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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk ZeoBandit's Avatar
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    Default Big Chicago mob trial promises to be a hit

    Big Chicago mob trial promises to be a hit
    POSTED: 11:06 a.m. EDT, June 18, 2007
    Story Highlights
    Biggest mob trial in years set to begin in Chicago
    Indictments were result of FBI's Operation Family Secrets
    Indicted are bosses James Marcello, Frank Calabrese Sr. and Joseph Lombardo
    Former CIA leak prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald heads U.S. Attorney's office

    CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- 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.

    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."

    Reputed top mob bosses head the list of defendants -- James Marcello, Frank Calabrese Sr. and wisecracking Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo. Four co-defendants include a retired Chicago police officer, Anthony Doyle.

    All have pleaded not guilty.

    Another defendant, alleged extortionist Frank "The German" Schweihs, has been tentatively dropped from the trial for health reasons.

    Accardo, the notorious mob boss whose home was hit by the burglars, died in 1992 at age 86. He boasted that he never spent a night in jail.

    The case has already made the kind of headlines that might seem the stuff of novels and movies. A federal marshal assigned to guard a star witness was charged with leaking information about his whereabouts to organized crime. The marshal has pleaded not guilty.

    That witness -- Nicholas Calabrese, brother of Frank Calabrese Sr. -- knows four decades of mob history from the inside and really does have a link to the movies. He is expected to testify against his brother.

    Nicholas Calabrese pleaded guilty to several counts in May and admitted that he took part in 14 mob murders including that of Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, known as the Chicago Outfit's man in Las Vegas.

    Spilotro, who inspired the character played by Joe Pesci in the movie "Casino," and his brother were beaten to death and buried in an Indiana cornfield in 1986.

    Lombardo, 78, and Schweihs disappeared after the indictment was unsealed in 2005, setting off an intense FBI manhunt.

    Crime buffs speculated that Lombardo was hiding out in the hills of Sicily or enjoying a life of ease in the Caribbean. In fact, after nine months on the run, FBI agents nabbed him in a suburban alley one frosty night in January 2006. Schweihs was captured deep in the Kentucky hill country in December 2005.

    The Clown lived up to his nickname later when he appeared before U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel, who inquired about the aging man's health and asked why he hadn't seen a doctor lately.

    "I was supposed to see him nine months ago, but I was -- what do they call it? -- I was unavailable," Lombardo rasped.

    In the 1980s, Lombardo was convicted in the same federal courthouse, along with then-International Brotherhood of Teamsters President Roy Lee Williams, of attempting to bribe Sen. Howard Cannon of Nevada.

    When Lombardo got out of prison he took out a newspaper ad denying that he was a "made guy" in the mob and disavowing any role in future organized crime activities.

    Lombardo defense attorney Rick Halprin scoffs at prosecutors' claims his client is a powerful organized crime leader. "Those things just aren't true," he said.

    Experts say the Chicago crime syndicate is so deeply entrenched that it won't be decapitated even if the government gets a clean sweep of convictions.

    Gus Russo, who describes the Chicago mob in his book "The Outfit," noted that the federal Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act has helped crime-busting prosecutors make progress against the mob.

    "But, regretfully, greed is such a part of our culture that you're always going to have a criminal element and it will organize," Russo said. "This will hurt the mob but it won't end it."

    The trial is expected to take four months. Among the security precautions, jurors' names are being kept secret and prosecutors say they have nine potential witnesses whose names have been kept secret out of concern for their safety.
    "What we are dealing with here, is a complete lack of respect for the law" - Jackie Gleason, Smokey and the Bandit

    www.geocaching.com - The site where you are the search engine.

  2. #2
    Atomic Punk smithjc's Avatar
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    I like the title of this thread but I hope it doesn't come true.

    God be with everyone involved with this one.
    RIP - Classic Van Halen

    "A lot of people take Van Halen more seriously than we do." The Diamond One



  3. #3
    Atomic Punk ZeoBandit's Avatar
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    http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=35023

    All 5 guilty in mob trial
    By Rob Olmstead | Daily Herald Staff Writer
    Published: 9/10/2007 2:44 PM

    For decades, Chicago mob bosses ran their operation with impunity - confident their cronies on various police agencies could be relied upon to cover things up.

