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

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Philly mob boss turns down sweet plea deal from feds and gears up for trial

Reputed Philly mob boss Jo​seph “Skinny​ Joey​” Merlino is gearing up for battle in a massive racketeering case brought by Manhattan federal prosecutors, ​turning down a sweet deal from the feds and hiring a big-shot lawyer, The Post has learned.

Merlino hired Meringolo — who has represented ​former ​Gambino boss John “Junior” Gotti and acting capo Greg DePalma — because he plans to take his case to trial despite a ​plea offer that could have left him with less than two years​ prison time​, sources ​said.Merlino, ​55, ​whose expensive suits and Rolls Royce are reminiscent of a bygone era, hired mob lawyer and Pace University law professor John Meringolo on Tuesday, court papers show.

Merlino, who also lives part-time in Boca Raton, Fla., has rolled the dice on trials before and won, including charges that he murdered an associate in 1996 for being disloyal.

If he losses this​ ​time, he face​s​ as much as 20 years ​behind bars​.

The accused head of the Philadelphia Crime Family was rounded up last year in a massive bust that snared 46 accused ​wiseguys from four out of the five major crime families, including reputed Genovese capo and Arthur Ave. restaurateur Pasquale “Patsy” Parrello.

The vast majority of the defendants, including Parrello, already ​copped ​to light plea deals earlier this year amid concerns about evidence in the case.

Merlino, by contrast, is “betting the government doesn’t want anyone to know what really went on” with the evidence in question, one source said.

As The Post first reported in March, prosecutors have warned that two FBI agents and a supervising agent in the case were being probed internally about their interactions with a key witness.

The witness, Genovese associate John Rubio, worked for Merlino after getting permission from Parrello, his former boss, the feds have said.

Another source said Merlino is just worried that if he pleads guilty to illegal gambling in exchange for a reduced sentence, the feds will recharge him in Florida or New Jersey where some of the illegal sports betting allegedly occurred.



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