By Joseph Ax
NEW YORK (Reuters) - An 80-year-old reputed mobster was found not guilty on Tuesday of his role in a brazen 1978 airport heist that helped inspire the Mafia movie "Goodfellas," according to media reports.
Vincent Asaro, whose arrest last year more than three decades later closed what had been one of the country's most infamous unsolved crimes, was cleared of murder, extortion and other crimes by a jury in Brooklyn federal court, several news outlets reported.
The verdict is a rebuke to federal prosecutors in what may be one of the last major Mafia trials to stem from organized crime's heyday in New York decades ago.
Prosecutors had said Asaro waited in a decoy car with another gangster, Jimmy Burke, about a mile from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, as a group of masked men robbed a Lufthansa Airlines cargo building of $6 million in cash and jewels.
The caper was memorialized in Martin Scorsese's Academy Award-winning 1990 film, in which Robert DeNiro played a character based on Burke, long believed to be the mastermind of the robbery.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Christian Plumb)