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

Friday, November 9, 2012

Turncoat mob associate expected to testify at Philly trial today

Frank "Frankie the Fixer" DiGiacomo (left) secretly recorded conversations with Louis "Bent Finger Lou" Monacello.
A mob associate who turned government cooperator because he may have feared that Joseph Ligambi wanted him dead is expected to testify against the reputed mob boss and other ex-associates for the first time today.
Louis "Bent Finger Lou" Monacello, 46, is likely to spend at least a day on the witness stand describing for prosecutors what he knows and did for the Philadelpha mob. Then he'll likely spend just as long fending off cross-examination by lawyers for the 73-year-old Ligambi and six codefendants.
Monacello was on the other side of the courtroom after FBI agents arrested him and the others in May 2010. That roundup capped a decade-long investigation into extortion, loan-sharking and gambling by the local mob and set the stage for the racketeering trial that began in late October and could stretch to the end of the year.
Prosecutors once described Monacello as a "high-ranking associate" and leader of a crew run by one of the defendants, George "Georgie" Borgesi, a 49-year-old nephew of Ligambi's believed to run gambling and loan-shark operations in Delaware County. When Borgesi was jailed in another case, they said, Monacello ran his rackets and visited him in prison to deliver updates.
Monacello also allegedly served as a collector for the mob, directed by Ligambi directed to collect yearly "street tax" or "tribute payments" from South Jersey bookies between 2000 to 2007.
Besides describing those duties, Monacello, who began cooperating in 2010, could be asked to recount for jurors a conversation in which Borgesi allegedly bragged about his involvement in 11 murders.
Jurors are also likely to hear about disputes within the crime family that may have led to Monacello's decision to cooperate. In 2008, Monacello was convicted of solicitation of assault for trying to hire someone to kill Martin Angelina, a reputed captain, because he believed Angelina was collecting on debts owed to him.
Prosecutors have acknowledged Monacello's role as a cooperating witness, but it's not clear yet how he will benefit. He entered a guilty plea in July 2011, which for a time was sealed from public access by the trial judge, U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno.
Lawyers for all the defendants have tried to challenge the case as flimsy - more talk that actual violence, and much of it recorded by degenerate gamblers and informants trying to wrangle out of legitimate loans or their own criminal cases. Monacello inevitably faces those same accusations when cross-examination begins late Friday or next week.
"Lou Monacello had one thing in mind, and that was Lou Monacello," Borgesi's lawyer, Paul Hetznecker, said during opening statements.



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