Mob Wives star Karen Gravano is “extremely happy” after her dad, notorious mob informant Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano, was granted an early prison release on Monday.
“I spoke to him,” Karen told The New York Post. “He is happy to be out after spending the last 17 1/2 years in prison. He’s in good health, great spirits and he’s anxious to move forward with the next phase of his life.”
The now 72-year-old Salvatore famously turned federal witness against John Gotti and his associates in 1991 as part of a plea deal that saw him receive a measly five-year sentence for a string of crimes that included 19 admitted murders. John Gotti was given a life sentence and 38 other organized crime affiliates were imprisoned thanks to Salvatore’s testimony. Salvatore received his controversial five-year sentence in September of 1994, but he had already been behind bars for four years at the time, so he was out in less than 12 months.
Salvatore entered the federal witness protection program, but elected to leave it because he found it too restrictive. He was soon making public appearances, including a nationally televised interview with Diane Sawyer. In 1997 he published the book Underboss: Sammy the Bull Gravano’s Story of Life in the Mafia with author Peter Maas.
In February of 2000, Salvatore and 47 others were arrested in connection with an ecstacy ring in Arizona. Among those arrested along with Salvatore was his daughter, Karen Gravano. Here is her mug shot photo from the arrest:
Salvatore received a 20-year prison sentence on the drug charges. He previously made an attempt at early release two years ago after changes to federal drug sentencing guidelines, but Brooklyn Federal Judge Allyne Ross denied the motion. “Ross said her reasons had to do with the ‘staggering severity’ of Gravano’s criminal history — like his approximately 19 murders and murder conspiracies in about 15 years, plus his past jury tampering,” reports The Daily News.
Sammy the Bull was scheduled to be released in 2019, but was released earlier this week due to good behavior. According to online records, he was set free on Monday, September 18.
“There is no doubt I’m extremely happy,” daughter Karen tells The New York Post. “I’ve been fighting for this day the whole 17 1/2 years that he’s been in prison, so I’m ecstatic it’s finally here.”