The Chicago Syndicate: Chicago Outfit or Chicago Hope?
The Mission Impossible Backpack

Friday, November 17, 2006

Chicago Outfit or Chicago Hope?

Friends of ours: Frank Calabrese, James "Little Jimmy" Marcello, Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, Frank "The German" Schweihs

Like the old grey mare, the Chicago outfit isn't like it used to be.

"You are dealing with a bunch of old men. So they are going to have problems. I mean they are not unlike other senior citizens. They have problems," said Joe Lopez, Frank Calabrese's lawyer.

Defense attorneys noted in court Thursday that a number of the dozen or so remaining defendants in the "Family Secrets" case have a myriad of health problems, and they urged Uncle Sam to pick up the tab.

The outfit's aches and pains range from possible back surgery to new choppers. Calabrese has a bad back, needs an MRI and probably will have surgery. James Marcello needs dentures and is suffering from gum disease. Joe Lombardo has heart problems and Frank Schweihs is hard of hearing and needs hearing aids.

Calabrese's lawyer outlined his client's woes at the federal jail. "He's taking 15 pills a day, and its having an effect on him up there on 21 because he's very uncomfortable where he's at," Lopez said.

Meanwhile lawyer Rick Halprin argues that 77-year-old Joe Lombardo was not involved in any criminal conspiracy and never has been a member of the mob. In fact Lombardo once took out an ad in a newspaper denying any membership in the outfit. "There is no allegation in that indictment that Joe Lombardo is a made member or a boss or an underboss," Halprin said.

Some of the defendants claim they are not able to listen to or watch FBI video and audio tapes in jail due to poor equipment. They want occasional visits to their lawyers' offices to screen the material there.

Thanks to John "Bulldog" Drummond

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