Prosecutors Play Tape in Plot to Slay Judge, AUSA

, New York Law Journal

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Prosecutors Friday played the tape recording in which Joseph Romano allegedly plotted to have a federal judge and assistant U.S. attorney killed (Read transcript).

It was the first of a series of taped conversations that took place in jail between Romano and fellow inmate Gerald Machacek, a government informant who wore a recording device.

On the tape, Romano was heard ranting about Eastern District Judge Joseph Bianco (See Profile), who in 2012 sentenced him to 15 years in prison for a coin fraud scheme.

"I'd love to torture him," Romano said. "I'm gonna cut his head off," he added later.

Romano also described a scene from a book where a Mafia hit man dismembered a man with a knife, then brought him out to sea to be eaten by sharks.

"This is what you're going to adopt as your way?" Machacek asked.

"Yeah," Romano responded, later describing how he wanted to dismember Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Treinis Ganz.

Prior to starting the recording, Southern District Judge John Keenan (See Profile) instructed jurors not to regard anything Machacek said as true. Several times on the tape, Machacek offered to bring Romano a cell phone and arrange for a hit man he knew to carry out the murders.

Defense attorneys Michael Bachrach and George Goltzer argued in opening statements Thursday that their client was entrapped by an inmate who acted as an informant to get a lighter sentence for himself.

On the tape, Machacek tried to gauge Romano's level of seriousness.

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