Saturday, June 03, 2006

Accused Mobster Wants Out of Jail Before Trial

Friends of ours: Frank Calabrese Sr., James Marcello, Nick Calabrese, Frank Calabrese Jr.
Friends of mine: Robert Cooley

Frank Calabrese Sr. has been accused of killing 13 people in mob hits, but his attorney swears he's not a danger to society. So attorney Joseph Lopez is asking a federal judge to release Calabrese Sr., 69, from the Metropolitan Correctional Center while he awaits trial as one of the top mobsters charged in the most important recent criminal case filed against the Chicago mob, called Family Secrets.

Calabrese Sr. was in prison for running a loan-sharking operation when he was indicted last year in the Family Secrets case. With his sentence up in the old case, Calabrese Sr. wants out. He has been ordered detained on the current case.

In a filing submitted Thursday, Lopez points out that the murders charged in the current case are more than 20 years old. He argues that "there's no indication he will commit any crimes in the future." And Lopez says Calabrese Sr. has been an exemplary inmate while inside, including completing a GED program and parenting classes, receiving a diploma for attending Alcoholics Anonymous and getting an award from the warden of the federal prison in Milan, Mich., as well the town's chief of police and its mayor for taking part in a program that warns youths of the perils of a criminal life.

The filing by Lopez also points out that there are several other mob cases across the nation where alleged top mobsters were let out on bond. And he contends that another government witness used by federal prosecutors in the past, Robert Cooley, has pinned one of the murders charged against Calabrese Sr. on four other men, not Calabrese Sr.

Calabrese Sr.'s chances to get out appear slim. When a fellow defendant, alleged Chicago mob leader James Marcello, charged with three murders in the case asked for bond, the judge denied the request. And the evidence appears extensive against Calabrese Sr. His brother, Nick, is cooperating with the federal government and has admitted to committing multiple mob killings. Calabrese Sr.'s son, Frank Calabrese Jr., is also cooperating with the feds and put his life on the line by secretly recording his father in prison allegedly talking about participating in various mob hits.

The U.S. attorney's office declined to comment, but prosecutors are expected to oppose releasing Calabrese Sr. at a detention hearing.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

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