Thursday, January 19, 2012

Joseph Scalise and Robert Pullia Plead Guilty

Reputed Chicago mobster Joseph Scalise pleaded guilty today on the eve of trial to plotting a series of strong-armed robberies, including an armored car heist and the holdup of the home of a deceased mob boss.

Scalise, 73, said after court that the offer from federal prosecutors was too good to refuse. He and co-defendant Robert Pullia, 70, who also pleaded guilty, both face about 9 to 10 years in prison under the deal. “I think we could have won at trial,” said a relaxed and smiling Scalise, 73. “You just got to be realistic.”

Scalise’s co-defendant, Robert Pullia, 70, also pleaded guilty, but a third defendant, Arthur Rachel, 73, plans to go ahead with a bench trial slated for Thursday before U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber.

Scalise and Pullia are scheduled to be sentenced May 10.

All three have convictions that stretch back to the 1960s and long, storied histories in Chicago.

Scalise and Rachel, both of whom have reputed ties to the Chicago Outfit, were convicted of robbing a London jeweler in 1980 of gems worth $3.4 million, including the 45-carat Marlborough diamond, which is still missing.

Outside court, Scalise remained coy about the gem’s whereabouts – hinting that the insurance company that covered its loss might be able to buy the answer. “If Lloyd’s wanted to pay enough money, maybe they could (find out where it is),” said Scalise, whose attorneys said is not cooperating with authorities.

Scalise, who has consulted with Hollywood producers on movie plots, also told reporters he was writing a book.

Pullia, meanwhile, left the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse without commenting but asked his attorney, Marc Martin, to make one statement to the court and reporters on his behalf. “Mr. Pullia is not cooperating,” Martin said.

Thanks to Annie Sweeney

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