- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 8, 2001

DNA tests show a strand of hair from Jimmy Hoffa was found in a car driven by his "foster son," Charles "Chuckie" O'Brien, the day the embattled Teamsters union boss disappeared more than a quarter century ago, law enforcement authorities said yesterday.
Scientists at the FBI's crime laboratory matched Hoffa's DNA with a hair strand taken from the car Mr. O'Brien used July 30, 1975 the date the union president last was seen. The car, a 1975 Mercury Marquis Brougham, was owned by Joseph Giacalone, son of reputed Detroit crime boss Anthony "Tony Jack" Giacalone.
Mr. O'Brien has maintained Hoffa never was in the car and has denied knowing anything about the disappearance, which remains an unsolved case.
Hoffa, who headed the union from 1957 until 1971, disappeared from the Machus Red Fox restaurant near Detroit and is presumed dead.
At the time, federal law enforcement officials said the 62-year-old union boss had left his home in Lake Orion, Mich., for a meeting with Anthony Giacalone and New Jersey Teamsters boss and underworld figure Anthony "Tony Pro" Provenzano.
Giacalone died in February, facing federal indictment on fraud and racketeering charges. Provenzano died in prison in 1988.
The DNA tests, first reported by the Detroit News, are part of the FBI's ongoing probe. More than 70 volumes of evidence, much centering on the Provenzano crime family in New Jersey, have been amassed in the case.
The FBI's massive original investigation failed to lead to Hoffa's body, although law enforcement officials believe he was taken from outside the restaurant and killed at another location.
Officials have described Mr. O'Brien, who was raised by the Hoffa family, as the only person who could have persuaded Hoffa to enter the car.
Federal investigators have said they do not believe Mr. O'Brien knowingly was a part of any conspiracy to kill Hoffa. But after the union boss was lured into the car by those who intended him harm, he did not tell the truth about his role or his knowledge of what happened to the man who raised him.
Investigators believe Hoffa was killed at a private residence near the restaurant.
Targeted by authorities as members of the suspected assassination team were Teamsters business agent Salvatore "Sally Bugs" Briguglio, his brother Gabriel and Thomas Andretta, another Teamsters business agent.
Federal officials have said the murder was arranged by Provenzano, acting on the orders of Pennsylvania crime boss Russell Bufalino, who was in Detroit the day of Hoffa's disappearance to attend the wedding of his niece. Bufalino died in 1994.
At the time, Hoffa was on parole after his release from prison three years earlier. He was trying to regain control of the Teamsters from Frank Fitzsimmons, a former protege turned adversary.
Agents have again interviewed Mr. O'Brien, although FBI officials declined to comment on the inquiry or the DNA tests. FBI officials have met on the case over the past several months, authorities said.
Hoffa's son, James P. Hoffa, who now heads the Teamsters, yesterday told reporters during a New York news conference that the discovery of the hair strand was a "breakthrough."
"We should bring to justice those people who are responsible for my father's disappearance," he said. "The family seeks closure on this important issue, which has torn our family apart."
Mr. O'Brien, who now lives in Memphis, Tenn., was not available yesterday for comment. James Burdick, the Detroit-area attorney who represented him in the case, told reporters he did not believe his former client was involved in any conspiracy against Hoffa.
"Chuckie spoke reverently about [Hoffa] all the time," Mr. Burdick said. "He took Chuckie and his mother in, clothed and fed them. If [Mr. O'Brien] had been unwittingly involved, he would have been unconscious with grief."


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