    Monday, justice finally caught up to them.

    A federal jury found five men guilty of the most serious count against them: racketeering conspiracy.

    Convicted were James Marcello, of Lombard; Frank Calabrese Sr., of Oak Brook; Joseph "The Clown" Lombardo, of Chicago; Paul Schiro, of Phoenix; and Anthony Doyle, of Wickenburg, Arizona.

    Although all but Doyle were accused in the racketeering count of committing or assisting in murders, it is not yet clear if the jury believes those four took part in murder.

    The racketeering count simply means all twelve jurors believe the defendants took part in two instances of illegal mob-based activity - such as offering juice loans or bookmaking.

    The jury will now be sent back fill out a special verdict form asking which, if any, murders each defendant conspired to plan or actually committed. If any defendant is found guilty of participating in any murder, he faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

    Calabrese faces the most accusations of murder: 13 in all. Authorities had the most on him because they were able to turn his brother, Nicholas Calabrese, into their star witness after he slipped up on Sept. 14, 2006 and left a glove stained with his blood at the scene of the murder of mobster John Fecarotta.

    They also secured the cooperation of Frank Calabrese Jr., who wore a wire to record his father in prison. In those tapes, Calabrese appeared to brag about seven of the 13 murders of which he was accused.

    Lombardo was accused of killing Daniel Seifert on Sept. 27, 1974 because Seifert was going to testify against him in a Teamsters pension theft case.

    Marcello was accused of orchestrating and participating in the June 14, 1986 murders of mobsters Anthony and Michael Spilotro in the basement of a suburban home in either Bensenville or Wood Dale - authorities who took Nick Calabrese back years later to try to find the location never were successful.

    The Spilotros were killed after the mob grew nervous that Anthony Spilotro's high-flying antics were drawing too much attention to their activities in Las Vegas, where Anthony Spilotro worked. Michael Spilotro, prosecutors alleged, was killed solely because he was Anthony's brother and mob leaders couldn't risk him taking revenge. The two were beaten to death with hands and fists, a coroner's report said.
    "What we are dealing with here, is a complete lack of respect for the law" - Jackie Gleason, Smokey and the Bandit

    www.geocaching.com - The site where you are the search engine.

  4. #4
    Atomic Punk ZeoBandit's Avatar
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    http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=47229

    Three mobsters guilty in 10 of 18 murders
    By Rob Olmstead | Daily Herald StaffContact writerPublished: 9/28/2007 12:22 AM

    "There's one less Clown in the circus," said a triumphant Joseph Seifert Thursday, moments after Joseph "The Clown" Lombardo was found by a jury to have murdered his father.

    For Seifert, the finding by the jury that four mobsters committed at least 10 of the 18 murders they were accused of was especially sweet. His father, Daniel Seifert, was murdered at his Bensenville factory 33 years ago to the exact day of the verdict.

    For others, though, the partial findings of the jury were a bitter disappointment.

    As the verdict was read, Bob D'Andrea's face slowly grew redder and redder as his lips pursed tighter and tighter.

    The son of murder victim Nicholas D'Andrea, Bob D'Andrea was slowly realizing that the court clerk was not reading out his father's name as a murder the jury had decided unanimously was committed by Lombard mobster James Marcello.

    Nicholas D'Andrea's murder was one that the jury was split over as to whether there was enough evidence to say without a reasonable doubt the mobsters had committed.

    "I waited 26 years for this?" said the outraged D'Andrea outside the courtroom. "They might as well have stood up and said 'innocent.'"

    One victim's family member, a woman who arrived late for the reading of the verdict, collapsed on the floor in tears outside the courtroom when she was told the jury had rendered no verdict on the killing of her relative Paul Heggerty.

    What the jury's rationale was in the split verdict wasn't revealed; they declined to speak to the media after delivering their verdict. Their identities have been kept secret by U.S. District Judge James Zagel for their protection.

    Despite the partial verdicts Thursday, none of the men on trial are going free any time soon.

    Lombardo, Marcello, Paul Schiro of Phoenix and Frank Calabrese Sr. of Oak Brook were all convicted of racketeering.

