Thursday, after being acquitted of charges he helped plan a legendary 1978 Lufthansa heist retold in the hit film
Vincent Asaro leaves Brooklyn federal court on Thursday, after being acquitted of charges he helped plan a legendary 1978 Lufthansa heist retold in the hit film "Goodfellas."
Bryan R. Smith/AP

Vincent Asaro, 80, has been acquitted of charges that he helped plan the 1978 Lufthansa heist that was portrayed in the mob movie "Goodfellas."

A jury in New York City found Asaro not guilty of charges of federal racketeering, the Associated Press reports.

While Asaro kept a low profile in the years following the $6 million robbery, he was arrested in 2014 after his cousin gave him up for his alleged role in the heist, a murder and other crimes.

The Guardian reports that "until Asaro's arrest, the only man ever charged in connection with the robbery was a Lufthansa employee who functioned as the inside man."

Asaro's cousin Gaspare Valenti, whose cooperation with prosecutors helped lead to Asaro's arrest, was a witness at the trial.

"But defense lawyers argued successfully that Valenti, and the other cooperators, were professional liars who delivered false testimony in exchange for payments and promises of leniency," the Guardian adds.

Reuters reports that prosecutors called Asaro "a third-generation member of the Bonanno crime family."

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