Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Judge allows citing of violent history at upcoming Philly mob trial

The Philadelphia mob's history of violence will be part of the evidence presented to a jury at the racketeering trial of reputed boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi and nine codefendants, according to a 59-page legal opinion filed Tuesday by the federal judge presiding over the case.

Judge Eduardo Robreno also ruled that mob informant Louis "Bent Finger Lou" Monacello can testify about alleged acts of violence tied to codefendant George Borgesi, including Borgesi's reputed boast about his own involvement in 11 gangland murders.

"I'm a professional," Monacello has said Borgesi told him during a conversation in the late 1990s.

In his ruling, Robreno seemed to indicate that a controversial tape recording made at a North Jersey restaurant by a mob informant who subsequently killed himself could also be introduced as evidence, but he has not ruled definitively on that.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Labor, one of the prosecutors in the case, had likened the restaurant session to a "meeting of the board of directors of organized crime."

Robreno's rulings set the stage for the racketeering conspiracy trial, which begins with jury selection Oct. 9.

The judge said the conversations at that meeting and other references in the case to the violent history of the Philadelphia crime family established the organization's "reputation ... for using violence, threats, and intimidation to achieve its criminal objectives." And that, he ruled, "is relevant to explaining how the enterprise could effectively enforce its will upon others to carry out its extortionate moneymaking activities."

Defense attorneys had argued that evidence about the violent history of past mob leaders and specific uncharged acts of violence would create undue prejudice and deny defendants a fair trial.

The 52-count racketeering indictment is built primarily around charges of bookmaking, extortion, loan-sharking, and the operation of illegal video poker machines. Ligambi, 73, is also charged with defrauding a Teamsters Union health and welfare fund through a no-show job.

In addition to Borgesi, codefendants include alleged mob underboss Joseph "Mousie" Massimino, capos Anthony Staino and Joseph "Scoops" Licata, members Louis "Big Lou" Fazzini and Damion Canalichio, and associates Louis Barretta and Gary Battaglini.

Two other mob members, Martin Angelina and Gaeton Lucibello, have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.



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