An alleged top member of New York's Bonanno crime family went on trial on Monday for what federal prosecutors said was his role in the famous 1978 airport heist that inspired the mob movie ''Goodfellas.'' Nathan Frandino reports.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lindsay Gerdes told a federal jury on Monday that Vincent Asaro was one of several armed men behind the crime that inspired the mob movie "Goodfellas." That crime involved $6 million in cash and jewelry stolen from a Lufthansa Airlines cargo building in New York in 1978. (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNIDENTIFIED OFFICIAL FROM 1978 SAYING: "How did they force them to open this room?" "By holding a gun to the head of the man who had the key." Asaro was arrested last year and accused of a series of crimes -- from murder to extortion and being part of the Bonanno crime family. Defense attorney Gerald McMahon denies Asaro was part of the heist. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GERALD MCMAHON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY, SAYING: "He didn't do it. Had nothing to do with it. Pretty much all the people that did it got murdered by Jimmy Burk, so I read. So the fact that my client didn't get murdered suggests that he didn't have anything to do with it." Inside the courtroom, fellow defense attorney Diane Ferrone said the government's case was based on witnesses lying to save themselves. Among those who tesified Monday was Sal Vitale, another former member of the Bonanno family. Vitale described a meeting in which Asaro handed a case of gold chains to Bonanno boss Joe Massino, who said quote "This is from the Lufthansa score."