Lucia Borsellino, the daughter of a famous investigating judge who died after mafiosi blew up a car bomb in front of his mother’s house, gave investigators an important souvenir from years ago. It’s a notebook with a brown cover in which her father, Paolo Borsellino, wrote down important contacts. He also had it with him on the day he died in 1992, it was in his briefcase. Just like another notebook in which the judge typed the names of suspects: the famous “Agenda Rossa” with a red cover, which he did not allow anyone to read. However, it disappeared on the day of the explosion, and its whereabouts remain a mystery to this day.
Paolo Borsellino was an Italian investigating judge known for his tenacity in the fight against the mafia. He died on July 19, 1992 in Palermo. He died after a bomb exploded in front of the house where his sister and mother lived. The Fiat 126, parked in via D’Amelio, was loaded with TNT and exploded at 4:58 p.m. The explosion destroyed the entrance to the block, several cars parked nearby, and killed six people: a judge and five security agents. The attack shocked not only Sicily, but the entire country Italya wave of anti-mafia protests spread across the country.
Lucia Borsellino testified this Tuesday before the “commissione Antimafia” – the Antimafia commission in the Italian Parliament. The meeting concerned the investigation after the attack on her father and people who had given false testimony in this case for years.
The cigarette dealer confessed to everything
The judge’s daughter testified, among other things, that two years after her father’s death, the wife of a local criminal, cigarette dealer, Vincenzo Scarantino, came to their family home. “She talked about the torture her husband was going through in prison because someone was forcing him to admit that he was the author of the attack,” Lucia Borsellino explained to the commission.
The alleged torture may have had consequences, because a few months later Scarantino began to cooperate with the prosecutor’s office. He stated that it was he who organized the ambush in Via d’Amelio. This opened the thread of the investigation, which is today referred to as “the most serious fraud in the judicial history of the Italian Republic”, because it turned out to be a lie. In February this year, Scarantino appeared in a La7 television program: “I am still afraid, I don’t live a good life. The truth is that I had nothing to do with it (attack – ed.),” he confessed, sitting in the studio wearing a black balaclava. He prefers not to show his face.
Ultimately, several criminals operating in the Cosa Nostra mafia were convicted in several trials for their participation in the attack on Via d’Amelio, including: Totò Riina, Salvator Biondino, Pietro Aglieri, Carlo Greco, Gaetan Scotto, Francesco Tagliavia and Matteo Messina Denaro, the boss whose he was captured last year after being a fugitive from justice for the past three decades.
Briefcase and two notebooks
An issue that has been arousing public concern for years are Paolo Borsellino’s notes from the last two months of his life. Or rather, the lack of them.
Why two months? 57 days before the explosion in Via d’Amelio, in a similar mafia attack another Sicilian judge, Judge Giovanni Falcone, was killed. Borsellino was his closest collaborator and was to continue their common work – to fight Italian criminal groups. “He knew he would be next and he set to work with redoubled energy to get as many things done as possible before his death,” Claudio Fiore, Paolo Borsellino’s nephew, recalled last year in an interview for Vatican News.
The judge wrote down his thoughts, clues, and names of people associated with Sicilian clans in a notebook with a red cover, which he started just after the death of Judge Falcone. Only he knew its contents and he did not allow anyone to read it.
On July 19, 1992, the notebook disappeared without a trace. The family believes that it could not have been destroyed because the briefcase with which Paolo left the house remained intact and the police returned it to relatives four months after the attack.
“I personally saw my father using a red notebook that morning (July 19 – ed.). (…) I rule out that he could have left it because he was always with it,” she testified on Tuesday, or rather recalled her testimony from years ago by Lucia Borsellino, as quoted by the portal lasicilia.it
“I remember how angry I was when (the officers – ed.) returned my father’s things and there was no red notebook among them, because I’m sure it was in that briefcase (…) just like his swimsuit, house keys, cigarettes and his brown notebook,” she said at the meeting of the anti-mafia commission.
“Father will tell you who he trusted”
She shared the contents of the brown notebook with members of the parliamentary committee on Tuesday. At the end of her testimony, she said she would give them scans of all its pages. “It was given to us and we kept it for the last thirty years without knowing that it was never secured as part of the investigation,” said Lucia Borsellino. Relatives believed that investigators analyzed the notebook before returning the file to the family, but this was not the case.
“In it you will find a list of telephone numbers of people close to my father, updated on the morning of July 19 (1992 – ed.). Three quarters are prosecutors, officials and judges, the rest are family. You will also find numbers of people that my father wanted to have at hand at any time, you will not find contacts with people who were not in his trusted circle,” she calculated.
“This way my father will tell you who he trusted and who he didn’t trust,” she concluded.
“The fact that Lucia Borsellino handed over this notebook on Tuesday exposes another error in the investigation into the attack. The notebook, which the family considers a valuable clue about people close to the judge, was not among the evidence in the case. Over the years, many people claimed to be Borsellino’s friends , but not all numbers will be on the pages of the brown notebook,” says the journalist of “Corriere della Sera”.
Paolo Borsellino memorial tree near the block where the bomb exploded
ANSA, Corriere della Sera, La Sicilia
Main photo source: Public Domain/interno.gov.it