Criminal Justice

Inmate is convicted in plot to behead federal judge and prosecutor

A New York man who pleaded guilty in a scheme to sell overvalued coins has been convicted for plotting to behead the federal judge and lead prosecutor who put him behind bars.

Jurors convicted Joseph Romano on Thursday for seeking the murders of U.S. District Judge Joseph Bianco and Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Treinis Gatz, report the New York Law Journal, Reuters and the Associated Press.

Prosecutors said Romano wanted to have the judge and prosecutor decapitated so their heads could be preserved in formaldehyde as souvenirs. He was serving a 15-year sentence in the coin case and had been ordered to forfeit $7 million.

Authorities arranged for an undercover cop to pose as a hit man after a jailhouse informant told authorities he was concerned that Romano wanted to harm the judge and prosecutor. Romano’s lawyers said his prison talk was an effort to look tough in front of violent inmates, and he was entrapped by the government.

Prior coverage: “Did inmate really plot to kill a federal judge and prosecutor, or was it just ‘tough talk’?”

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