John "Sonny" Franzese, 95, will spend his remaining days in prison due to a ruling by a federal appeals court in New York City. Franzese was part of the Colombo crime family and was convicted of racketeering and conspiracy; he will spend the next eight years in prison.
Franzese was convicted in January of extorting Manhattan strip clubs and a Long Island pizzeria. Prosecutors had hoped to put him away for at least 12 years but only received an eight-year-long sentence, the Associated Press reported. Franzese appealed the conviction and claimed he did not receive a fair trial.
During the 2010 trial, Peter Dupre alleged that he was attacked for not paying $1,500 a week to Franzese. Dupre is the owner of Rue B, a cocktail lounge in the East Village.
"He was trying to stab my hand into the top of my desk. I was very much resisting and pulling my hand away," Dupre said of Christopher Curanovic, who worked for Franzese at the time. "I impassionately tried to explain to them that it was a tiny bar and restaurant and I simply couldn't pay that much," he said, according to Five Families NYC, a blog about the mafia families of New York.
Dupre then went to police, who installed surveillance equipment and recorded him making the payments to Curanovic. Prosecutors called Dupre to the stand in order to help make the case that Franzese should be put away for a long time, due to his racketeering and extortion.
John Franzese Jr. was also called to the stand by prosecutors; he turned informant for the FBI and provided valuable information about his father's actions. He actually wore a wire and was able to record hours of conversation about Franzese Sr.'s plans and various schemes.
Franzese Jr. was actually one of his father's targets after Franzese Sr. learned he had worked with the FBI. One FBI official testified that Franzese Sr. had bragged about killing 60 people. He will be released in 2017, provided that he lives that long.