A federal judge disqualified two lawyers Tuesday from representing a pair of defendants charged in a mob-related case with blowing up a coin-operated amusement company in suburban Berwyn.
Judge Ronald A. Guzman disqualified attorneys Alexander Salerno and Edmund Wanderling, saying they have "numerous and multifaceted" conflicts of interest.
Mark Polchan, 41, and Samuel Volpendesto, 84, are charged in the February 2003 bombing that ripped apart the Berwyn offices of C&S Coin Operated Amusements.
Prosecutors say the blast was a message from the mob to the company to quit horning in on its $13 million monopoly on gambling in Chicago's western suburbs.
The two men were arrested July 30 when federal agents fanned out across northern Illinois, raiding offices and hangouts of the Outlaws motorcycle gang. Polchan is a member of the Outlaws. The two have pleaded not guilty.
A call to Salerno and Wanderling at their offices late Tuesday was not immediately returned. A message was left with their answering service.
Salerno showed up at the home of an unnamed mob member who could become a defendant in the case when federal agents searched it on July 30, Guzman said. Wanderling apparently called Salerno and urged him to go to the home, he said.
Salerno also represented a key witness in the case and Wanderling had represented that witness's son, the judge said. He said Salerno previously served as an attorney for Volpendesto, who is now represented by Wanderling.
"These circumstances make it extremely difficult for the court even to admonish adequately Volpendesto or Polchan as to the many different ways that this prior relationship could result in prejudice to either during the course of these proceedings," Guzman said in a 15-page written opinion.
"Under these circumstances it is extremely difficult for the court to satisfy itself that either Volpendesto or Polchan understand fully the consequences of waiving their Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel," he said.
Thanks to Mike Robinson
Best of the Month!
- Chicago Mob Infamous Locations Map
- The Chicago Syndicate AKA "The Outfit"
- One Family's Rise, A Century of Power
- Mafia Links of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
- THE OUTFIT'S GREATEST HITS
- Top Ten Signs a Mafia Boss is Nuts
- Profile: Harry Aleman
- Firm with reputed mob ties flourishes
- Abraham Kiswani, Owner of World Security Bureau, Indicted on Tax Evasion Charges
- Chicago Alderman Ed Burke Charged with Extortion by Federal Prosecutors #Corruption