The Chicago Syndicate: Persico/DeRoss Trial Ends in Mistrial

Monday, November 06, 2006

Persico/DeRoss Trial Ends in Mistrial

Friends of ours: Colombo Crime Family, Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico, Carmine Persico, John DeRoss

After a five-week trial, a Brooklyn federal judge ordered a mistrial Friday in the racketeering case against reputed Colombo crime family mobsters Alphonse Persico and John DeRoss when the jury indicated it was deadlocked.

Judge Sterling Johnson terminated the trial after the panel, in its fifth day of deliberations, sent out a note about 2:30 p.m. saying it could not reach a verdict despite a final try at unanimity. "The jury is deadlocked on all counts. We take the opportunity to apologize to the court," jurors said in the note to Johnson.

Three women on the jury dabbed at their eyes with handkerchiefs as Johnson thanked all of them for their service. "Some matters can't be resolved," Johnson said in an apparent attempt to console those who were upset.

Sarita Kedia, Persico's attorney, said, "I had hoped for an acquittal given the evidence in this case, but it seems better than the alternative."

Persico, 52, who is known as "Allie Boy" and is the son of imprisoned legendary mobster Carmine Persico, once was considered by law enforcement officials to be the acting boss of the Colombo family. Since late September, he and DeRoss, 69, had been on trial on charges they were involved in the disappearance and presumed slaying of cohort William Cutolo in 1999. Cutolo was considered a rising star in the crime family when he vanished.

Persico and DeRoss also faced other charges involving crime family rackets. Both defendants remained in custody, as they already are serving sentences in other federal cases.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Seigel said he plans to pursue a retrial, which would not occur until 2007.

Strong indications of a mistrial emerged Thursday when a flurry of notes from the jury showed at least one juror didn't believe the various cooperating witnesses called by the government. Another note suggested three jurors were voting as a bloc, but it wasn't clear if they were for acquittal or conviction.

The mistrial was the second time recently that federal prosecutors in the city have been stymied in getting a conviction in a high-profile mob case. Last month, in federal court in Manhattan, a mistrial was declared in the racketeering trial of John A. Gotti, the son of the late Gambino crime boss John J. Gotti. It was the third mistrial in that case. The U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan said it would not seek another trial.

Thanks to Anthony M. DeStefano

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