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However, as with the other murders, law enforcement never obtained enough evidence to prosecute Barbara.

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Barbara soon involved himself in local business circles and philanthropy. This would be Barbara's first and last criminal conviction. Soon after this, Barbara entered the soft drink distribution business, buying a Canada Dry bottling plant. Barbara eventually gained control of the beer and soft drink market in the Binghamton, New York , region.

In October , a state trooper stopped a speeding car in Windsor, New York , and arrested the driver, Carmine Galante , underboss of the Bonanno crime family. The troopers soon discovered that Galante had been a recent guest of Barbara's. Soon after Galante's arrest, a contingent of police officers from West New York, New Jersey , arrived in town and attempted to bribe the troopers to release Galante.

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The troopers refused the bribe, the visiting police were indicted, and Galante spent 30 days in jail. After the Galante incident, local troopers realized that Barbara had ties to New York crime figures and should be watched closely.

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In , after taking control of the Luciano crime family from boss Frank Costello , boss Vito Genovese wanted to legitimize his new power by holding a national Cosa Nostra meeting. His first choice for the meeting site was Chicago , but Buffalo boss Stefano Magaddino instead suggested Barbara's estate, which had been used in the past for smaller meetings. Genovese agreed. On November 14, , powerful mafiosi from all over the United States, Canada , and Italy convened at the Barbara estate.

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The meeting agenda included the resolution of open questions on illegal gambling and narcotics dealing, particularly in the New York City area. With their suspicions raised, troopers and federal agents quickly established a cordon around the Barbara estate. When the mobsters discovered the police presence, they started fleeing the gathering by car and by foot.

Many Mafiosi escaped through the woods surrounding the Barbara estate. Police apprehended numerous mobsters, including Genovese, Gambino crime family boss Carlo Gambino , and Bonanno crime family boss Joseph Bonanno. Many arrested mobsters told authorities that they were at Barbara's home to visit him after his heart attack.

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After the police raid, Barbara gained substantial national attention. He put the Apalachin estate and his beverage business up for sale and moved to Endicott, New York. In response, Barbara claimed to be too sick to testify. The Commission sent a heart specialist to examine Barbara and in May , a state supreme court ordered Barbara to testify.

mobster/ at master · dillonkearns/mobster · GitHub

The analogy has been made so many times since Trump's inauguration that you get the sense Americans just can't help themselves—as if they were viewing, on loop, a Joe Pesci character ascend to the highest, most legitimate arenas of power. But that leaves the deeper question: Does Trump actually behave like a real-world mob boss, or is he just some cartoonish version of one?

The Trump-as-mob-boss trope isn't just the work of Mafia junkies who can't get enough of The Sopranos— it's rooted, at least in part, in the president's official conduct. Last week, the New York Times published a lengthy article addressing Trump's attempts to derail the investigations swirling around him—how he's battled probes "with the same tactics he once used in his business empire: demanding fierce loyalty from employees, applying pressure tactics to keep people in line and protecting the brand—himself—at all costs. Of course, Americans have long had a deep fascination with the Sicilian Mafia, even if its power has dwindled over the years.

And there are Trump and his family's actual connections to—and tolerance of— organized crime in proximity to their real estate deals to consider. There's the fact, as well, of his tax-cheated inheritance , his suspect business practices , and, yes, his brash strong-arming and demands for loyalty above all else, especially as obstruction of justice rumors keep cropping up.

Trump, which the Times noted had "adopted the language of Mafia bosses" by referring to people like Cohen as "rats," has been offered as an example of an antihero , and his actions—often odious and potentially deadly, like those of mobsters—are folkloric. The American public speaks about him in whispers, about how they knew this thing or that thing long before anybody else. Obviously, too, there's his propensity for nicknames.

His former presidential rival, Hillary Clinton: "Crooked Hillary. They might not be as good as Martin Scorsese's, but, nonetheless, Trump's nicknames do seem to stick.

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In a broader sense, a key part of why it's so appealing to see Trump through the Mafia lens is just that—his use of language. Last August, the Times published yet another piece analyzing his diction, tracing it back to the Brooklyn political machine he was surrounded by growing up. The paper cited his comfortability with shady businessmen and mob-backed public officials "raffish types with their unscrupulous methods," like his McCarthyite mob lawyer Roy Cohn , and called attention to the time he defended Paul Manafort by referencing Al Capone.

That surface-level wise-guy mentality, even if Trump is unlikely to have ever been in a physical altercation of any consequence, does fit the in-real-life mobster mold—at least to a point. So, however conscious it is, if you're sitting on the Hill and saying those words, to everyone you've fired or who you think has betrayed you, you're something of a mob boss.


How cognizant Trump is of his approach, or if the streets of New York City have subconsciously rubbed off on him, is impossible to say. Also impossible to picture is Trump leaning over to Jared Kushner, after a meeting, say, with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and scolding him: "Never tell anybody outside the family what you're thinking again. He is not reminiscent of the Old World, of the brutal, silent figures of old-school Naples, or code-abiding Don Vito Corleone, or those guys who we never heard about on purpose, like Tino Fiumara, the New Jersey hotshot who was so sneaky the FBI didn't initially believe he was dead.

Trump is a showman. They measure their words with great care. They do not gesticulate or pull faces. They do not boast.

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