830 F.2d 938 (8th Cir. 1987), 86-1439, United States v. Cerone

Docket Nº:86-1439, 86-1443.
Citation:830 F.2d 938
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. John Peter CERONE, Appellant. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Milton John ROCKMAN, Appellant. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Joseph John AIUPPA, Appellant. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Angelo LaPIETRA, Appellant. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Joseph LOMBARDO, Appellant.
Case Date:October 08, 1987
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
 
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Page 938

830 F.2d 938 (8th Cir. 1987)

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,

v.

John Peter CERONE, Appellant.

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,

v.

Milton John ROCKMAN, Appellant.

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,

v.

Joseph John AIUPPA, Appellant.

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,

v.

Angelo LaPIETRA, Appellant.

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,

v.

Joseph LOMBARDO, Appellant.

Nos. 86-1439, 86-1443.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

October 8, 1987

Submitted May 11, 1987.

Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc Denied in No. 86-1440 Dec.

15, 1987.

Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc Denied in No. 86-1441 Dec.

16, 1987.

Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc Denied in No. 86-1439 Dec.

23, 1987.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Julius Echeles, Chicago, Ill., for appellant Cerone.

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Allan Ackerman, Chicago, Ill., for appellant Aiuppa.

Frank Oliver, Chicago, Ill., for appellant Lombardo.

Louis Carbonaro, Chicago, Ill., for appellant LaPietra.

Alan Caplan, San Francisco, Cal., for appellant Rockman.

Frank J. Marine, Dept. of Justice, Washington, D.C., for appellee.

Before LAY, Chief Judge, BRIGHT, Senior Circuit Judge, and FAGG, Circuit Judge.

BRIGHT, Senior Circuit Judge.

John Peter Cerone, Joseph John Aiuppa, Joseph Lombardo, Angelo LaPietra and Milton John Rockman appeal their convictions for conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce and use interstate facilities with the intent to promote and carry on an illegal activity in violation of the Travel Act, 18 U.S.C. Secs. 371, 1952, and on seven substantive Travel Act violations. The appellants raise nineteen allegations of error, some collectively, others individually. For the reasons discussed below, we affirm the convictions.

I. BACKGROUND

The indictment charged that the defendants and several unindicted co-conspirators sought to maintain hidden financial and management interests in Las Vegas casinos, particularly the Stardust and Fremont, in violation of Nevada gaming laws. These casinos were owned by the Argent Corporation which, in turn, was owned by Allen R. Glick. Glick's purchase of the casinos was financed by the Teamsters Union Central States Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Fund. The conspirators obtained control of Argent Corporation by helping Glick to obtain financing and by placing two of their people, Frank Rosenthal and Carl Thomas, in management positions at Argent. The conspirators also maintained control of the Teamsters Union and its pension fund through Allen Dorfman, who secretly controlled the fund along with Roy Williams, a Teamsters official.

The Government charged that the conspirators were able to control Argent and the Union because they were members of organized crime "groups" in various Midwestern cities. Aiuppa was the boss of the Chicago group, with Cerone as its underboss. LaPietra and Lombardo were members of the Chicago group, and Rockman was an associate of the Cleveland group. 1

At trial, the Government introduced the testimony of Glick, Angelo Lonardo, a Cleveland underboss, Roy Williams and Carl Thomas, among others. The Government also produced evidence consisting of tape recordings, notes made by DeLuna, and surveillance testimony by FBI agents.

According to the Government's theory of the case, in early 1974, Frank Balistrieri agreed to help Allen Glick obtain a loan from the Teamsters pension fund to buy the Stardust and Fremont casinos. Balistrieri obtained the assistance of Nick Civella and Milton Rockman, who each controlled a trustee of the pension fund. Glick then received his loan.

After Glick bought the casinos, Balistrieri and the others required Glick to promote Frank Rosenthal to a management position at Argent. Rosenthal supervised the skimming of gambling proceeds from the casinos. Later, Carl Thomas was placed in charge of the operation for a short time.

Initially, the Kansas City, Milwaukee and Cleveland groups shared the skimmed money. Shortly after the operation began, however, a dispute arose between the groups, and the Chicago group stepped in to resolve the problem. Thereafter, the Chicago group, including appellants Aiuppa, Cerone, Lombardo and LaPietra, shared the skimming proceeds.

