06-25-2007, 01:16 AM #1
Mob Bosses Face Trial
Reputed Mob Bosses Face Trial for 18 Unsolved Murders
Monday , June 18, 2007
It seemed like a good idea at the time. A gang of burglars decided in December 1977 to break into the home of Tony Accardo, one of the most powerful men in organized crime history, and rob his basement vault.
Accardo was not amused.
Six men Accardo blamed for the heist were swiftly hunted down and murdered, according to papers filed by federal prosecutors in preparation for Chicago's biggest mob trial in years, scheduled to begin Tuesday.
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And that's only one of the grisly tales jurors are likely to hear at the trial stemming from the FBI's "Operation Family Secrets" investigation of 18 long-unsolved mob murders allegedly tied the Outfit, Chicago's organized crime family.
"This unprecedented indictment puts a hit on the mob," U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said in announcing the charges in April 2005. "It is remarkable for both the breadth of the murders charged and for naming the entire Chicago Outfit as a criminal enterprise under the anti-racketeering law."
Last edited by Jeana (DP); 06-27-2007 at 11:20 AM.
06-25-2007, 01:18 AM #2
Mob Trial Jury Selection Under Way
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Jury selection got under way Tuesday in the city's biggest organized crime trial in years, a racketeering conspiracy case that includes at least 18 slayings, among them a killing that inspired a character in the movie "Casino."
Alleged mobster Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo and four other men face charges stemming from the FBI's "Operation Family Secrets" investigation of long-unsolved mob murders allegedly tied to the Outfit, Chicago's organized crime family.
"This will hurt the mob," says Gus Russo, author of "The Outfit," and other books about organized crime. "But it won't end it."
"They always find a way to redefine themselves and bounce back," Russo said.
Last edited by Jeana (DP); 06-27-2007 at 11:21 AM.
06-25-2007, 11:19 PM #3
You know, when I was at Texas Children's Hospital, 23 years ago as a patient, I had the strangest thing happen. They have a great volunteer system. They brought this gift cart by the rooms every Monday and you could pick a huge gift for free. Like cabbage patch dolls or videos or games and stuff. Anyway, the other days, the volunteers would come to your room and take you to the play room or play games with you in your room. Keep in mind I was there for stays that lasted at least 6 months at a time. So anyway, this one man, a really tall, muscular older man, would play games with me and bring me extra toys and sit with me when my parents went to eat. One day out of the blue he started telling me how he was in the mob and hurt people and now he wants to help people that was why he was a volunteer. He told me about finding God and God would heal me. I don't know if I was more confused or scared, but I never mentioned it until now, and he never spoke of it again. I just wonder if he was in the witness protection program or something. I often think about it and wonder.
06-26-2007, 03:28 PM #4
06-26-2007, 03:29 PM #5
Chicago Mob Trial Opens Today
One of the Last Great Mafia Trials in a City Known for Colorful Criminals
By JIM AVILA and SCOTT MICHELS
June 21, 2007 —
Chicago's biggest mafia trial in years opened today, with five reputed mobsters accused of being involved in a string of long-unsolved brutal murders, including one that inspired the Martin Scorsese movie "Casino."
Dubbed the "family secrets" trial because it may pit brother against brother and son against father, it's being hailed as one of the last great mafia trials in a city known for its colorful criminals, which include Al "Scarface" Capone and Sam "The Cigar" Giancana.
Watch Jim Avila's report on "World News With Charles Gibson" Thursday
"This is not 'The Sopranos.' This is not 'The Godfather.' These are real people, very corrupt and without honor," Assistant U.S. Attorney John Scully told the anonymous jury in his opening statement Thursday.
Though not the end of the mafia, the case could be one of the last major trials of a dying breed of aging reputed mobsters -- men with nicknames like "Tony the Ant" and "Joey the Clown."
"This is the final death knell" for the mob, Joe Tacopina, a New York criminal defense attorney, told ABC News. "But the mob as we know it has been over for quite some time."
The defendants, alleged members or associates of "The Outfit," Chicago's crime organization, are accused of racketeering, conspiracy and murder in 18 unsolved slayings stretching back more than 35 years.
The notorious murders include the death of Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, who was tortured before he was buried alive in an Indiana cornfield in 1986. The killing was the inspiration for the 1995 Scorsese movie "Casino," with Joe Pesci playing Spilotro.
Prosecutors are expected to rely on several mob turncoats to seal their case -- a dramatic change from 15 or 20 years ago, when prosecutors struggled to find mafia informants who were willing to testify against their own.
"I know too many guys who got whacked," Frank Cullata, an admitted hitman and the government's star witness, told ABC News. "If they want to hate me, they have the right to hate me."
"I can't say I am any better than them or any worse than them. We both did terrible things," Cullata said. "I would just say that I made the right decision."
Reputed mob boss Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, 78; James Marcello, 65; Frank Calabrese Sr., 70; and Paul "The Indian" Schiro, 69, are all said to be the top members of "The Outfit." The fifth defendant is a retired Chicago police officer, Anthony Doyle, 62. All have pleaded not guilty.
In court Thursday, prosecutor Scully described the defendants as hardened killers, saying Calabrese strangled witnesses with a rope and cut their throats to make sure they were dead, The Associated Press reported.
Calabrese's brother and son are expected to testify for the prosecution. Calabrese's son, Frank Jr., allegedly wore a wire to secretly record conversations he had with his father while he was in prison.
But defense attorneys painted a very different picture of their clients. Calabrese's attorney, Joseph Lopez, told the jury that Calabrese was a religious man "who believes in peace" and loved his family.
