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Alleged Mobster Denies FBI Allegation He’s an Informant

April 20, 1985

NEW YORK (AP) _ A man named in secret federal court papers as a longtime FBI informant denies the allegation and says he wants to be freed from protective custody despite government contentions that he is a marked man.

″I am not an informant,″ Wilfred Johnson testified, according to court transcripts unsealed this week at his request.

Last month, Johnson and nine other alleged members or associates of the Gambino organixed crime family - including reputed Gambino underboss Aniello Dellacroce - were indicted on federal racketeering charges.

The indictment accused the defendants of involvement in loansharking, gambling, hijacking and murder over an 18-year period.

The government had the transcripts sealed for his own protection because it revealed Johnson’s description as a ″top echelon informant″ for the FBI.

Johnson and his lawyers, however, say he is not in danger from anyone but the government.

″They’re trying to make him look like he’s already an informant in order to turn him into one,″ contends defense attorney, Richard Rehbock.

Rehbock said he would argue before a federal judge in Manhattan Tuesday that Johnson should be released from administrative segregation in jail because he is not in danger.

According to the unsealed testimony, authorities identified Johnson, 51, as a paid informant of the FBI from 1966 until 1974, when he was imprisoned on state armed robbery charges.

Johnson was released from prison in 1978 and began working as an unpaid FBI informant in 1980, according to the testimony. The disclosure of Johnson’s informant status was revealed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane Giacalone during a closed dentention hearing on March 29 at which the government sought to have Johnson held without bail for his own protection.

At that hearing, Ms. Giacalone testified an FBI agent told her Johnson was a ″top echelon informant,″ indicating he had supplied information that was ″not only reliable but of particular value.″

According to the unsealed transcript, Ms. Giacalone testified Johnson had supplied the FBI with details of the Gambino family’s leadership, structure and dealings in gambling, loansharking, hijacking and murder.

″His most specific information″ related to the activities of a Gambino crew headed by John Gotti, one of Johnson’s co-defendants in last month’s indictment, Ms. Giacalone testified.

The transcript revealed that when prosecutors told Johnson his role as an informant might come out at trial he said he would be ″slaughtered.″

Johnson denies saying that.

″My life is not in danger,″ he testified at the hearing.

At an April 9 hearing on Johnson’s request to be released from detention, FBI Special Agent Frank Storey testified he learned members of the Gotti faction had put out a murder contract on Johnson.

″They had suspected Johnson of being an informant before and now confirmed it. ... They intended to kill him,″ Storey testified.

″There has never been any threat to him or his family,″ Rehbock said Friday. ″In fact, the contrary has been communicated.″