96 year old former mobster for the infamous Genovese crime family, Albert "The Old Man" Facchiano, whose arrest record dates back 75 years, used a cane in court and needed a head-set to hear questions from District Judge James Cohn as he pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida Wednesday.
Facchiano, also known as "Chinky" was indicted in both New York and Florida last year.
He was only tried in Florida however as the state of New York refused to pay for extra "Depends" incontinence pads for the defendant and were also worried about noxious fumes and odors negatively effecting the jurors in case of a long drawn out trial.
The state of Florida however, not only provided the needed Depends but also offered the services of a "changing attendant" who besides changing Mr. Facchiano's diapers would also be available to place the defendant's false teeth back in his mouth in case these slipped out during his testimony.
The state of Florida often offers accompaniments like this to attract perverse and publicity seeking trials. The Florida State Office Of Legal Affairs has put out the word that the weirder-the-better for those interested in having their trials held in their state.
This "Old Man" mobster trial along with the Anna Nicole Burial rights trial are being hailed as a coup in the world of tabloid journalism who rate Florida number 1 amoung states with shameless trials and odd-ball judges in trying to secure more publicity for their state's tourism dependant image.
Larry Seidlin, the TV show idea promoting judge in the Anna Nicole Smith proceedings, was to preside in the "Old Man" mobster trial but recused himself saying he used to be a cabby in Brooklyn and often " drove these guys around and that they weren't a bad bunch of hoodlums. Great tippers actually. And that he "told em jokes to keep on their good side and they used to say he oughta be on TV he was so funny."
Sentencing for this oldest of all mobsters will probably be house detention because of his age and health.
Television talk show host Larry King was to have " Chinky" on his show but cancelled due to his staffs concern that he might have appeared more out of it than Mr. Facchiano.