Lombardo's attorney, Rick Halprin, defended his client. "When you're asking who is Joey Lombardo, he is not the head of the mob, and he is not who he is portrayed to be," Halprin told ABC News.
'A More Peaceful Mob'
The fight against the mafia today is not what it once was, said experts. Former Chicago FBI organized crime chief Lee Flosi said the bureau has focused more on fighting terrorism since Sept. 11.
The criminals have changed, too.
"It's a much more peaceful mob now than it was back in that era," Flosi told ABC News. "They want to ply their trade, make their money, live in the suburbs."
Defendants in the "family secrets" trial, though, fit the mold of flashy, colorful characters, with names like "Joey the Clown," "Frank the German," "Tony the Ant" and "Jimmy the Man." Joey Lombardo once took out a newspaper ad announcing he was no longer in the mob.
"He has this image. Some of it is due entirely to his demeanor," Halprin said. "He is funny."
Flosi, the former Chicago FBI agent, said, "If you rub it in law enforcement's face, they're going to give you the attention and then you're going to go to jail."
Racketeering Laws Key
State and federal racketeering laws have been the key to the mob's downsized influence, legal experts said.
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, referred to as RICO, allows prosecutors to attack an entire organization instead of prosecuting each individual crime. It provided for enhanced sentences for organized crimes.
The RICO statutes also make it easier to convict the heads of organized crime families, who may not themselves get their hands dirty, for the crimes of the organization.
"RICO has been critical. Many of crimes we solved would have been impossible for us to prosecute if it were not for the RICO statutes," said Jim Walden, a former federal prosecutor who handled mafia cases in New York. "It's incredibly effective and incredibly powerful."
Not the End
Still, the mob may be dying a slow death, and experts warn that organized crime is not going to disappear anytime soon.
"The mob's got a hundred year history," said Walden. "It's one of those organizations that, once you cut the head off, it grows a new head."
Flosi, the retired head of the FBI organized crime task force in Chicago, agreed. "When the heat is on, they change, they adapt," he said.
With reporting by Lauren Pearle, Elizabeth Tribolet, Hae Kim, Allison Battey, The Associated Press and the ABC News Law & Justice Unit.
Copyright © 2007 ABC News Internet Ventures
06-26-2007, 03:33 PM #6
06-26-2007, 03:37 PM #7
06-26-2007, 04:01 PM #8Registered User
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Wow, that's wild. I'll bet what he said was true.
I used to work with the a gal that was tied to the mob (where we live). Her uncle was the mob boss here. It was interesting and scaring listening to the stories she told. And through all this (even though her family eventually all went to prison) she still maintained that her family was only in the "produce business."
We had this area in our city that the mob just blew up (back in the mid 70's) over a turf war. I had another friend who was dating a mob guy and while they were at a bar, other mobsters came in and blew him away...with her not but a few feet from him. She was unharmed physically, but mentally she was over the edge.
I'd heard enough to stay a LONG way away from this bunch.
06-26-2007, 09:56 PM #9
Mob trial starts at the beginning: Al Capone
By Jeff Coen
Tribune staff reporter
June 26, 2007
It was Mob 101 in the Family Secrets trial Monday, and the prosecution's first witness started his history of the Outfit with its most notorious name: Al Capone.
With violence and savvy during the 1920s, Capone succeeded in uniting Chicago's underworld, which before Prohibition had been a morass of competing ethnic and racial groups, testified James Wagner, the president of the Chicago Crime Commission.
The five defendants on trial -- some of whom are accused of running the modern-day mob -- listened impassively, staring ahead or leaning over to whisper to their attorneys.
Wagner, a former FBI supervisor who spent his career investigating mobsters, testified with the tone of a college professor.
Capone and his organization figured out how to earn "vast sums of money" by catering to public demand for vices such as prostitution and gambling and then used that wealth in part to corrupt politicians, the legal system and law enforcement, Wagner said.
Last edited by Jeana (DP); 06-27-2007 at 11:22 AM.
06-26-2007, 10:01 PM #10
06-26-2007, 10:09 PM #11
Chicago mob trial opens with blood and gore details
CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago's biggest mob trial in years started Thursday with a prosecutor urging the jury to forget what they know about movie mobsters and see the now-elderly defendants for who they are: men who "committed brutal crimes on behalf of the Chicago Outfit."
"This is not The Sopranos. This is not The Godfather. These are real people, very corrupt and without honor," Assistant U.S. Attorney John Scully told the jury.
As Scully described a blood-drenched litany of murders, he showed the jury large photos of the victims.
He talked about Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, once the Chicago mob's man in Las Vegas and the inspiration for Joe Pesci's character in the movie Casino. Spilotro and his brother were allegedly lured into a basement and beaten to death, then buried in an Indiana cornfield.
Last edited by Jeana (DP); 06-27-2007 at 11:23 AM.
06-27-2007, 01:05 PM #12Registered User
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06-27-2007, 02:52 PM #13
06-27-2007, 02:54 PM #14
06-27-2007, 03:44 PM #15Registered User
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mitchel A. Mars asked Wemette why he didn't defy Schweihs and refuse to pay $1,100 a month he was demanding.
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“Something would happen to me,” Wemette testified.
“What were the consequences you feared?” Mars asked.
“I feared death,” Wemette said.
Remember the mob guy (I think it was the guy they've not found) that lost his son when a neighbor accidentally ran over him with his car? Not too long after that, the neighbor went missing or turned up dead.
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