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Asaro Acquitted in ‘Goodfellas’ Heist Trial

(CN) - An 80-year-old man accused of helping plan a heist that was made famous in the 1990 movie "Goodfellas" was found not guilty of racketeering conspiracy Thursday, according to news reports.

Prosecutors claimed that Vincent Asaro was involved in setting up an armed robbery at the John F. Kennedy International Airport's Lufthansa terminal in 1978.

The Lufthansa heist netted $5 million in cash and $1 million in jewelry, according to the New York Times.

The newspaper called Thursday's verdict "a stunning blow" to the Eastern New York U.S. Attorney's Office. The jury had been deliberating since Monday.

The government had argued that Asaro was still an active member of the Bonanno organized crime family before his arrest last year, according to an Associated Press report.

Asaro's attorney, Elizabeth Macedonio, called cooperating witnesses "accomplished liars" and said her client was not a powerful crime figure, the news wire reported.

Asaro would have faced life in prison if the jury convicted him, according to the U.S. Justice Department. He was charged with one count of racketeering conspiracy and two extortion-related counts.

The Martin Scorsese-directed "Goodfellas" starred Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci.

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