The Chicago Syndicate: Feds Rest Their Case at Family Secrets Trial
The Mission Impossible Backpack

Monday, August 13, 2007

Feds Rest Their Case at Family Secrets Trial

Federal prosecutors rested their case Monday at the racketeering trial of alleged mob boss Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo and four other reputed members of the Chicago underworld.

U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel quickly denied requests by the defendants for immediate acquittal and began setting the stage for perhaps a week of defense witnesses -- including Lombardo himself -- at Chicago's biggest mob trial in years. "It's quite plain that all of these motions for acquittal at the end of the government's case must be denied and I deny them," Zagel said.

Besides the 78-year-old Lombardo, those on trial are James Marcello, 65, Frank Calabrese, 69, Paul Schiro, 70, and Anthony Doyle, 62.

They are charged with operating Chicago's organized crime family -- known as the Chicago Outfit -- as a racketeering enterprise that included gambling, extortion, loan sharking and 18 long-unsolved murders.

Among those murdered was Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, for years the mob's man in Las Vegas and the inspiration for the Joe Pesci character in the movie "Casino." He and his brother Michael were beaten and strangled in 1986 and buried in an Indiana cornfield.

Lombardo plans to take the witness stand in his own defense sometime this week, attorneys said. Defense attorneys for Calabrese and Doyle did not rule out the possibility that their clients also could testify.

Lombardo's defense is based on the claim that, after serving years in prison for attempting to bribe a U.S. senator and involvement in Las Vegas casino skimming, he swore he would never take part in any further crimes.

Zagel said he would allow Lombardo to talk about his withdrawal from a life of crime despite grumbling from prosecutors that it amounted to letting him vouch for his own good behavior.

On cross examination, prosecutors are guaranteed to ask him why he went on the lam for months after the indictment was unsealed. He was arrested after FBI agents cornered him in an Elmwood Park alley.

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