Attempted murder charges dropped in Brooklyn knife fight

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 22, 2011 3:59 PM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Prosecutors have dropped attempted murder charges against the owner of a famous Brooklyn pizzeria and a reputed mob henchman after they refused to cooperate in the investigation into a knife fight between the two of them.

Mark Iacono, owner of Lucali's Pizza, a popular pizzeria frequented by locals, tourists and celebrities such as rapper Jay-Z and singer Beyonce, was charged with attempted murder in April after he got into the fight near his restaurant with Benny Geritano, who also was charged.

The Brooklyn District Attorney's office said both men refused to testify before a grand jury without immunity, and a judge dismissed the case at a hearing on Tuesday.

Police said Geritano pulled a knife on Iacono on April 15 and stabbed him several times in the back, stomach and thighs, and Geritano said he was also injured.

Police did not say what caused the dispute between the two acquaintances.

Geritano, who was imprisoned after the fight for violating probation, is believed to be a henchman for an organized crime-run loan shark business.

Iacono was treated for his injuries and charged with assault while still hospitalized, and the charges were later upgraded. He has since returned to the restaurant.

(Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Jerry Norton)