He came to say goodbye to his life in La Cosa Nostra after 40 years and, if he could, bury a few bodies - his successor, Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, and six co-defendants on trial for federal racketeering charges.
Natale is the first U.S. mob boss to rat on members of his crime family, who betrayed him.
Natale called his four decades with La Cosa Nostra a "descent into hell," but appeared to relish talking about his exploits:
* How, as a corrupt union leader, he stuck a .38 into the ribs of rival George Feeney in a crowded bar and took him to the Downtown Club, where Feeney hit Natale's pal in the face and Natale "grabbed a gun and shot [Feeney] twice in the face."
* How he lured another rival, Joey McGreal, out for a Christmas drink, then "shot him three times in the head."
His epiphany came in July 1999 when he walked into Camden federal court to be arraigned on drug conspiracy charges.
"I looked at my wife and three children and saw what I had caused them - the anxiety and hurt - and decided this was the last time.
"I gave all my life to La Cosa Nostra. No matter where I am in the future, in prison or wherever, I'm going to give the rest of my life to my family," he said. "No more La Cosa Nostra."
After serving nearly 16 years in federal prison from 1979-1994 for an arson-for-hire scheme and drug trafficking, Natale faced a life sentence if convicted of the 1999 drug charges.
He had been returned to prison a year earlier on parole violations for associating with the crime figures he now repudiates.
If he lies now, after cutting a deal with the government, he says, he faces eight life sentences for the eight murders he admitted.
Natale, who resembles his mob nickname "Gandhi," was anything but peace-loving.
As head of a gang of arsonists for hire, Natale burned down a furniture store in an insurance scam, and a delicatessen because its owner didn't pay back a loan fast enough.
As a corrupt union leader, he dreamed of turning a 1,500-member bartender local into the 20,000-member local it is today - a golden goose he could pluck thousands of dollars via kickbacks from health and welfare and pension plans and sweetheart labor contracts.
He said the late mob boss Angelo Bruno was his crime partner in skimming union profits, and other crimes.
Atlantic City was going to be Las Vegas East, he said Bruno told him. "If we controlled the restaurant and hotel workers, we could control the casinos."
In prison, he met mobsters from crime families across the counry. He dreamed of bigger things, taking control of La Cosa Nostra in the early 1990s, with a cellmate half his age, Joey Merlino.
"You bring the men together. We'll put our La Cosa Nostra together," Natale said he advised Merlino. "Who cares whether we have a button, we'll make ourselves."
Through Merlino, at McKean federal prison, Natale said he met co-defendants Steve Mazzone, George Borgesi, Marty Angelina, the late Michael Ciancaglini and Gaeton "Horsehead" Scafidi, now a cooperating witness.
Natale said "the kids" visited him at various prisons, plotting a mob takeover and developing a hit list of whom to kill.
At the top of the list was mob boss John Stanfa. He advised them that Stanfa was not a legitimate boss because he was born in Sicily and conspired to kill Bruno in 1980. Then jailed, Natale urged Merlino and Ciancaglini to kill Stanfa before Stanfa killed them.
Natale was proved right: Ciancaglini was killed and Merlino wounded in a 1993 mob war.
In 1994, Natale was released from prison. He later met two other co-defendants, Ciancaglini's brother, John, and Frank Gambino, who he knew from South Philly.
Merlino once recounted the 1989 shooting of Nicky Scarfo, Jr., son of jailed mob boss Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo, Natale said. Merlino test-fired the gun and nearly ran out of ammo while Michael Ciancaglini drove.
Then, Merlino shot the young Scarfo several times, Natale said. Scarfo survived.
Because Merlino tried to kill the son of a mob boss, he was shunned by other crime families, Natale said.
So Merlino initiated Natale, he said, and became his underboss, the no. 2 job in the mob.
Natale said he promoted Mazzone from capo to consigliere, Borgesi from soldier to capo, while John Ciancaglini, Angelina and Gambino remained soldiers.
Natale gave his underbosses murder contracts to carry out. He said Merlino's job was to handle the details, lining up hit men, crash cars and weapons.
Among the murders plotted was that of Stanfa ally, Felix Bocchino, who was shaking down Merlino's uncle, and James "Jimmy Brooms" Diaddorio, both of whom were bad-mouthing Natale and Merlino, Natale said.
When Natale's parole was revoked in 1998, he expected Merlino to take care of him and his family.
Now jailed three years, Natale said, "I imagine it was their greed that kept them from sending me money." *
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