Anthony "AJ" Donofrio, son of “Mob Wives” star Angela "Big Ang" Raiola, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to two class B felony charges relating to a drug operation. Donofrio turned himself in to law enforcement personnel on Tuesday after a six-month NYPD investigation, during which Donofrio and four others allegedly sold narcotics to undercover officers in Brooklyn.
At the arraignment, Assistant District Attorney Tim Gearom called Donofrio the “ringleader” of his four co-defendants. Together they are charged with 50 counts of conspiracy and criminal sale and possession of controlled substances. The defendants, Gearom said, allegedly possessed and sold more than 700 oxycodone pills and other drugs in Brooklyn on several occasions since December, most recently on May 30.
Gearom said prosecutors have evidence that Donofrio initially sold two ounces of oxycodone to an undercover officer. The officer asked for a larger amount, and Donofrio allegedly discussed the sale several times with co-defendant Michael Donovan. Some of the discussions were caught on audiotape, Gearom said.
However, Donofrio’s attorney, Lance Lazzaro, told The Huffington Post that his client maintains he “didn’t do it.”
Most family and friends watched the arraignment steely-eyed and straight-faced, but at least one onlooker buried her head in her lap, crying, during the proceedings.
Raiola -- who pleaded guilty in 2003 to selling cocaine-- was nowhere to be seen in the courtroom.
Lazzaro will make bail arguments on Thurdsay in front of Judge James Sullivan, who will preside over the case. Until then, Donofrio’s bail has been held at $200,000. Lazzaro called the amount “ridiculous.”
“There is no likelihood of jail whatsoever on this case,” Lazzaro said, adding that in “this court” there is “a presumption of innocence.”
Donofrio’s co-defendants were arraigned Wednesday with bail set at $200,000 each.
If convicted, Donofrio faces up to eight years in prison for conspiracy in the second degree.