A one-time top-ranking capo due for trial next week nearly squealed on his fellow mobsters as feds probed cases against the Genovese crime family, according to reports, but got wise when he remembered his wife on the outside.
Mike "Mikey Cigars" Coppola, who was arrested two years ago after being on the run for more than a decade, stayed at FBI headquarters for two nights and even met with a government-arranged lawyer, The New York Daily News reported.
Coppola disappeared in 1996 after police, investigating the 1977 murder of John "Johnny Cokes" Lardiere, asked him for a DNA sample.
"We wanted him to cooperate with us," Brown told the paper. "He could actively make phone calls for us. There were lots of things he could do."
But Coppola's attorney, Henry Mazurek, told The Daily News his client strung the feds along because he feared his wife was going to get nabbed.
"His concern was the safety of his wife," Mazurek told The Daily News.
Lardiere, who'd just gotten out of prison for a 24-hour furlough so he could spend Easter with his family, was shot four times while trying to get out of his car in front of a New Jersey motel.
The hit became legendary for a line that Lardiere uttered before he was shot at point-blank range. Prosecutors allege that when Coppola's gun jammed, the victim asked, "What're you gonna do now, tough guy?" prompting Coppola to produce a second gun that delivered the fatal rounds to Lardiere.
Coppola stands trial next week on racketeering charges, including the Lardiere slaying and extorting a Longshoremen's union for more than 30 years, according to the paper.
Coppola is already serving a 42-month sentence on the fugitive charge.