DON'T WORRY ABOUT me, judge.
Those Philly wiseguys wouldn't lay a hand on me.
That's basically what Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., son of former Philadelphia mob boss Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo, told U.S. District Judge Robert Kugler in Camden yesterday. And it worked.
Scarfo, 46, an alleged made member of New York's Lucchese crime family awaiting trial on corporate-fraud charges in New Jersey, will be removed from a protective unit at the federal lockup at 7th and Arch streets. He'll join the general population with a half-dozen Philly mobsters there.
"I just don't feel like my life's in danger," Scarfo told the judge.
Wonder if he felt the same way on Halloween night 1989, when he sat down for dinner at Dante & Luigi's in South Philadelphia and was sprayed with bullets by a costumed man who pulled a gun out of a trick-or-treat bag.
"He got pretty well-perforated," a law-enforcement source recalled yesterday.
Former mob boss Joey Merlino has long been the prime suspect in what authorities considered a botched hit intended to send a message to Scarfo's father. Afterward, the younger Scarfo relocated to New Jersey and joined the Lucchese crime family, according to investigators. Merlino, now living in Florida, was never charged in the shooting.
Now Scarfo, accused of shaking down a Texas-based mortgage firm for millions, might find himself in the same prison population as jailed Philly mob boss Joseph Ligambi and five underlings awaiting trial on racketeering charges. A law-enforcement source said "ongoing tension" exists between the Philly faction of La Cosa Nostra - which includes Merlino's allies - and Scarfo's Lucchese family.
So will Scarfo be in danger mingling with Philly gangsters?
"He could be," a law-enforcement official said.
Kugler rejected a motion by Michael Riley, Scarfo's court-appointed attorney, to have him freed on bail. But, Riley said, at least getting Scarfo out of protective custody will enable Scarfo and him to better review the indictment, which includes about 7,500 intercepted conversations and text messages and about a million pages of documents.
"You're talking to a guy through a glass wall, basically," Riley said of Scarfo's current status.
A law-enforcement source said Scarfo might feel safe because the Philly mob is so weakened by indictments that it wouldn't want to start trouble with New York by going after him.
"He really didn't say why he's not concerned, but he seemed pretty confident he'll be fine," Riley said. "Hopefully, bygones are bygones."
- The Associated Press
contributed to this report.