    On Sept. 10, jurors found the five guilty of racketeering and have been debating since then -- with some vacation interruptions -- what murders alleged as part of that racketeering each of the four mobsters committed.

    While the murders were not a separate charge, a finding that the mobsters committed murder could enhance their sentences to life in prison.

    With the exception of Schiro, each of the four accused of committing murders was found to have done so at least once.

    Schiro had been accused of killing Emil Vaci in Phoenix on June 7, 1986. The jury reached no verdict as to whether Schiro committed that murder. Still, he faces up to 20 years in prison on the racketeering charge.

    The other defendants were not as lucky as Schiro.

    Calabrese Sr., for example, was found to have committed seven of the 13 murders of which he was accused.

    One of those guilty verdicts was for the murder of Michael Cagnoni, a trucking executive whose car was blown up June 24, 1981, on an on-ramp in Hinsdale. He was killed because he had stopped paying "street tax" to the mob, prosecutors said.

    As the clerk read the verdict on Cagnoni, Calabrese Sr. appeared to show a hint of the temper he had demonstrated during final arguments, when he burst out "Dem are lies!" as prosecutors spoke. Thursday, he managed to keep quiet, but bit his lower lip and scowled. He quickly hid the emotion, though, coolly sipping a cup of water after the clerk read that he had been found guilty of murdering Arthur Morawski in Cicero on July 23, 1983. Morawski's only offense toward Calabrese Sr. was that he happened to be with Richard Ortiz, the intended target of Calabrese's hit.

    Daniel Seifert's murder was the only one Lombardo had been been accused of. Poised on the edge of a court bench, Joseph Seifert sat tensely while he waited for the word. When it was read, Seifert's body slumped back in relief as relatives of other murder victims patted him on the hand.

    For his part, Lombardo had simply looked ahead toward the judge while the Seifert verdict was read, his head hung in his hand as if he was bored. But after the verdict reading moved on to Calabrese, The Clown looked over to the jury to deliver a murderous glare.

    Marcello was found to have committed two of the most notorious murders in mob lore, slayings defense attorneys called the "marquee" murders of the case: the killings of mobsters Anthony and Michael Spilotro inside a Bensenville or Wood Dale home. The exact location was never determined, but their bodies were taken to an Indiana cornfield where they were buried after their June 14, 1986, murders.

    The two were lured to the home with the promise of promotion within the mob, but as soon as they entered the basement, they were set upon by at least a dozen mobsters who beat and kicked them to death, testified Nick Calabrese, brother of Frank Calabrese Sr.

    His testimony was key, acknowledged Assistant U.S. Attorney Mitchell Mars, who prosecuted the case with John Scully and Markus Funk.

    But just as key were the tapes of Calabrese Sr. recorded by Frank Calabrese Jr., Mars said.

    Mars remarked that James Marcello and his brother Mickey had been caught on tape in prison speculating that Nick Calabrese's testimony alone wouldn't be enough to put them away, but he worried that an additional building block might do the trick.

    "They were right," said a happy Mars after the verdict was read.

    Despite his satisfaction with the findings, Mars and Chicago FBI chief Bob Grant were adamant that they had only hampered the Chicago Outfit Thursday with the verdict, not killed it.

    Grant noted that there are 28 known "made" mob members still roaming the streets and over 100 associates. He even speculated that there now might be further violence as those players jockey for power with the absence of their former leadership.

    "That's always an issue," Grant said.

    Marcello, prosecutors said when they indicted him, had been the head of the mob.

    In addition to the murders, the months-long trial illustrated other crimes that feed the mob, such as gambling and extortion of legitimate businesses.

    There was testimony that household-name businesses like Connie's Pizza and Celozzi-Ettelson Chevrolet were made to pay street tax.

    Although Nick Celozzi called the Daily Herald personally to deny that the mob had ever put the arm on him for street tax, recordings between Calabrese Sr. and his son mention collections from the dealership.

    The Elmhurst car giant was the same one made famous by its commercials that boasted, "Where you always save more money."
    "What we are dealing with here, is a complete lack of respect for the law" - Jackie Gleason, Smokey and the Bandit

    www.geocaching.com - The site where you are the search engine.

 

 

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