The Chicago Syndicate: Family Secrets Trial Highlights
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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Family Secrets Trial Highlights

June 18th - Jury selection begins.

June 20th - On the day the trail is set to start, Kurt Calabrese, the son of mob hit man Frank Calabrese Sr. finds what appears to be a bomb on his back porch. The device turns out to be fake.

June 21st - In opening statements, federal prosecutors lay out the details in the deaths of 18 men and women allegedly slaying by The Outfit. "This is not 'The Sopranos,' This is not 'The Godfather.' This case is about real people, real victims," said Assistant U.S. Attorney John Scully.

June 26th - Jurors hear secret tape recordings between reputed mobster Frank "The German" Schweihs and the owner of an adult book store. The recordings are full of threats and profanities as Schweihs makes it clear the bookstore owner shouldn't be paying any other mobsters who want street tax payments.

June 29th - The widow of Daniel Siefert, a businessman gunned down in front of his young child, testifies that she believes the masked gunman who killed her husband is mobster Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo. The woman's husband was to be a federal witness.

July 3rd - Bookmaker Joel Glickman decides not to testify against reputed Outfit hit man Frank Calabrese Sr. It will mean a prison stay of several months for Glickman. "I respectfully refuse to testify," Glickman told the court when asked whether he ever had to pay a street tax to Calabrese Sr.

July 4th - Frank Calabrese Jr., testifies that his father threatened him with a gun. "He stuck it in my face and told me, 'I'd rather have you dead than disobey me,'" he told jurors. Calabrese Jr. is a star witness in the Chicago trial.

July 10th - Frank Calabrese Jr. testifies about the slaying of the Spilotro brothers and how Tony threatened his attackers. "Tony put up a fight. He kept saying, 'You guys are going to get in trouble, you guys are going to get in trouble.'" The bodies of the Spilotro brothers were found buried in an Indiana cornfield.

July 11th - Riveting secret conversations were played for jurors of Frank Calabrese Sr. discussing who was the rat in his mob crew. The evidence points to his own brother. In the tapes, Calabrese Sr. also talks about the hit on Spilotro and that one of his sins was sleeping with the wife of mob associate Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal.

July 13th - Frank Calabrese Jr., the son of reputed hit man Frank Calabrese Sr. testified that he loves his father but not his "Outfit" ways. Calabrese Jr. is a star witness in the federal case against his father.

July 16th - When a mobster says he wants to collect "a recipe" for him, he's talking code to get someone to muscle a victim for street tax payments. Jurors got a taste of mobspeak during today's testimony.

July 18th - Hitman Nicholas Calabrese implicates a close friend of Chicago Mayor Daley's as taking part in a restaurant bombing 20 years ago.

July 19th - The mob hit of Anthony "Tony the Ant" Spilotro and his brother, Michael, were detailed by Outfit hit man Nicholas Calabrese. The hits took place in the basement of a Chicago home. Spilotro and his brother were lured there with the promise of mob promotions.

July 20th - Killer Nicholas Calabrese called himself a "coward" on the witness stand as he spilled the Outfit's family secrets.

July 24th - Pat Spilotro visited Nicholas Calabrese in prison and asked what his brothers, Anthony and Michael, did wrong to deserve getting killed.

July 30th - Bookmaker Michael Talarico took the stand against former mob boss Frank Calabrese, Senior. Talarico says Calabrese made him pay a "street tax."

Days after Michael testified, his brother, civil attorney Al Talarico sat in as counsel for Calabrese. Talarico originally requested to be Calabrese's lawyer, but was denied.

Calabrese's lawyer is defense attorney Joseph "The Shark" Lopez. Calabrese is accused of murdering 13 people during his mob career.

July 31st - Anatomy of a Skim: Prosecutors in Chicago say former mobster Paul "The Indian" Schiro may be tied to an Arizona murder and casino skim. Authorities say Schiro along with hitman Nicholas Calabrese took part in the murder of Emil Vaci.

Vaci testified to a grand jury in Las Vegas about the disappearance and presumed murder of slot-skimmer George Jay Vandermark. Vandermark oversaw the mob-run skim at the slots at the former Stardust casino.

Calabrese testified against Schiro, saying they both played a part in the murder.

Aug. 3rd - The former mistress of top Chicago mob boss James Marcello turned against him on the stand Thursday.

During the Family Secrets trial Thursday, the daughter of Michael Spilotro also tied Marcello to her father's brutal murder in 1986. Attorneys for Marcello questioned why Spilotro's daughter didn't mention this key fact to the FBI after the murders.

Michael Spilotro and his brother were both killed in the hit. Another Spilotro brother, Patrick, is expected to testify Monday about what he knows about the Chicago outfit mob.

The Spilotro brothers' murders were featured in the Hollywood movie "Casino."

