PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - Admitted mobster Anthony "The Saint" St. Laurent's plea hearing was canceled Monday after he was unable to make it to court because of health problems.
St. Laurent was supposed to plead guilty to extortion and murder-for-hire charges this afternoon, guaranteeing yet another extended stay in federal prison. U.S. Marshal for Rhode Island Steven O'Donnell said medical issues prevented him from appearing in court Monday. A new date for the hearing has not been scheduled.
St. Laurent, 69, suffers from a myriad of health problems and in the past has arrived at federal court in an ambulance and gotten wheeled out of the courtroom in a gurney.
In a stunning plea agreement unsealed last month, St. Laurent admitted to being a sworn member of the Patriarca crime family and identified Luigi "Baby Shacks" Manocchio as the former boss of the family.
As Target 12 first reported in 2009, St. Laurent was charged with attempting to hire hit men to take out the mob family's alleged underboss, Robert "Bobby" DeLuca. At the time of the alleged solicitation, DeLuca was a reputed capo regime, or captain.
The plea agreement states that St. Laurent wanted to snuff out DeLuca because of his "intense hatred" of the rival mobster. DeLuca has accused St. Laurent of being a government informant in the past.
The extortion charge accused St. Laurent of being the mastermind behind a three-decade scheme to shake down Taunton bookmakers for protection money.
St. Laurent's wife and son already pleaded guilty to their roles in the extortion scheme last year. Anthony St. Laurent Jr. is currently serving a six-and-a-half year sentence in a federal prison in upstate New York. Dorothy St. Laurent was sentenced to three years of probation and 1,500 hours of community service.
Court documents reveal the family took in between $800,000 and $1.5 million in extortion payments after the scheme began in 1988.
Under the agreement, the government agreed to recommend a lesser sentence. Judge William Smith will ultimately decide St. Laurent's fate. St. Laurent has been in Fort Devens federal prison awaiting trial; he could see an additional 10 years behind bars.
The plea agreement revealed for the first time that in exchange for gunning down DeLuca, St. Laurent would get the alleged hit man inducted into La Cosa Nostra. St. Laurent told the prospective murderer, who was actually an undercover investigator, that he had the permission of former boss Manocchio.
DeLuca was scooped up by Rhode Island State Police and an attempted hit was never pulled off. Previous documents revealed "The Saint" wanted the murder to happen at the downtown Providence restaurant Side Bar & Grill, where DeLuca works.
Last week, Manocchio pleaded not guilty to separate extortion charges. In a court filing, U.S. Justice Department trial attorney Scott Lawson stated the government has "made members" of the Patriarca crime family willing to identify Manocchio as the former boss of New England La Cosa Nostra.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office declined to comment as to whether one of those is St. Laurent.
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