'Mafia wife' sues 'Sopranos' for stealing life story

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Lynda Milito may or may not be selling us a phoney bill of goods. Yesterday she stood before reporters and claimed first that details of her life were stolen by the creators of the hit mafia television show, and second that her husband killed the former Teamsters union president, Jimmy Hoffa.

She said her husband, Louie Milito - once a soldier of the Gambino crime family - revealed in 1988 that he had killed Mr Hoffa and buried him beneath the foundations of the Verrazano Narrow's Bridge in New York. Mr Milito vanished soon after that.

As for her Sopranos claim, she said the similarities between her family and the fictional clan include the fact that they both had ducks in their swimming pools and both lived in suburban mansions. Her husband and Tony Soprano were both petrified of their overbearing mothers.

This comes as the sixth season of the popular series begins in the US. Ms Milito said she was suing HBO, the cable channel that made it, as well as the show's creator, David Chase, and its main screenwriter. "What do I want from them? Fair compensation," she said.

A spokesman for the cable channel said: "The Sopranos is wholly the creation of David Chase and his team of writers."

Ms Milito, who has written a book, Mafia Wife, is hardly the first to offer to unveil the secrets of Mr Hoffa, who vanished near Detroit in 1975.

Nonetheless, a Detroit police official said they would look into her claims just as they have other claims. FBI spokeswoman Dawn Clenney said. "We run these leads out to see if there's anything to them."

But Dave Corcyca, a Michigan prosecutor, was less impressed. "It seems like every three or four months some cockamamie story comes up."