Supreme Court to Review Alleged Mobster’s Gun Conviction

( – The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an alleged Genovese crime family associate’s appeal against a gun crime conviction, which added an extra five years to Salvatore “Fat Sal” Delligatti’s prison sentence.

The Supreme Court voted 7-2 in 2022 to restrict a federal law that levies enhanced penalties mandatory for gun-related crimes. The move made it more difficult for prosecutors to pursue extended prison sentences for violent crimes. The court concluded that an attempted Hobbs Act robbery does not necessarily qualify as a crime of violence, and that the perpetrator therefore should not have received an extended sentence.

The Supreme Court granted permission for a review in an unsigned order. There was no dissent from judges and the court did not explain the verdict. The petition requires the support of at least four out of nine justices to progress to the oral argument stage. In 2017 Delligatti was indicted on charges relating to racketeering, attempted murder connected to racketeering, conspiracy to commit murder for hire, and illegal gambling. He was also indicted over the possession of a firearm to further an act of violence under the federal Hobbs Act.

Delligatti received a 25-year prison sentence in 2018 for conspiring to murder another Genovese crime family member, Joseph Bonelli, in addition to other crimes. Delligatti assisted “made” Genovese member Robert DeBello in running an illegal gambling operation in Queens, New York. Delligatti plotted with DeBello in 2014 to murder Bonelli, a known “bully” believed to have threatened the Genovese gambling business. Bonelli was also terrorizing the owner of a gas station, who hired the hitman to arrange the murder.

Delligatti gave a .38 revolver and $5,000 to an accomplice to kill Bonelli with assistance from Crips gang members. The plan was to shoot Bonelli when he arrived at his home, but the plot was abandoned when the target showed up with another person. The crew was ordered by Delligatti to return the next day to kill Bonelli and his companion. Police were tipped off about the plan and intercepted the men the following day.

Delligatti’s legal team argues that the underlying crime in the Genovese associate’s case is not related to a crime of violence. The Supreme Court previously ruled that the Hobbs Act’s relevant section was unconstitutional in United States v. Davis in 2019. In the United States v. Laurent case in 2022, the Second Circuit ruled that conspiracy offenses do not qualify as uses of force.

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