Collection of letters presented to the court include standard mass email replies from Bill Clinton and Barack Obama
From the fictional Tony Soprano to the real word “Dapper Don” John Gotti, US mafia members are known for their brazen audacity.
But low-ranking mob associate Tony “Tony O” O’Donnell may have pushed things a little too far when his lawyer used a collection of bulk emails from powerful US political figures in a bid to show he was well-connected ahead of a sentencing hearing.
Lawyers will often use personal letters from family or famous people to try and mitigate sentences. O’Donnell, according to the New York Post, which broke the story and published the collection of letters online, is a long-time associate of the Gambino crime family.
On 18 December he will be sentenced on federal charges of shaking down a real estate firm and the letters seem to be an attempt to show his political commitment and impressive contacts.
The 17-page collection of letters presented to the court included standard mass email replies from New York senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Ohio senator Sherrod Brown and New Jersey senator Bob Menendez. There are even notes from former president Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama, as well as top Obama campaign aides.
Though often written in a chatty personal style, they are in fact the same as those received by any American who signs up to support campaigns or sign online petitions and they clog the inboxes of millions of Americans every day.
“Dear Anthony, Thank you for standing with me,” read one form letter from Gillibrand thanking him for his support of legislation to combat violence against women. “Anthony, Thanks for signing my petition to stop Republicans disenfranchising American voters,” read the missive from Menendez.
A form email from the Clinton Foundation, signed “Bill”, read: “Anthony, Thank you so very much for your message on my 66th birthday. Hearing from you made a special day even more memorable.”
And, in perhaps the cheekiest of them all, the legal filing included an election night mass email from the Obama campaign that was sent to all his signed-up campaign supporters that stated: “Anthony, I’m about to go to speak to the crowd here in Chicago, but I wanted to thank you first.”