Photo on web, but judge wants mob witness hidden

November 24, 2010 4:56:18 AM PST
In federal court Tuesday, the mob racketeering trial of Michael "the Large Guy" Sarno and four alleged accomplices was abruptly halted when a witness was asked about Sarno's mob connections.

In this intelligence report: Why that wasn't the only unusual event during the trial.

Mike Sarno, a convicted Outfit boss, is accused of ordering the bombing of a Berwyn video poker machine maker that was in competition with the Outfit.

For the past two days one of Sarno's co-defendant's in the case has been testifying. Mark Hay is a career burglar, and unbeknownst to his accused criminal colleagues, he was cooperating with the FBI.

Tuesday, as the free-on bond "Large Guy" walked into federal court for another day of trial, his attorney Terry Gillespie was able to cross-examine one of the government's prime witnesses. His name: 54-year-old Mark Hay.

In an extraordinary request, the past two days, Judge Ronald Guzman asked that our ABC7 courtroom sketch artist not draw Hay's face, even though he was sitting in full view in a public courtroom and is a named defendant.

It is thought that Hay will enter the federal witness protection program and be given a new identity once this case is done.

More unusual is that Hay's picture is readily available to anyone searching the Illinois Department of Corrections website. He has been serving a lengthy sentence at the Logan Correctional Center on numerous burglary convictions.

The past two days, not only has Hay's testimony been seen and heard, so have his undercover tapes.

On those tapes Hay expresses his surprise that Mike Sarno hadn't been indicted during the fed's Operation Family Secrets, the feds' much more expansive mob murders prosecution from a few years ago.

It is unclear why a news organization's sketch artist would be singled out and asked not to draw a picture of someone who is appearing in a public courtroom when that person's current prison photo is available for anyone to see on a government website.

Illinois Department of Corrections Website: http://www.idoc.state.il.us/subsections/search/inms.asp
In order to find Mark Hay, click on inmate search on the lefthand index; highlight last name and type in Hay; once the box with all the inmates appears, scroll up to Hay, Mark J.; click on query a highlighted inmate and Hay's page appears.


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