Patriarca Asks For Injunction on FBI Tapes of His Father
Nov. 13, 1985
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ The son of late mob boss Raymond L.S. Patriarca has asked a federal court to stop the government and the news media from releasing transcripts of his father's conversations illegally recorded by the FBI more than 20 years ago.
U.S. District Judge Francis J. Boyle scheduled to hold a hearing for late today on the request by Raymond J. ''Junior'' Patriarca, who federal and local law enforcement agents say succeeded his father as head of La Cosa Nostra in New England.
Conversations were recorded through a wiretap planted in the elder Patriarca's office from March 1962 to July 1965. The wiretap was ruled illegal and a federal appeals court ordered transcripts of the recordings sealed to protect Patriarca's right to privacy.
The FBI, however, began releasing edited ccopies of the transcripts to news organizations that requested them under the Freedom of Information Act after the elder Patriarca died from a heart attack in July 1984.
The Hartford Courant and WJAR-TV of Providence have had stories based on the tapes. The Providence Journal also has the documents and is working on a story, the newspaper said.
In the injunction request, attorney John F. Cicilline said the FBI documents ''were of the most personal nature and their release would clearly constitute an unwarranted invasion of the plaintiff's personal privacy and that of his late father.''
The documents include conversations between ''a father and son about such personal matters as the health of the parties involved and an ailing mother, the upbringing and education of a child and other similar-type conversations,'' Cicilline said.
Patriarca, now 40, was 17 to 20 years old when the tapes were made at National Cigarette Services, the office his father allegedly used to run the crime empire.
Cicilline said transcription of the tapes ''was done in such a manner that it allowed for error, omission and subjective analysis, thus making them an unreliable base for the dissemination of news.''
The injunction request was filed against the FBI, the Justice Department, Attorney General Edwin Meese III, FBI Director William H. Webster, The Providence Journal and WJAR-TV.
The government never tried to use the recordings in court against Patriarca or other reputed mobsters. The FBI and Justice Department acknowledged that agents illegally entered Patriarca's office to plant the bugging device.
The Journal fought for the public release of the transcripts while the elder Patriarca was alive.
U.S. District Judge Raymond J. Pettine ruled in October 1978 that certain portions of the 7,000 pages of transcripts should be made public.
The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Pettine's ruling, citing a 1968 law that prohibited the release of information obtained through the ''fruits of illegal surveillance.''