Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Bad Cop Dies

Friends of ours: Frank Calabrese Sr.

A former Chicago police officer charged with conspiring with organized crime to commit 18 murders has died, his attorney said. Michael Ricci, 76, of Streamwood had been in a coma since undergoing heart surgery in November, said attorney John Meyer. Ricci died last week when his family chose to remove him from life support, Meyer said Monday.

Ricci was among 14 people charged with various crimes in an April 2005 indictment federal officials at the time described as the most far reaching they'd obtained against the Chicago mob. He and another retired police officer were accused of informing alleged mob figure Frank Calabrese Sr., also charged in the indictment, about possible mob members who helped federal investigators.

Ricci had pleaded not guilty and said at the time of the indictment that he had known Calabrese "as a person" since 1964. Meyer said Monday that a tape recording FBI officials made of a conversation between Ricci and Calabrese while Ricci visited Calabrese in federal prison proved only that the two men were good friends. "It's unfortunate that he had to die with this cloud hanging over his head," Meyer said. "Especially since he had a very winnable case."

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