Convicted mafia drug trafficker Alessandro Taloni included a personal blessing he received from Pope Benedict XVI in court documents, seeking for mercy from a Brooklyn federal court judge this week.
“Our Holiness Benedict XVI bestows from his heart an Apostolic Blessing upon Alessandro Taloni,” stated the missive from the Vatican.
Brooklyn Federal Judge Raymond Dearie, who is Roman Catholic, was unmoved by the document, sentencing Taloni, 38, Friday to 10 years in prison, the mandatory minimum for his crime.
Taloni, an associate of the Bonnano crime family, was caught with cocaine and $800,000 in illicit cash in Beverly Hills in 2011. On him, police found a card for “Vito Rizz” – short for Vito Rizzuto, then-boss of the Bonnano family.
“That was like having the phone number of John Gotti in his pocket in 1989,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Amir Toossi said in Brooklyn Federal Court.
Taloni’s defense attorney, Gerard Marrone, called the Papal document an “official blessing from the Vatican.”
Taloni’s brother, Claudio, told the Daily News that his cousin had audience with the then-Pope and asked for help from a higher power for Taloni.
Marrone said the blessing wasn’t enough to remove the mandatory minimum.
“It might have helped his (Taloni’s) soul,” Marrone said Friday.
Taloni’s mother, Fioralba Becchio, also wrote a letter to the judge stating that her son has three loves: soccer, Elvis and Ferrari racing.