Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Lombardo May Still Head Chicago Mob

Friends of ours: Joey "the Clown" Lombardo

Joey Lombardo apparently was not clowning around while on the lam over the last several months. The feds picked up the mobster nicknamed ''the Clown'' over the weekend in west suburban Elmwood Park. As CBS 2's Mike Parker reports, Lombardo still appears to be calling the shots for the mob here.

CBS 2 News has learned that Lombardo is now being held at Chicago’s Metropolitan Correctional Center, in what authorities call "segregation." Lombardo is in a cell of his own and unable to mingle with the rest of the inmate population.

"It’s a constant fight between good and evil," said Jim McGough, organized crime expert. A veteran mob watcher and an expert in the outfit's infiltration of labor unions, McGough says he believes the feds want to protect Lombardo from his own kind. "To make sure he's not assassinated, killed because he does have secrets, which I don't expect him to reveal, but a dead witness for organized crime is a good witness," McGough said.

McGough says potential witnesses against Lombardo in his upcoming trial for more than a dozen unsolved mob murders are in more danger than "the Clown" himself. "One of the reasons Lombardo is going to be tried is for the murder of Daniel Seifert, who was going to be a witness against him in the teamsters’ pension scandal, and he was killed two days before his testimony," McGough said.

Crime experts believe Lombardo did not flee the country after his indictment because he is still a top man - perhaps the top man in the Chicago mob - and was making decisions while he was in hiding. "He knows who all the corrupt attorneys are or the corrupt judges or the corrupt politicians, where the money is, how to do this or that," McGough said.

Also Monday, the head of the Chicago crime commission said that for too long, TV and the movies have romanticized the mob. Former FBI Special Agent James Wagner believes that once Lombardo and his co-defendants go on trial, the public will be stunned by the brutal nature of their murders.

Lombardo’s lawyer said Tuesday’s bond hearing may be the shortest on record. He knows his client won't be released.

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