Carl DeLuna, a member of the Kansas City group, maintained records of the conspirators' transactions and was the liaison

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between Las Vegas and Kansas City, and between Chicago and Kansas City. LaPietra became DeLuna's contact with the Chicago group after the death of a previous contact. Appellant Rockman also acted as a contact with DeLuna for the Cleveland group, and as an intermediary with the Chicago group.

Typically, the skimmed money was delivered from Las Vegas to Chicago. LaPietra delivered the skimmed money to Anthony Chiavola, Sr. of Chicago who, in turn, delivered the skimmed money to DeLuna for the Kansas City group and gave the Cleveland group's share to appellant Rockman.

During the period 1976 to 1979, Rosenthal had various widely publicized problems with the Nevada licensing authorities, who considered him to be unsuitable for working as a key employee of a casino. The conspirators were concerned that Rosenthal's problems might jeopardize their interests in Las Vegas casinos and in the skimming operations, and they had numerous conversations about replacing Rosenthal. During the same period, the conspirators also had problems with Allen Glick who was reluctant to accept their control of Argent through Rosenthal. Nick Civella and Carl DeLuna threatened to kill Glick if he did not acquiesce in their control of Argent through Rosenthal's direction. Glick yielded to their demands.

In October 1977, independent investment managers took over management of the pension fund's assets, which hindered the conspirators' ability to control the pension fund, to obtain loans and receive other favorable treatment. Thereafter, the conspirators, principally appellant Lombardo and Allen Dorfman, had numerous strategy discussions concerning their efforts to replace the independent managers and other individuals with persons controlled by the conspirators. From 1979 to 1981, the conspirators, including appellants Aiuppa, Cerone, Lombardo and Rockman, took measures to support Roy Williams to succeed Frank Fitzsimmons as Teamsters president and later to support Jackie Presser to succeed Williams in order to maintain the conspirators' influence with the Teamsters Union.

In 1978, DeLuna told Allen Glick that his "partners" were "sick of" dealing with him and that they would kill him unless he sold Argent Corporation. Thereafter, Glick publicly announced his intention to sell Argent and three groups began to negotiate with Glick to buy Argent. In December 1979, Glick sold Argent to Trans-Sterling, Inc.

From March 1978 to May 1980, law enforcement officials conducted many court authorized electronic surveillances of various telephones and locations in Kansas City, Missouri; Leavenworth, Kansas; Las Vegas, Nevada; Chicago, Illinois; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, including the residences of Carl DeLuna, Anthony Civella, Joe Agosto, and Anthony Chiavola, Sr., and the business offices of Allen Dorfman. Lombardo, Rockman and LaPietra were intercepted during the electronic surveillances.

Law enforcement officials also conducted various court authorized searches and seizures of records and documents. For example, on February 14, 1979, officials seized address and phone books, papers, and other documents from Carl DeLuna's home in Kansas City, Missouri, which contained DeLuna's notes of meetings and telephone conversations among the conspirators, telephone numbers and disbursement of funds in connection with the skimming operation (hereinafter "the DeLuna notes").

On September 30, 1983, a grand jury in Kansas City, Missouri, returned an eight-count indictment against fifteen defendants, charging them with violations of 18 U.S.C. Secs. 2, 371, 1952. Carl Civella, Peter Tamburello, Anthony Chiavola, Sr. and Anthony Chiavola, Jr. entered guilty pleas prior to trial. The district court 2 severed the case of Anthony Spilotro from the others, and he died several months after trial.

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Carl DeLuna and Frank Balistrieri pled guilty during trial. The court dismissed the indictment against Carl Thomas during trial, and he then testified as a government witness. After the close of the government's case, the court entered judgments of acquittal as to John and Joseph Balistrieri.

After a four-month trial, the jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts against the remaining defendants, Aiuppa, Cerone, Lombardo, LaPietra and Rockman. Aiuppa and Cerone were sentenced to consecutive prison terms totalling twenty and one-half years. Lombardo and LaPietra received consecutive sentences totalling sixteen years imprisonment. Rockman also received consecutive sentences, totalling twenty-four years. Each defendant was fined $80,000.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Sufficiency of the Evidence on Count I

All five appellants contend that the evidence was insufficient to convict them on count I, conspiracy to maintain an undisclosed interest in the gaming interests of Allen Glick. They argue that the evidence failed to show their maintenance of a hidden interest. Rather, at most, the evidence showed a common purpose to skim money by extortion, embezzlement or theft. Some of the defendants contend that the evidence showed that they were merely collecting a "finder's fee" for their assistance to Glick in obtaining his pension fund loan.

When reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence for a criminal conviction, we must view the evidence in the light...

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