From The Wilkes Barre Times Leader:
An inmate serving a life sentence for murder sued the author of “The Quiet Don,” the 2013 book on the late organized crime boss Russell Bufalino, claiming the writer wrongly named him as the killer of a witness against another reputed mobster.
Louis Coviello, 59, a former Dunmore High School football star in the 1970s, said he has suffered “beyond description” as a result of the fabricated account and sought $1 million in compensatory and punitive damages each from the author, Matt Birkbeck, The Berkley Publishing Group and the Penguin Group.
. . . .
Coviello disputed Birkbeck’s account of what happened in the room of a patient recovering from a heart attack at the former Community Medical Center in Scranton.
“The book states that I walked into his room, closed the door, took a pillow and placed it over his head, smothering him to death,” the suit said.
“This is a completely fabricated piece of fiction that Defendant Matt Birkbeck created to make this book resemble a mob story,” the suit said.
On page 182 of the book the patient was an unnamed witness against Philip “Fibber” Forgione. But Coviello identified him as Frank Cooper whom he said had died at another hospital a year after the alleged murder at CMC.
Coviello filed the complaint himself earlier this month in U.S. District Court for the Middle District Pennsylvania, Scranton.
. . . .
The author wrote Coviello came clean with the confession out of sense of guilt as he spoke to investigators in 2006 looking into the alleged mob ties of Dunmore businessman Louis DeNaples who was applying for a casino license from the state. Birkbeck related that Coviello cooperated in the investigation and felt let down by DeNaples, a family friend, who reneged on a promise of legal help and protection in prison.
Coviello denied providing information to investigators, either over the phone or in writing. Letters reprinted in the book were not written by Coviello, the suit said. He demanded that the letters, referred to in the book, be produced in their “original format.”
Coviello dismissed the book as not living up to the hype of being “the untold story of Mafia Kingpin Russell Bufalino,” saying it repeated newspaper and media accounts of “long ago.” If it concentrated on Bufalino, who reportedly ordered that former Teamster head Jimmy Hoffa be killed, Coviello said he would not have filed the complaint.
“But this book is really a story about Louis DeNaples of Dunmore, Pennsylvania,” the suit said.
Link to the rest at Wilkes Barre Times Leader
Under the terms of most Big Publishing contracts, the author would be responsible for paying all of Penguin’s legal expenses plus any judgment Mr. Coviello might obtain.
PG notes that pro se (for oneself) lawsuits filed without benefit of an attorney very seldom last long in court.