Crime | November 30, 2020 6:30 am

Man Convicted of 1980s Plot Against John Gotti Seeks Compassionate Release

The complex story of Louis Manna

Louis Manna
Reputed underworld figure Louis Manna (left) of Jersey City, N.J. enters Mercer County Courthouse in Trenton with his attorney, Don Conway.
Bettmann Archive

Reading about the case of alleged underworld figure Louis Manna in 2020 makes for a study in contrasts. He is currently incarcerated — more in that in a moment — and he spent a significant amount of the 1970s in prison after refusing to discuss the Mafia in New Jersey to the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation.

An expansive article at by Joe Atmonavage offers a good overview of Manna’s life — including the detail that, based on court records, he was third in command in the Genovese crime family in the 1980s.

He’s spent the last 32 years in prison for his role in a conspiracy to kill John Gotti in the late 1980s, along with a number of other charges. The plan in question almost came to fruition, but failed when the government notified Gotti that his life was in danger.

At the trial, Manna was sentenced to 80 years in prison; he was 60 at the time. Since then, he’s had cancer twice and has been diagnosed with both Parkinson’s disease and hypertension. As COVID-19 spreads across the country, Manna has applied for compassionate release. His stepson has agreed to house him. And, admittedly, it’s hard to argue that a 91-year-old man dealing with a number of chronic conditions poses much of a danger to anyone.

Currently, prosecutors have objected to the idea of an early release for Manna, pointing to the severity of his actions and arguing that early release of any kind would violate the spirit of the original sentence. The legal and ethical questions raised by Manna’s case offer a lot to think about — and have few easy answers.

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