Luigi Grasso, cousin of “Mob Wives” star Angela (Big Ang) Raiola, was lauded by a Manhattan judge for helping to save a suicidal inmate in a courthouse holding cell before Grasso’s appearance on a weapons rap, the Daily News has learned.
The distressed inmate, who was not identified by officials, had fashioned a noose from an oversized T-shirt and was hanging from the top bar in the pens of the Manhattan Criminal Court at 111 Centre St. on Oct. 7 when sources said the brawny jailbird jumped up to save him.
“I was sitting down, reading my legal work in the bullpen,” Grasso, who is 5-feet-10 and 280 pounds, told The News from Rikers Island. “I’d seen this guy dangling from the ceiling and he was there for a while. I grabbed him and I untied him.”
Grasso said he was with “two other guys,” waiting to be delivered to the courtroom for a hearing on his 2012 gun charge, when Grasso noticed the dangling man.
For his quick-thinking efforts, Grasso, 47, was praised by Justice Bruce Allen.
“Before appearances are made, we have to acknowledge Mr. Grasso. Apparently he was instrumental in helping downstairs with another inmate who was in some difficulty,” Allen said. “Thank you, Mr. Grasso.”
The good Samaritan act didn’t help his case, however. Seconds later, Allen issued a decision denying his defense team’s bid to suppress statements and evidence, paving the way for a trial.
Grasso’s lawyer Alex Grosshtern said his client rushing to the aid of an ailing fellow inmate was a display of “his true character.”
“On a personal level, that’s the kind of guy he is, because he wouldn’t just sit back and let this happen,” Grosshtern said.
Grasso — who is also known as Ronnie Petrino — was discussed in a recently aired “Mob Wives” episode by buxom Staten Island bar owner kin Big Ang.
Raiola griped to guest star Victoria Gotti, daughter of the notorious Mafia boss, about Grasso’s legal troubles.
Grasso, a heavily tattooed reputed Gambino associate, was slapped with a 38-year federal prison sentence in August for participating in a robbery gone bad with turncoat Hector Pagan Jr., the ex-husband of Raiola’s co-star Renee Graziano.
Pagan pulled the trigger, killing an innocent bystander, and then flipped on Grasso and their accomplice Richard Riccardi, sparing himself from serious prison time.
“My cousin did do something wrong — trying to do a robbery — but he might be facing more time than Junior, the rat that killed the guy,” Raiola grumbled on the VH1 series.
Pagan later got just 11 years behind bars for the fatal 2010 stickup.
Brooklyn Federal Court Judge John Gleeson had little sympathy for Grasso and Riccardi, saying they were largely to blame for the murder of Brooklyn check casher James Donovan because his death was “a natural consequence of the life you chose for yourself.”
Grasso also has a pending gun case in Staten Island in addition to the case in Manhattan.