Sarno, who has been attempting to cut an agreement with prosecutors and the courts to get out of prison because of COVID and his own allegedly declining health, has been denied compassionate release by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.
In an interview with the I-Team, Sarno’s attorney said his client fell victim to a justice system that still views the Chicago mob as Hollywood portrays it. He disputes that Sarno would resume calling shots for the mob from his wheelchair if released, and as federal prosecutors convinced the court.
“I think he’s another Italian American that’s a victim of the RICO Act,” said Chicago attorney John Chwarzynski. “He’s serving time for something that he was not even convicted of.”
Sarno worked his way up to become a powerful suburban street boss for the Outfit, and then the federal hammer dropped. He was sentenced to 25 years in 2012 for racketeering in a suburban burglary and theft caper.
“I think that the government, the district court and the appellate court, still has this belief that there’s a mafia out there and that it’s like you see in the movies,” Chwarzynski said. “They wrote in their opinion that Mike could still do what he previously did, sitting in a wheelchair. And it’s something that you know, Hollywood has dramatized, and it’s not the case anymore.”
When the hoodlum’s health took a bad turn a few years ago, he was moved to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons medical facility in Springfield, Missouri, where he remains in a long-term nursing wing to this day.
First known as the “Fat Boy” and later “the Large Guy,” Sarno is now 64 years old and said to be a fraction of his former self, in health, size and power.
But, his attorney said Sarno’s story has heavyweight interest from Hollywood.
“It’s a big, it’s a big producer on it –the producer of ‘Man on Fire’ with Denzel Washington –so they want to talk,” Chwarzynski said. “Right now, we’re in the talks of– they want to start with the podcast and then simultaneously write a book and the screenplay.”
As it appears Sarno will stay put in prison for the rest of his term, Chwarzynski notes that Sarno wasn’t given a life sentence but, “with the way things are going ” that’s what he may end up with.
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