By Thomas Mattia
Telegram Staff Writer
Sept. 27, 1979
The labor racketeering trial of West Haven
construction union official Albert Inorio closed Wednesday in
Bridgeport U.S. District Court with the defendant declining to
take the stand. Inorio's refusal to testify in his own behalf
ended the two day trial before U.S. District Judge T.F. Gilroy
Daly on charges that inorio had conspired with missing New Haven
underworld figure Salvatore Annunziato to embezzle $4,000 from
Local 455 of the Construction and General Laborers Union last
Since the prosecution was conducted as a
court trial without a jury at the 64-year-old Inorio's request,
Judge Daly gave the defendant's lawyer, Edward Daly, until Wednesday
to file a final defense brief and said he would issue his verdict
in the case on Oct. 10. Daly presented only two witnesses, one of
them the East Haven defendant's son, after claiming that Annuziato's
disappearance had taken away his most effective defense tool.
Daly had requested that the case be continued
until Annuziato is located and made available for questioning,
but Judge Daly denied the request. The judge issued the denial
after federal organized crime strike force prosecutor Donald Abrams'
reiterated his earlier statements that federal authorities have
been unable to locate Annunziato. Abram's also noted that Daly
had not shown how Annunziato's testimony would help Inorio.
Earlier in the day, the prosecutor had presented
the last of the government's witnesses, who testified how the
Silver Fox restaurant in Branford and its owner, Robert Proto,
were bugged for surveillance during the investigation. Proto testified Tuesday, and was supported
by government video tapes, that Inorio and Annunziato had extorted
$4,000 of the $8,800 they had paid him from union funds to hold
a union Christmas Party at his establishment on Dec. 17, 1978.
Today, government witnesses provided documents
showing that Inorio was an officer in the union at the time of
the party and that union funds were reportedly spent on the affair.
One government agent admitted under cross
examination, however, that Proto had already been given $2,700
by the government to cover his expenses during the investigation.
FBI agent Michael Uttaro added that an additional $12,000 had
been requested from the Department of Justice to compensate Proto
for time spent on this and other investigations and for the displacement
in his personal life that his cooperation with the government
Union Secretary-Treasurer Frank Romano testified that the union had paid for the party out of its funds and that Inorio's son Anthony, who serves as the union president, and Frank Carrano Jr., a union member, testified they saw Inorio turning money over to Proto on the night following the party.