Giovanelli began as a small time criminal who had participated in loansharking, bookmaking, and illegal gambling. After becoming Capo in the Genovese crime family he aligned with the family's skippers, including boss Vincent Gigante. Giovanelli claimed Gigante was "the biggest cheater" he knew at card games.
In 1985, Giovanelli was taped having a coversation with Brooklyn Democratic party leader, Meade Esposito, which eventually lead to corruption charges against Esposito and Representative Mario Biaggi of the Bronx.
On January 21, 1986, 34 year old undercover NYPD officer Anthony Venditti was shot twice in the head and killed while following Giovanelli with his partner Kathleen Burke during an investigation. Giovanelli was charged with the murder. Burke tesitified that Giovanelli had shot at her, though Giovanelli denied she was a witness to the scene.
The first trail in the summer of 1987 ended in deadlock after Burke was combative and testy under the defense lawyers' questioning. The second trail in 1988 also ended in deadlock after a major prosecution witness withdrew the part of his testimony in which he had said Mr. Gualtiere was one of the gunmen who had killed Detective Venditti.
In 2005, Giovanelli began serving a 10 year sentence for obstruction of justice after alerting DeCavalcante members in 1999 that they were about to be indicted.
Giovanelli died on January 19, 2018 at the age of 84 after a battle with illness.