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[January 25, 2013]
Still no verdict in Philly mob trial
Jan 25, 2013 (The Philadelphia Inquirer - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Are they closer to a verdict or a stalemate Either seemed possible Friday as jurors at the racketeering trial of Philadelphia's reputed mob leaders ended a third week of deliberations without a decision.
For the 11th time in 12 days of talks, the panel asked to see exhibits or hear recordings that FBI informants and agents gathered during a decade-long probe of alleged boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi and his associates.
But in a signal they may have resolved charges against some defendants -- and moved on to others -- the panel for the first time asked to hear secret tapes of Joseph "Mousie" Massimino, described as Ligambi's underboss.
On one, Massimino rants at a caller, ostensibly over unpaid debts: "I'm gonna come and get you, you got that " Prosecutors say Ligambi, 73, and Massimino, 62, are the ranking leaders of a crime network that controlled illegal sports betting, loan-sharking and extortion across the region. Defense lawyers say the case is weak, built on the word of untrustworthy informants and criminals trying who cooperated with the government to save themselves.
Before Friday, almost all of the jury requests focused on evidence against the other defendants in the case: Ligambi's nephew and onetime reputed consigliere, George "Georgie" Borgesi; alleged captains Anthony "Ant" Staino and Joseph "Scoops" Licata; Damion "Dame" Canalichio, described as a soldier; and alleged mob associate Gary Battaglini.
The jurors also asked for evidence related to JMA, a firm that Ligambi, Massimino and Staino formed in 2001 to rent video-poker machines for use in bars and other establishments. Defense lawyers say the business was legal and legitimate.
Prosecutors said JMA was a bid by the trio to cover their tracks after using strong-arm tactics and threats of violence to wrest the video-game market from a long-standing local vending machine and game company.
-- Contact John P. Martin at 215-925-2649, email@example.com or @JPMartinInky on Twitter.
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