HERE ARE FOUR of A. Charles Peruto Jr.'s big (mob) hits:

  • 1983: Defending Joseph Pedulla, one of two men convicted of shooting mobster Salvatore Testa - and a prime suspect in the murder of Angelo Bruno - Peruto says, "It's obvious that federal authorities are looking into the Bruno murder, but it's just as obvious that Joe Pedulla would have nothing to do with killing Angelo Bruno."

  • 1984: Pedulla, a former enforcer for mobster Harry "The Hunchback" Riccobene, turns police informant and dismisses Peruto as his attorney in a mob-hit case, citing a conflict of interest because Peruto also represented Riccobene in a gun-possession case. Peruto wins that case.

  • 1998: Peruto gets reputed mob boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino off the hook on a Longport, N.J., littering charge.

  • 2008: New Jersey authorities drop conspiracy, gambling and money-laundering charges against Stephen Casasanto in a mob-linked bookmaking operation after Peruto sues the state Attorney General's Office, alleging that it had "failed to properly investigate whether or not the person that they tape-recorded" was "Stephen Casasanto or some other 'Stephen.' " Peruto says the prosecutor dropped the charges against reputed mob capo Michael "Mikey Lance" Lancellotti in the same case after discovering he had the "wrong Michael" on tape recordings.

NON-MOB NOTORIETY: Peruto defended notorious "House of Horrors" torturer/murderer Gary Heidnik in the late 1980s, attempting to save his life with an insanity plea even though Heidnik said he wanted to die. Heidnik eventually got his wish.

- Dan Geringer