Friday, February 10, 2006

Is The Clown too broke to hire lawyer?

Friends of ours: Joey "the Clown" Lombardo

Does The Clown have the cash? That's the question facing a federal judge this morning in Chicago as he determines whether reputed top mobster Joseph "The Clown" Lombardo has the money to pay his prominent defense attorney Rick Halprin, or whether the public will pay for his defense. Halprin said his client is all but broke, receiving only $652 a month in Social Security before he went on the lam about eight months ago.

Lombardo, 77, charged in the most significant mob racketeering case in Chicago history, was arrested last month hiding out in Elmwood Park.

Prosecutors, though, put The Clown in Paris, not poverty. Prosecutors Mitchell A. Mars and John J. Scully note Lombardo traveled to France in July 2002 for 10 days, shortly after his parole ended in another criminal case.

Even though Lombardo was divorced from his wife in 1992, prosecutors suggest it was nothing more than a ruse to hide his assets, noting his wife sold $4.5 million in Florida property in 2003. And when Lombardo was arrested, the prosecutors said, he had $3,000 in cash, suggesting he had ready access to cash.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

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