NEW YORK — Joseph Bonanno, the 81-year-old retired crime boss who refused last year to answer questions about a Mafia "commission," was ordered released from prison Friday when a federal judge lifted his contempt citation.
"The order committing Joseph Bonanno in civil contempt of Sept. 5, 1985, is hereby lifted," U.S. District Judge Richard Owen said in a written order. Bonanno "is released forthwith," it said.
Bonanno's lawyer, Ira London, said Bonanno's son was arranging clothing and transportation for his father, who has been incarcerated at a federal prison medical facility in Springfield, Mo.
Owen jailed Bonanno, the reputed former boss of the New York crime family that bore his name, for civil contempt last year when Bonanno refused to answer prosecutors' questions about the commission that allegedly governs organized crime.
Owen is presiding at the racketeering trial in Manhattan of three reputed mob bosses and five others accused of sitting on, or working for, the commission.