Montreal

Rizzuto's children launch $950,000 defamation lawsuit

The adult children of notorious mob boss Vito Rizzuto have filed a $950,000 defamation lawsuit against two Canadian newspapers and the authors of a book about their father.

The adult children of notorious mob boss Vito Rizzuto have filed a $950,000 defamation lawsuit against two Canadian newspapers and the authors of a book about their father.

Bettina and Leonardo Rizzuto, who are both practising lawyers in Montreal, are suing journalists Lee Lamothe and Adrian Humphreys, authors of The Sixth Family: The Collapse of the New York Mafia and the Rise of Vito Rizzuto, a book published in July 2006.

The Rizzuto children claim their reputations have been compromised by allegations in the book that lawyers in their father's immediate circle had a hand in his business affairs.

The lawsuit also targets CanWest Media and its affiliate newspapers, the Montreal Gazette and the National Post, which published excerpts of the book after it was released.

The Rizzutos allege that the book, and the excerpts drawn from it, are riddledwith errors, assumptions, malicious rumours, gossip, insinuations and false allegations.

The Rizzuto children also maintain that, as lawyers, they have never contravened or violated any provisions of the Quebec Bar Act.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Vito Rizzuto is in custody in a New York State prison, awaiting trial on several racketeering charges that date back to the 1981 slaying of three members of the Bonanno clan.

The RCMP consider the 58-year-old Rizzuto as the "godfather" of Montreal's mafia, and believe he's a high-ranking member of the Bonanno clan, based in New York City.

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