A jury in US District Court in Boston today began deliberating in the case of John M. Analetto, the Massachusetts State Police trooper charged with two counts of extortion.
The 12-member jury began deliberating just before noon today, after the testimony of three witnesses over two days. The jury went home late this afternoon after five hours of deliberation. The trial had started with jury selection on Monday.
Analetto, 49, of Belmont, a trooper for more than 20 years, is charged with extorting payments from a bookmaker whom Analetto had loaned $24,000, by threatening to beat him and, in one case, kill him. He is also charged with extorting a second man, a gambler who owed the bookmaker more than $3,000 in debts.
Eugenia M. Carris, an assistant US attorney, asked jurors during closing arguments this morning to hold Analetto accountable, saying he violated the trust of his badge. Jurors were shown secretly recorded videotapes of some of the conversations between Analetto and the bookmaker, Robert Russo, who also testified about his interaction with Analetto.
“We told you the defendant was out of control, and the evidence has shown that,” Carris said. “Sometimes, people really are what they are appear to be.”
But Daniel W. O’Malley, Analetto’s lawyer, said that the trooper’s alleged threats were nothing more than “locker-room” type banter by a man who had been drinking heavily. He said his client would never carry out any type of threats, and said he was set up by the bookmaker so that the bookmaker would not have to pay the loan.
O’Malley acknowledged his client gambled, used profane language, and drank heavily, but said his actions did not mount to extortion, a crime that carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
“You know this is all locker-room banter, all wiseguy wannabe banter,” O’Malley said. “It was right out of ‘The Sopranos.’ It was like he had been watching too many episodes or something. It’s laughable.”
Analetto has been on unpaid administrative leave since his arrest on New Year’s Eve in 2011, at a gas station in Belmont. He has been held without bail since then. Milton J. Valencia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @miltonvalencia.