Aug. 6th - Some Chicago police brass took payoffs from mob burglars, according to new testimony Monday in the Family Secrets mob trial.

As CBS 2's John "Bulldog" Drummond reports, the eye-opening testimony came from Sal Romano, a dog-loving career burglar who was whisked from Federal court by the FBI.

Romano learned the tools of the burglar trade as a youngster in Chicago.

Romano began co-operating with the government 30 years ago and closed his career as an informant with a $40,000 bonus in 1987. He specifically named the one-time chief of detectives William Hanhardt and policemen at areas five and six.

Other than the convicted Hanhardt, Romano did not name any specific cops as wrong-doers.

Romano on Monday implicated defendant Paulie "The Indian" Schiro in burglaries and other crime in Las Vegas.

Romano himself was the target of a planned gangland assassination ordered by Las Vegas crime boss Tony Spilotro and his henchmen Frank "Far-Away Frank" Cullotta.

Aug. 7th - A career burglar with ties to the mob testified Tuesday about his corrupt connection with police and attorneys in the Chicago mob trial.

Sal Romano who worked under Anthony Spilotro says he indirectly bribed police through Chicago attorneys in several mob operations. Romano also discussed his work in Las Vegas with a variety of career criminals.

He says he worked with Spilotro, who was killed in 1986, and Paul "The Indian" Schiro, another defendent in the trial. While on the stand, Romano also confessed to several robberies and home invasions during his mob career.

Aug. 9th - A notorious mobster is set to take the stand next week in the Family Secrets trial.

Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo will take the stand in his own defense next Monday. He's accused of taking part in the 1974 shotgun murder of businessman Daniel Seifert.

Lombardo, along with four other mobsters, were convicted of concealing Mafia ownership of the Las Vegas Stardust resort and casino back in 1986.

Prosecutors are wrapping up their case, which has put the highest levels of the Chicago outfit mob on the stand.

Aug. 13th - Federal prosecutors Monday rested their case 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.

Aug. 14th - Reputed mob boss Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo told a jury Tuesday he once shined police officers' shoes and ran a dice game approved by a Chicago alderman but denied he committed the murder that could send him to federal prison for the rest of his life.

Aug. 15th - Reputed top mobster Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo testified today that he was busy filling out a police report about his stolen wallet around the time his friend Daniel Seifert was killed in 1974.

Aug. 16th - "I only acted like a mobster." Reputed mob figure Joey "the Clown" Lombardo, continuing to testify in his own defense at the landmark Family Secrets trial today, said he was having breakfast and waiting for a shop that sold garage-door remotes to open when federal witness Daniel Seifert was killed in 1974.

Aug. 17th - "No Time to Kill People." Frank Calabrese Sr. went from eating oatmeal for dinner as a child to making millions of dollars from illegal street loans but denied Thursday from the witness stand that he ever killed anyone for the Chicago Outfit.

Aug. 20th - Frank Calabrese Sr., reputed mob hitman accused of killing 13 people, lost his cool in federal court Monday morning after a judge restricted his testimony in the Family Secrets trial.

Aug. 21st - A mobster's "Judas kiss" -- It was Christmas Eve 1996, and reputed Outfit hit man Frank Calabrese Sr. was seeing his brother Nicholas out the door after breaking out the Napoleon brandy, when his brother made an unusual request.

Aug. 22nd - Reputed mob hit man Frank Calabrese Sr., a portrait of grimaces, glares and barely contained rage, simmered for hours on the witness stand Tuesday as a federal prosecutor questioned him -- until, finally, he boiled over.

Aug. 23rd - A former Chicago Police officer said Wednesday he repeatedly drove five hours to visit Frank Calabrese Sr. in federal prison in Michigan despite being extremely bored, often not understanding what Calabrese Sr. was talking about and feeling as if he had been paroled when he finally left.

Aug. 24th - A retired Chicago Police officer admitted that he told an Outfit bookmaker and loan shark the date -- but only the date -- when Chicago Police handed over key evidence in a mob hit to the FBI.

Aug. 28th - A federal jury heard Frank Calabrese Sr.'s Greatest Hits as a federal prosecutor played tape after tape of Calabrese Sr.'s own secretly recorded voice describing in detail mob hits he allegedly committed.

Aug. 29th - Reputed top Chicago mobster Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo was "not truthful" at times in his testimony in the Family Secrets trial and was made to look like "a ridiculous old fool" under cross-examination -- but he was nothing more than a "rent-a-mobster," Lombardo's own attorney told jurors in his closing argument Tuesday.

Aug. 31st - Prosecutor: Don't buy Lombardo's song and dance. Alleged top mobster Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo is still part of the Chicago Outfit because he lied from the witness stand to protect the organization, a federal prosecutor said Thursday in the government's final argument in the Family Secrets trial.

Sept. 4th - Jury begins deliberations.

Thanks to LVN

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