Friday, August 24, 2007

Third Defendant Testifies at Mob Trial

Former Chicago police officer Anthony Doyle took the stand Wednesday to deny he ever helped the mob by passing along sensitive information about a mob murder.

Doyle, who was born Anthony Passafiume, is accused of using his position as an officer in the evidence room of the Chicago Police Department to check on the status of blood-soaked gloves worn by mobster Nick Calabrese in the slaying of John Fecarotta. What he found, prosecutors allege, is that the gloves had been turned over to FBI investigators, sealing Nick Calabrese's fate and forcing him down the road of mob informant. Feds have Doyle on video and audiotape visiting mobster Frank Calabrese Sr., Nick's brother, in prison. On the tapes, he tells the Calabrese one of the dates in the file on the gloves.

Doyle, being led through testimony by his attorney, Ralph Meczyk, began Wednesday to try to explain how that happened.

He is the third defendant in the mob conspiracy case to take the stand in his defense. The other two were Joseph Lombardo of Chicago and Frank Calabrese Sr. of Oak Brook. James Marcello of Lombard and Paul Schiro of Arizona are not expected to testify.

Doyle maintained that he knew Frank Calabrese Sr. since he was a young man and met him growing up. The two began an association based on a mutual love of athletics, Doyle said. Doyle hadn't seen Frank Calabrese Sr. for years when he began visiting a federal penitentiary in Milan, Mich., where another friend of Doyle's was incarcerated.

Doyle, apparently in an attempt to show he wasn't hiding anything in the visits, testified he had to fill out an application with the Bureau of Prisons, listing his employer, in order to visit.

Doyle's incarcerated friend mentioned his visit to Frank Calabrese Sr., who passed along word that he wanted to see his old friend, Doyle testified. "He'd (Calabrese) been my friend since I was a young boy. I thought maybe he was in need of a friend … so I agreed to go up and visit him in Milan," Doyle said.

Calabrese Sr. arranged for him to drive up with Mike Ricci, another former police officer indicted in the case. Ricci died of natural causes before trial.

Once at the prison, Doyle said, Calabrese Sr. and Ricci began speaking in a confusing lingo he didn't understand. "He spoke now more in some sort of a mind-boggling code," Doyle testified. But Meczyk didn't ask why Doyle never asked the two why they were speaking in code or what it meant.

Instead, he steered Doyle toward recalling why he looked up information on the gloves. Ricci, a fellow cop, had called and asked him for the information, Doyle testified. And why, then, did Doyle relay a date from the file to Calabrese, Sr. on a separate visit, Meczyk asked.

Ricci, Doyle claimed, asked Doyle to, saying Ricci had told Calabrese, Sr. once, but Calabrese Sr. believed Ricci was senile.

Meczyk will continue his questioning of Doyle today, and then prosecutors will cross-examine him.

Thanks to Rob Olmstead

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