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Witnesses disguised by the make-up stand on Mafia boss trial

BOSTON – Two U. S. Marshals Service officials, the wearing of make-up, wigs and beards to disguise their identities, took the stand Wednesday in the trial of a former New England Mafia boss accused of killing a nightclub owner in 1993.

The officials, using pseudonyms, as described how Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme left Atlanta where he had been living in the Witness Security Program and was later arrested at a Connecticut hotel after club owner Steven DiSarro the remains were found in 2016.

Judge Allison Burroughs allowed the rare masks after the Marshals Service, pressed her to close the courtroom to the public, while the officers testified, calling it a “matter of life and death.” The officials are working with people who are living under a new identity in the witness protection program and revealing their true identity can have devastating consequences, the Marshals Service said.

One of the officials — a large man in a dark suit who told the jury his name was John Douglas — wearing what appeared to be a dark wig, bushy beard, big fake nose, and tan make-up. The other, who went by Kevin Smith, was a small man in a brown suit with long red hair in a ponytail and a long, thin red beard.

Salemme and his co-defendant, Paul Weadick, are accused of killing DiSarro to prevent him from cooperation with the authorities investigate Salemme. DiSarro still not found until March 2016 after the authorities received a tip that they were buried behind an old mill building in Providence, Rhode Island. Salemme, now 84 and Weadick deny involvement in the murder.

Salemme, who led the New England family of La Cosa Nostra in the beginning of the 1990s, was already living in Atlanta in the Witness Security Program in 2016 under the name Richard Parker after the cooperation with the government in a separate case.

Douglas said that his bosses told him that in the spring of 2016 about Salemme’s possible indictment in the DiSarro case and ordered him to take away Salemme passport, which Douglas said Salemme suspicious. Douglas told the jury that he went to Salemme’s apartment in the beginning of August that year, after not hearing from him and Salemme was gone, along with his toothbrush.

Authorities finally got a tip that Salemme was in a hotel in Milford, Connecticut.

The other Marshals Service official described how he and his colleagues busted in Salemme, the hotel room at 12:30 pm Salemme, who lay in the bed, only dressed in his underwear, shot up in the bed, threw up his hands and said something along the lines of “You got me” or “I give up,” Smith said. The authorities found bundles of cash totaling more than $ 28,000 in various bags in the room, ” he said.

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