||Palermo| Giovanni Falcone
Born: May 20, 1939 - Palermo
Dead: May 23, 1992 - Palermo
Giovanni Falcone, was an Italian magistrate who was specialised in prosecuting Cosa Nostra criminals. He fought the Mafioso for a long time but eventually became a victim of the feared Corleone boss ,Salvatore Riina.
His life story is quite similar to that of his closest friend Paolo Borsellino. Both shared provenance from a rather poor area of Palermo, had careers as Anti-mafia magistrates, and equally sad fates: both were killed (less than two months apart) in particularly audacious bomb attacks in 1992. In recognition of their efforts in the anti mafia trials, the pair were named as heroes of the last 60 years in the November 13, 2006 issue of Time Magazine.
Falcone was one of the major organizers of the Maxi Trial that began February 10, 1986 and finished December 16, 1987. Of 474 Mafiosi members originally charged, 360 were convicted of serious crimes, including 119 in absentia. One of the most important factors in the trial was the testimony of Tommaso Buscetta, the first ever Sicilian Mafioso to become an informant. It was Falcone to whom Buscetta preferred to speak when giving up the secrets of the Mafia, as Buscetta later claimed that, whilst other magistrates and detectives patronized him, Falcone treated him with respect. During 1988 Falcone collaborated with Rudolph Giuliani, at the time U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, in the operations against the Gambino and Inzerillo families.
Sheets exposed in solidarity with Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino. They read: "You did not kill them: their ideas walk on our legs".Falcone was killed with his wife Francesca Morvillo (herself a magistrate) and three policemen: Rocco Di Cillo, Antonio Montinaro, Vito Schifani, in Capaci on the motorway between Palermo International Airport and the city of Palermo on May 23, 1992. The car in which he was travelling was blown up by a bomb(500 Kg) that had been placed in trenches dug by the side of the road. When passing over the bomb, Falcone was driving his car at an estimated speed of nearly 160 km/h.
The murder was organized by Salvatore Riina in revenge for Falcone's conviction of dozens of mobsters in the Maxi-Trials. In the major crackdown against the Mafia following Falcone and Borsellino's deaths, Riina was arrested and is now serving life for sanctioning the murders of both magistrates as well as many other crimes. Another mafioso convicted of the murder of Falcone is Giovanni Brusca, one of Riina's associates who admitted to being the one who actually detonated the explosives.
Palermo airport is now also known by the name Falcone-Borsellino Airport in honor of Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino. A memorial by local sculptor Tommaso Geraci can be found there.
Falcone in film
The last years of Falcone's life, the Maxi Trial and his assassination are documented in the HBO movie Excellent Cadavers. In this film he is portrayed by Italian-American actor Chazz Palminteri. In 2006 a two-episode TV movie was broadcast by italian state television RAI, dedicated to the magistrate, starring Massimo Dapporto as Falcone and Elena Sofia Ricci as his wife Francesca Morvillo. It covers Falcone's life from the start of his mafia investigations in 1980, up to the assassination. Richy Tognazzi directed a fil, "I Giudici" ("The Judges"), that report the story of Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino. In The Best of Youth (La Meglio Gioventù, 2003) part of the movie happens against the backdrop of Falcone's death.
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