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PILEGGI, Nicholas

Wiseguy

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In less than an hour Louis Delenhauser showed up at the precinct. 'Cop-out Louie,' the lawyer. Lenny had run back to the cabstand and said I had been pinched on the credit card. That's when they sent Louie. They took care of everything. After the precinct the cops took me down for the arraignment, and when the judge set five hundred dollars bail, the money was put right up and I was free. When I turned around to walk out of the court I could see all of the Varios were standing in the back of the room. Paulie wasn't there because he was serving thirty days on a contempt hearing. But everybody else was smiling and laughing and started hugging me and kissing me and banging me on the back. It was like a graduation. Tuddy kept yelling, 'You broke your cherry!

You broke your cherry!' It was a big deal. After we left the court Lenny and Big Lenny and Tuddy took me to Vincent's Clam Bar in Little Italy for scungilli and wine. They made it like a party. Then, when we got back to the cabstand, everybody was waiting for me and we partied some more.

Two months later Cop-out Louie copped me out to an 'attempted' petty larceny and I got a six- month suspended sentence. Maybe I could have done better. Looking back, it sure was a dumb way to start a yellow sheet, but in those days it was no big thing having a suspended sentence on your record. And I felt so grateful they paid the lawyer, so that my mother and father didn't ever have to find out.

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