BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- A mob-connected lawyer denied yesterday that he tried to intimidate witnesses by publicly identifying an FBI informant testifying against a reputed Mafia underboss.
New York defense lawyer Joseph Corozzo said he was just trying to clarify what he thought was on the record when, in court last year, he named a Stamford strip club owner who is the key witness against Anthony ''The Genius" Megale, the reputed number two man in the Gambino crime family.
''He was very frightened," Assistant US Attorney Michael J. Gustafson said, referring yesterday to the witness.
Prosecutors asked for yesterday's hearing to determine whether Corozzo, a member of Megale's defense team, violated court rules by naming the witness. No decision was handed down.
Corozzo, whose father and uncle are allegedly top Gambino family members, has served as the Mafia family's in-house legal counsel, prosecutors have said.
He was also shown on videotape at Foxwoods casino with known Gambino members and once ordered the shooting of another man, prosecutors said. The victim in the 1980s shooting survived, and Corozzo was not charged.
Corozzo said the defendants knew who the witness against Megale was and there were no attempts to harm him.
''And a good thing there wasn't," said US Magistrate Judge Holly B. Fitzsimmons, a former federal prosecutor.
''There is absolutely no danger to this person," Corozzo replied. ''Everyone knows he wore a wire."
Megale is under racketeering indictments in both Connecticut and New York. Prosecutors say he is the top Mafia member in Connecticut, answering only to the New York leadership.
Corozzo's father, Joseph ''JoJo" Corozzo, is top adviser to the Gambinos, according to New York prosecutors. Corozzo's uncle, Nicholas ''Little Nick" Corozzo, is a convicted Mafia member.
Corozzo said he will leave the Megale case.