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

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Judge to question trial jurors about recent mob murder


A federal judge said he would individually question the 15 jurors in the federal racketeering trial of seven alleged Philadelphia mobsters when court resumes Tuesday to see if they have been exposed to news coverage of this week's apparent mob hit that killed Gino DiPietro.

The shooting of DiPietro, 50, just before 3 p.m. Tuesday in South Philadelphia, brought an element of surprise to the trial of Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi and six underlings as it ended its eighth week of testimony with the conclusion of the federal prosecutors' case.
The jurors were not present in court on Thursday, a day reserved for lawyers for the seven alleged mobsters to argue motions for judgments of acquittal, a usual move once the prosecution's case has ended. U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno said he would rule on the motions on Tuesday when the trial resumes.

But before judge and lawyers ended Thursday's trial session, Ligambi's lawyer, Edwin Jacobs, brought up the DiPietro killing and how it might affect the trial jury.

Jacobs told Robreno he was worried because DiPietro's name had been mentioned in trial testimony and various media reports were speculating on a link between the shooting and the trial.

"I think it's incumbent upon the court to say something about being exposed to this," Jacobs said.

Despite weeks of testimony, DiPietro's name may very well be familiar to jurors. One of the last wiretapped conversations prosecutors played for the jury involved DiPietro and the speaker the jurors heard was Ligambi co-defendant Damion Canalichio.

It was Robreno who suggested that he call the jurors individually into his chambers as they arrive on Tuesday morning to determine if they knew anything about DiPietro's killing and, if they did, whether they could still fairly consider the evidence against the seven.

Organized-crime expert George Anastasia, a former veteran Inquirer reporter now blogging about the Ligambi trial for the Internet site BigTrial.net, said that if DiPietro's slaying is linked to the Philadelphia mob or any of the seven defendants, it would undercut the defense's theory of the case: a nonviolent, modern organized crime family far removed from the storied days of violence and hitmen.

Anastasia said DiPietro, a convicted drug dealer, was rumored to be cooperating with law enforcement. Philadelphia police are questioning reputed mob soldier, Anthony Nicodemo, 41, about the shooting although Nicodemo has not been charged.
Assuming there are no significant problems arising from jurors exposed to the news reports about the shooting, Robreno said the defense would begin its case late Tuesday morning. Based on the defense lawyers' assessments, Robreno said he expected the defense cases might end as early as Wednesday afternoon.

After the end of testimony, the jurors would hear closing arguments from the prosecution and defense lawyers, get instructions in the law from Robreno and then begin deliberating on a verdict.

http://www.realdeal-forum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=24888&p=312860#p312860


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