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Mobster’s lawyer: Indictment is ‘fantasy-land stuff’

Mobster Martin Angelina, charged last week in a major organized crime racketeering-gambling case, moved a step closer to making bail Tuesday when a magistrate judge set conditions, including 24-hour home confinement, that would have sprung the South Philadelphia wiseguy from federal detention.

But federal prosecutors immediately sought and were granted a stay of the order imposed by Judge Felipe Restrepo pending a hearing Wednesday.

Prosecutors argued that Angelina, 48, who served nearly seven years on a racketeering conviction in 2001, was a danger to the community no matter what the bail conditions.

But Angelina's lawyer, Jack McMahon, argued the current case contains no acts of violence and that his client is hardly mentioned in the 50-count, 70-page indictment.

"The story they're telling you is fantasy-land stuff," McMahon said of the prosecution's arguments. "I read the indictment and thought pages were missing."

Angelina is charged with one attempted extortion and with having video poker machines in a private club.

While prosecutors said the mobster muscled his way into taking over a $6,700 debt that was owed to someone else, McMahon said his client was merely trying to help settle a financial dispute between two individuals whom he knew.

"There's nothing of substance," he said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John S. Han, however, argued that Angelina, like several other defendants in the case, used the mob's reputation for violence as leverage to intimidate victims into paying loanshark and gambling debts.

Restrepo, in ordering Angelina's release, said it was a "close call." He set bail at more than $600,000, secured by three properties offered as collateral by Angelina's elderly mother and his ex-wife. His mother also agreed to sign a $300,000 bond.

Restrepo ordered Angelina to wear an electronic monitor and to stay in his apartment on Johnston Street 24 hours a day except for visits with his lawyer and for medical appointments.

The appeal of the bail order will be heard Tuesday afternoon by Judge Eduardo C. Robreno, who has been named the trial judge in the case.

In a separate hearing, alleged mob associate Gary Battaglini, 50, of Washington Township, Gloucester County, was released after his brother and sister-in-law agreed to post two properties valued at about $250,000 and to sign a $300,000 bond.

Battaglini, who works as a courier, will be permitted to go to work Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to !2:30 p.m.

To date, four defendants in the case, reputed mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi, 71; alleged underboss Joseph "Mousie" Massimino, 61; reputed mob soldier Gaeton Lucibello, 58, and alleged mob associate Louis "Bent Finger Lou" Monacello, 44, have been ordered held without bail.

Two other defendants, mobsters George Borgesi, 47, and Damion Canalichio, 41, are already serving time on unrelated federal charges. They are scheduled to be brought to Philadelphia for arraignment hearings on June 22.

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