cover image Mob Lawyer

Mob Lawyer

Frank Ragano. Scribner Book Company, $22 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-684-19568-1

Sure to be widely discussed, this is the autobiography of Florida attorney Ragano who convinced himself that mafia chieftain Santo Trafficante and his New Orleans colleague Carlos Marcello were not such bad guys. Ragano was Trafficante and Marcello's lawyer for decades and through them met another client, union leader Jimmy Hoffa, whom he represented for 15 years. The story, which profits from the smooth style of New York Times crime reporter Raab, has less impact as an account of a man who woke up too late than for its revelations about significant events of our time. According to Ragano, Hoffa was killed because his successor as Teamster president, Frank Fitzsimmons, was easier for the mob to control. And he claims that Trafficante on his deathbed muttered, ``We shouldn't have killed Giovanni. We should've killed Bobby''--a statement that's sure to feed the fire of those who believe that JFK was assassinated by the mafia. Ragano, who maintains here that he was the victim of persecution, was imprisoned for tax evasion in April of 1993, sentenced to serve ``no more than one year.'' Photos not seen by PW . (Apr.)