Monday, June 18, 2007

Spilotro's Daughter to Testify at Family Secrets Mob Trial

Friends of ours: Tony Spilotro, James Marcello, Joseph Lombardo, Frank Schweihs
Friends of mine: Michael Spilotro

The daughter of executed mobster Michael Spilatro will testify that the day her father disappeared, he received two calls from James Marcello of Lombard, the man prosecutors call the head of the Chicago Outfit, it was revealed in court today.

Michelle Spilatro’s identification of Marcello in a “voice line-up” was being opposed by Marcello’s attorney, Marc Martin, who called an expert in court to testify that the way the lineup was conducted was faulty and was suggestive to her that she identify Marcello.

Martin is opposing the use of the identification for use at trial. U.S. District Judge James Zagel held off on ruling on its admissibility after a hearing today.

Prosecutors contend Anthony and Michael Spilatro were lured to a DuPage area home - reportedly near Bensenville - and beaten to death on June 14, 1986. Their bodies were later found in an Indiana corn field.

That day, prosecutors said Michelle Spilatro will testify, she answered two calls from Marcello asking to talk to Michael Spilatro. They said she will also testify that she heard Marcello’s voice around 80 times over several years that way, and is “100 percent” certain it was Marcello who called that day.

Prosecutor Marcus Funk also intimated through questions of the defense witness that Michelle Spilatro can clearly ID Marcello’s voice because she at one point recognized it in a phone conversation and confirmed with him that he was the man who always called for her father.

Defense attorneys contend Michelle Spilatro cannot possibly identify the voice because she was asked to perform the voice lineup more than three years after the day her father was murdered.

Jury selection begins Tuesday in the mob case, which features not only defendant Marcello, but such legendary mob figures as Joey “The Clown” Lombardo and Frank Calabrese, Sr. Also Friday, Zagel granted a motion from lawyers for Frank “The German” Schweihs to release him from trial for now because he is severely ill and under the care of a doctor. Schweihs reportedly has cancer.

Opening arguments in the case are expected to begin June 25.

Thanks to Rob Olmstead

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