Prosecutors want a judge to keep reputed Philadelphia mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi in jail pending a retrial, arguing that the mixed verdicts this month against him and others only bolster their claims about the crime family and its leaders.
Brushing aside the jury's acquittals on 46 counts and deadlock on 11 others, the trial team from the U.S. Attorney's Office noted that 10 of the original 15 defendants in the case have pleaded to or been found guilty of felonies. And that the evidence that led to the convictions showed the mob and its leaders ran bookmaking, loan-sharking, and other rackets.
"The government has proven beyond a reasonable doubt, by numerous guilty verdicts and guilty pleas, the existence and operation of the racketeering enterprise known as the Philadelphia La Cosa Nostra," assistant U.S. Attorneys Frank Labor, Suzanne Ercole and John Han wrote in a motion to U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno.
After a four-month trial, jurors acquitted Ligambi, 73, on five counts of loansharking, theft and bookmaking but were undecided on four other charges, including racketeering conspiracy, which accused him of leading the criminal enterprise.
Three of his six codefendants, including reputed underboss Joseph "Mousie" Massimino, were convicted on that count. The jury acquitted one defendant entirely of racketeering and declared itself "undecided" against two others, including Ligambi's nephew and reputed capo, George "Georgie" Borgesi.
Patty Hartman, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger, said Friday that the office will retry the case. Robreno has tentatively scheduled the retrial for April, but that date is expected to change.
Ligambi's lawyers contend that the verdicts "obliterated 90 percent" of the government case, including many of the same accusations used to hold Ligambi without bail since his May 2011 arrest. They have asked the judge to free Ligambi on bail and say he has been promised a job by the CEO of a "respected Philadelphia-based corporation."
The prosecutors said they will press Ligambi's lawyers to identify the company when Robreno holds a hearing Monday on the bail motion.
They also said that Ligambi's age should not be a factor in the decision.
"In the world of organized crime, advancing age is an indicia of dangerousness," their motion says. "Only a cunning and vicious gangster can survive the many snares and dangers an LCN member encounters, from law enforcement and the LCN itself, in a life of crime in the mob, and which tend to cut a gangster's run short."