Thursday, April 19, 2007

U.S. Marshal Coerced to Reveal Leaks Regarding Mob Informant?

Friends of ours: Nick Calabrese, John "No Nose" DiFronzo, Joey "The Clown" Lombardo
Friends of mine: John Ambrose

A deputy marshal accused of leaking sensitive information about a valuable mob informant is claiming that Chicago's U.S. attorney and FBI chief coerced statements from him.

John Ambrose is asking that a judge toss out statements he made last September to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and Chicago's FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Grant. Ambrose claims he was pressured into talking and was never read his rights.

"I felt extreme pressure because of . . . the stature of the men who were confronting me and the intimidating nature of the confrontation," Ambrose wrote in a court-filed affidavit. "The pressure was so extreme that my body was shaking and my mind was racing."

Ambrose, 38, was charged in January with theft of information after the government said he leaked confidential material about protected mob witness Nick Calabrese to "Individual A." Calabrese will be a top government witness in this June's Operation Family Secrets mob trial. Ambrose watched Calabrese in a brief stint with witness protection. The feds say the information Ambrose leaked about Calabrese made its way to the mob.

Last September, Ambrose said he was told to come to the FBI to talk about white supremacists and fugitives. Once there, Grant and Fitzgerald allegedly accused him of compromising the government and pushed him to talk.

At one point, Ambrose claims Fitzgerald referenced his father, Thomas, who was convicted in the Marquette 10 cop corruption case. "I told Mr. Fitzgerald that they took a cheap shot bringing my father into this," Ambrose wrote.

Ambrose said Grant told him to "think of your family. Think of your job. You don't want to go to prison."

He alleged Fitzgerald told him: "You've got two choices, either fill in the blanks and cooperate, or possibly face charges and lose your job." Ambrose claims he talked because he felt he "had no choice."

The government has claimed that Ambrose gave conflicting statements. They say in one he admitted giving sensitive information to a third party, who knew reputed mobster John "No Nose" DiFronzo. Ambrose allegedly said he hoped DiFronzo's "good will" would help him capture onetime mob fugitive Joey "The Clown" Lombardo. In another interview, Ambrose allegedly denied intending to pass information to DiFronzo or mob members.

Spokesmen for the FBI and U.S. attorney's office declined to comment. Prosecutors are expected to respond in future court filings.

Thanks to Natasha Korecki

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