The Chicago Syndicate: Highlights from the John Ambrose Trial
The Mission Impossible Backpack

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Highlights from the John Ambrose Trial

*Brother Patrick Martin was the last defense witness, called to tell of Ambrose's character. He had coached Ambrose on the wrestling team at St. Laurence High School in Burbank and had remained in regular contact with him. When Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane MacArthur addressed Martin as "Father," he corrected her, saying "My name is 'Brother.'" She was about to resume questioning him, when he interrupted her with, "I'm sorry, I don't know your name." It might've been the one time MacArthur was thrown off her game.

*The jurors asked many questions during the trial via notes they submitted to U.S. District Judge John Grady, mostly wanting to ask something else of a particular witness.

*Grady is a judge who apparently thinks this is a good idea. One of the jurors' questions elicited one of the more interesting revelations of the trial - that two witnesses at a major mob trial in 2007 did not want to be protected by marshals after hearing of Ambrose's alleged security breach. They were guarded instead by FBI agents.

* Also, a juror requested a transcript from the opening arguments and closing statements of the trial. Grady laughed as he turned that one down.

* During his time on the witness stand, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald kept talking about his habit of not wearing a watch. "I should wear a watch," he concluded after the third reference.

* A large gray partition was used during the testimony of some deputy marshals to protect their identities from the public - even for one who retired in January and another who has a different job now. They were identified only as Inspector Four and Deputy Six.

* The trial did not have a lot of drama. No shouting by attorneys. During the prosecution's closing argument, Grady told Ambrose to stop "wagging his head" back and forth. When his attorney gave his closing arguments, Ambrose wept silently when his father, Thomas, was mentioned - a former Chicago police officer who was convicted in the famous "Marquette 10" police corruption trial in 1982 and imprisoned. The man to whom Ambrose allegedly leaked the critical information was a former Chicago cop who was convicted with Ambrose's father.

One of the Chicago mob's more colorful figures, Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, was "smitten" with Ambrose's mother, who would visit her husband at a federal prison that also housed Lombardo, an FBI agent testified during the trial. He said she used to go to the prison in Milan, Mich., with the wife of Frank DeRango, a fellow "Marquette 10" defendant who was Thomas Ambrose's police partner and was incarcerated with him there. After Ambrose died in prison, his wife continued to travel with Mrs. DeRango, and one day Lombardo insisted on taking a photo with her, the agent said.

Thanks to Lauren Fitzpatrick

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