The Chicago Syndicate: Family Secrets Jury to be Anonymous
The Mission Impossible Backpack

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Family Secrets Jury to be Anonymous

Friends of ours: Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, Tony "The Ant" Spilotro
Friends of mine: Michael Spilotro

An anonymous jury will be seated in the upcoming trial of reputed Chicago mob leaders accused of taking part in a racketeering conspiracy that included 18 murders, a federal judge said today.

"I do intend to empanel an anonymous jury," Judge James B. Zagel said at a hearing in the case of Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo and 10 other reputed members of The Outfit -- Chicago's organized crime family.

Zagel refrained from saying why he decided to seat an anonymous jury. But he may have acted to insulate the jurors from outside pressures.

Some of the defendants could spend the rest of their lives in prison if convicted of taking part in the racketeering conspiracy.

Eight of the 11 defendants are charged with participating in a long-running conspiracy involving 18 murders, including those of Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, The Outfit's one-time man in Las Vegas, and his brother, Michael. The Spilotro brothers were beaten and buried in an Indiana corn field in June 1986.

Besides the eight charged with racketeering conspiracy, the indictment names three other defendants on gambling charges.

Originally, 14 people were charged in the case. One was found dead when FBI agents went to arrest him. Another has since died. A third isn't going on trial, but is expected to be the government's star witness.

The defendants have pleaded innocent and jury selection for their trial is scheduled to begin June 5. That could be postponed if pretrial skirmishing now before a federal appeals court is dragged out.

Thanks to Mike Robinson

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