Union Chief Refuses To Testify At His Trial

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 year.

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 had caused.

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.

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