Monday, July 30, 2007

Talarico Brothers Choose Sides at Mob Trial

Friends of ours: Michael Talarico, Frank Calabrese Sr., Nicholas Calabrese, Angelo "The Hook" LaPietra
Friends of mine: Al Talarico

In the Family Secrets mob trial in Chicago, a brother has testified against a brother, and a son has testified against a father. But in recent days, the trial has revealed another family twist.

Bookmaker Michael Talarico took the stand against Frank Calabrese Sr., who ran the street crew that made Talarico pay a "street tax."

Days later, another Talarico family member -- civil attorney Al Talarico, Michael's brother -- entered the courtroom and promptly sat a few feet away from Calabrese Sr. He sat on a courtroom bench and started taking notes, whispering comments to Calabrese Sr.

Al Talarico even wanted to enter the case officially on Calabrese Sr.'s behalf, but Judge James Zagel denied his request. Calabrese Sr. already has one lawyer, defense attorney Joseph "The Shark" Lopez.

Lopez, normally a font of quotes for inquiring reporters, declined to comment on Al Talarico's appearance. Lopez cited a gag order the judge has imposed. Lopez, though, appears to have grown increasingly irritated by Talarico's presence. Lopez now has his client and Talarico whispering advice to him at trial.

Calabrese Sr. may need all the help he can get. He is accused of murdering 13 people for the mob. His brother, alleged Outfit killer Nicholas Calabrese, and his eldest son have testified against him.

Michael and Al Talarico are nephews of the late mob boss Angelo "The Hook" LaPietra, a brutal killer who ran the 26th Street/Chinatown crew to which Calabrese Sr. belonged.

Al Talarico could not be reached for comment Friday. He has done civil work for the Calabrese family involving real estate, records show. One deal involved a home that the feds contended Calabrese Sr. stole from a man who owed him thousands of dollars in juice loans.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

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