The Nation: Silent Goes the Don

In his younger days, Gerardo Catena was convicted of eight felonies, ranging from hijacking to bribing a federal juror, but those inconveniences did not slow his steady rise through the Mafia hierarchy. By the late 1960s he was boss of 600 button men in northern New Jersey and heavily involved in gambling and loan-sharking. Thus it was only logical for the state commission of investigation to summon him in 1970 for questioning about organized-crime activities. Granted immunity from prosecution for his answers, Catena still refused to talk, so a superior court sent him to jail. Under civil contempt procedures common...

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