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Gambino acquitted by jury of attempted club murders

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After deliberating over the course of a week, a jury found Nicholas Gambino not guilty last week of attempting to kill three men at a College Point Night Club in 2000.

But the jury could not reach a verdict on related assault and weapons possession charges. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said he planned to pursue a retrial of Gambino on those counts.

Gambino, 20, of Brooklyn, was tried in Queens Criminal Court in Kew Gardens in front of Justice Stanley Katz.

If he had been convicted of all attempted murder, weapons possession and assault charges, Gambino would have faced 115 years behind bars.

Gambino still faces a possible 14 years in prison if convicted in a new trial on the assault and weapons possession charges.

Betsy Herzog, a spokeswoman for the district attorney, said the jury selection for the retrial of Gambino should begin in April.

At about 2 a.m. on Aug. 4, 2000, violence erupted at the Metropolis Nightclub on 123rd Street off the Whitestone Expressway in College Point, said police. When it was all over, five men had been stabbed, and two were sent to the hospital in extremely critical condition.

Assistant District Attorney Robert Hanophy contended Gambino was responsible for the stabbings. Defense attorney Raphael Scotto said Gambino had acted in self-defense, Newsday reported.

One stabbing victim who testified on behalf of the prosecution, 20-year-old Anthony Federici, is the son of “Tough” Tony Federici, the reputed Genovese family mob boss who owns the Parkside Restaurant in Corona.

Officials said they believed Gambino himself to be a nephew of two soldiers in the Gambino crime family.

While Federici, a sophomore at Boston University, said he never saw his assailant, Ari Tsatsaronis, a friend of Federici, told the court he had seen Gambino stab people outside the club.

Federici and James Mastronardi, another friend of Federici, were the most seriously injured in the attack, police said, while Salvatore Loria, Matthew McGlynn and Frank Traina were also injured.

The August 2000 stabbings marked the end of a long history of violent incidents at the College Point club, which closed down later that month.

In February 2000, Raymond Hernandez, 21, of the Bronx, was found murdered outside the club as the result of a dispute, police said.

In August 1999, three men died outside the club in a bizarre shooting incident and car crash.

And in December 1995, just months after Metropolis opened, a fight in front of the club left one man slashed, three shot, and a fifth hit by a car.

The club was billed as “the most exciting experience on the planet.”

Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 141.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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