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November 12, 2005

House arrest

If you've been wondering what Christopher Colombo has been doing in the 513 years since he discovered America, you may be in for a surprise -- and by "you" I mean the federal prosecutor who has the man on house arrest while he awaits trial on racketeering and extortion charges.

According to various news sources, Colombo, a reputed Mafia don's son (by which I mean the son of a reputed Mafia don, not a reputed son of the man), took advantage of the terms of his house arrest by appearing in an HBO reality show called, coincidentally, "House Arrest."

The government learned of his activities after his lawyer, Jeremy Schneider, wrote the judge asking permission for Mr. Colombo to attend a nighttime screening of the show next Monday.

An HBO news release about a preview of the show, which Mr. Colombo submitted to the judge, says he "visits a Reiki therapist, a strip club, a Bronx tailor, a church confessional, his favorite Chinese restaurant and a nightclub." Then, the release says, he rushes home in time for curfew to meet "two women who just might add a private 'happy ending' to his busy day."
Look, we can all understand allowing an indicted racketeer to visit a strip club, a church, or a nightclub. But a Reiki therapist? Not a good idea.

The feds are quite unhappy with the whole plan.
The government letter quotes another press report as saying that an associate of Colombo during the episode tries to use a credit card to open the locked doors of a church and that Colombo says "this could be a violation of my bail restriction."

Lawsky wrote that Colombo apparently filmed the show as he traveled throughout Orange County and New York City for several months after the judge relaxed his bail conditions at an August 2004 hearing so he could attend to family matters.

"Rather than use his newly granted freedom to spend time with his family and attend to the needs of his children, as his previous attorney claimed he would do, Colombo seems to have spent a large amount of his time filming his show, which reportedly makes a mockery of Colombo's conditions of release," Lawsky said. "In doing so, Colombo has used and abused the freedom the court granted him over the government's objection to go strip clubs, attempt to break into churches and generally gallivant around town with his associates."
Here's a problem with what the magistrate did: she "relaxed his bail conditions" so he could "attend to family matters." Did it ever occur to her that when a Mafia don, or his son, asks to attend to "family" matters, she should have been a little more suspicious?