Exclusive interview Giovanni Gambino on his meeting with the Democratic hopeful in 2008. Read it on DailyMail.com here
Hillary Clinton met with a Mafia heir who asked for his drug kingpin father to be released early from prison in exchange for votes, it has been revealed.
The former First Lady met Giovanni Gambino, the son of Francesco ‘Ciccio’ Gambino and the cousin of Carlo Gambino – the boss of the notorious crime family and one-time head of the American Mafia – while she was campaigning in the the presidential primary in 2007.
The Democratic front runner spoke to the crime author, who recently made headlines for saying he would protect New York from ISIS, at one of his pizzerias in Charleston, South Carolina.
The 41-year-old’s father, who was serving a 30-year prison sentence at the time, suggested he contact Clinton to see if she could help with his early release through a presidential pardon.
In return, Giovanni Gambino would get his ‘connections’ in the restaurant business to vote for her and drum up support.
He also wanted the pair to discuss over-populated prisons – a policy she has championed in her latest presidential bid.
Clinton agreed and the pair met during her unsuccessful run for the 2008 Democratic nomination, and even posed for a picture with the mobster’s son.
Giovanni, who has also served time in a New York state prison, also got the chance to pose with her husband Bill for a picture.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail Online, Gambino said he has fond memories of the encounter
‘When it has something to do with your family, you never forget it. She might have forgotten about it. She probably hears stories like that every day,’ he said.
‘But if you have a father that has been in prison for so long, you would go to the North Pole and back to get him out.’
‘I spoke to her about over-populated prisons. I said: “I’ve been there. I was in state prison. It looks like a farm, people can barely walk. It’s crazy. Why don’t you try and do something with these non-violent offenders.”
He told Hillary that his father was given 20 extra years, just for being a Gambino, while the pair joked that the problem of over-crowding wouldn’t be solved until the whole of America was behind bars.
Despite his intentions for the meeting, Giovanni’s father passed away in prison before Clinton could act.
During his trial in 1987, prosecutors claimed Francesco Gambino was the leader of the Sicilian Mafia drug network. He was part of the same family business set up by his cousin Carlo.
Born in Sicily, Carlo immigrated to the United States in 1921 as a ship stowaway, settling in Brooklyn and becoming a gang member under Joe ‘the Boss’ Masseria.
He then worked for Salvatore Maranzano, Philip and Vincent Mangano, and finally, from 1951, Albert Anastasia. He inherited the crime syndicate when Anastasia was murdered.
In 50 years of crime Carlo only served 22 months in prison.
Francesco was convicted as part of a massive drug round-up in the United States and Italy alongside fellow mafiosos Salvatore Mannino, Antonio Mannino, Grace Mannino and Enzo Varisco.
Giovanni was just 14 when his father was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Francesco was tried under the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act, which allows prosecutors to arrest gang members associated with criminal enterprise – legislation Giovanni has criticized.
‘Two of his friends were doing “things” and my father had business with them. So they caught my father with pictures to prove he associated with them. And that’s enough to convict someone.
‘It’s crazy. So my father told me ‘why don’t you get in contact with the Clintons?’
‘I said it wasn’t going to be easy, but anything is possible. So within no time I got in contact with Hillary.
‘I am pretty sure she knew who I was so I said to her: “Hillary listen. I’ve got a pizzeria here in Charleston. I have a few restaurants that I have around here. I am pretty connected in Charleston.
‘”If somebody kills someone, f*** them. If they take a life they deserve a life. But for these non-violent offenders we need to modify the law.”
‘She said: ‘I like that idea.’ Then I told Hillary: “Do the math these people have brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, grandfathers. All these are votes”.’
She told Giovanni: ‘Listen, I’ll see what I can do’. ‘We then talked about the pizzeria and what brought her to Charleston,’ he said.
Eight years on from the meeting, Giovanni still thinks Hillary is ‘down to earth’ and a ‘good listener’.
He has also credited her for talking about over-populated prisons and helping people ‘like me’ in the middle class.
When she was defeated by Barack Obama, he lost contact with her, but said he would definitely reach out to her again, especially since his brother-in-law (who he wouldn’t name), is still locked up.
When Giovanni’s father was sent to prison, his mother raised him with help from the Mafia ‘old guard’ – the traditional bosses who wanted no part of the drug trade and prostitution the Mafia was becoming known for.
Following his childhood, he went on to own restaurants in both New York and South Carolina. He has also written two books – The Vindicator and the Prince of Omerta.
Recently he spoke to Daily Mail Online about how he would protect parts of the Big Apple from the Islamic State.
In September, Hillary appeared at a fundraiser in the notorious Staten Island mansion built by mob boss Paul Castellano (pictured) – who was once the head of the Gambino crime family.
He backed up his comments, and echoed comments made by Donald Trump earlier in his campaign.
‘For the Sicilians, if something happens to them from these animals ISIS, they are going to kill their mother, their brother, their sister.
‘That is why they don’t blow up coffee shops in Sicily. And Trump said we have to get to the families of these animals.
Giovanni says he hasn’t reached out to Trump, but believes it is only a matter of time before the pair meet up.
‘I love Hillary, I love Trump. But Trump is a businessman and I believe that this country will do very well with a businessman as president.’
When asked who he would vote for, he said: ‘That is a good question. But I would go for Trump. He is New Yorker and I am a New Yorker.’
This isn’t the first time Hillary has been linked to the Mafia. In September, she appeared at a fundraiser in the notorious Staten Island mansion built by mob boss Paul Castellano – who was once the head of the Gambino crime family.
Hillary’s representatives have not responded to Daily Mail Online’s request for comment.