The Chicago Syndicate: Nick Calbrese's Lawyer to Seek Mercy from Courts
The Mission Impossible Backpack

Friday, March 20, 2009

Nick Calbrese's Lawyer to Seek Mercy from Courts

A lawyer for Outfit hit man Nicholas Calabrese has asked a judge for mercy by noting Calabrese's decision to cooperate in the landmark Family Secrets investigation almost certainly saved lives.

Calabrese's choice to testify against mob leaders James Marcello, Joey "the Clown" Lombardo and his brother, Frank Calabrese Sr., undermined the Chicago mob's ability to carry out its work, lawyer John Theis wrote in a document filed Friday.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel is expected to sentence Calabrese next Thursday. Theis wrote in his memorandum that Calabrese will address the court as Zagel decides his fate.

"The fact that Defendant is and will be asking the court for a sentence which is reflective of his cooperation in this case is meant in no way to diminish his complete remorse and contrition for the pain and sorrow which he has caused many individuals and their families," the filing said.

Calabrese has admitted taking part in more than a dozen decades-old killings, including the infamous murders of brothers Anthony and Michael Spilotro. His testimony was the centerpiece of the Family Secrets trial in 2007, which resulted in convictions for the five men on trial.

Marcello, Lombardo and Frank Calabrese Sr. have since been sentenced to life in prison. Another defendant, Paul "the Indian" Schiro, was sentenced to 20 years for a murder in Arizona in which Nicholas Calabrese was the trigger man.

Prosecutors have told Zagel they would make no specific recommendation for what Calabrese should receive for his crimes, relying on Zagel's discretion. Calabrese has been incarcerated in the Family Secrets case since 2002.

The new filing indicates Calabrese will cite his extraordinary cooperation as a made member of the Outfit when he is sentenced. He decided to help the government for complex reasons, the filing said.

A heavy sentence would be a de facto life term for Calabrese, who is 67, Theis argued. In addition, his family will live in fear no matter what the judge does, the filing said.

Thanks to Jeff Coen

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