Defense lawyers in the racketeering trial of reputed mob boss Joseph Ligambi and six associates rested their case today, hours after the trial judge dismissed a juror.
The case will resume with closing arguments in January.
U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno didn't publicly explain why he dismissed the man, identified as Juror No. 5, or who requested it.
But lawyers previously said the man was the only panel member who admitted during private talks with the judge that a reported mob hit in South Philadelphia last week might taint his view of the case.
"Juror No. 5 will no longer be sitting with us," Robreno told the reconfigured 12-member jury and four alternates as they filed into the courtroom. "You should not speculate as to the reasons for that. He has been dismissed from juror service."
The decision came one week after Gino DiPietro, 50, was gunned down outside his home on the 2800 block of Iseminger Street on Wednesday afternoon. Police later charged reputed mob soldier Anthony Nicodemo, 41, with the killing.
Investigators have offered no motives for the killing. Nicodemo and DiPietro had no clear ties to the ongoing federal trial. Some reports have said the victim may have been cooperating with federal organized crime agents. DiPietro also had a criminal record for drug dealing.
The shooting was poised to upend a prosecution case against Ligambi that has largely lacked any evidence of violence. Prosecutors say the 73-year-old mob boss oversaw a crime family that used its past reputation and threats to controlled illegal gambling, extortion and loan-sharking rackets.
Lawyers for Ligambi and his codefendants claims the allegations are based on unreliable informants looking to save themselves.
They ended their portion of case after barely a day, calling just four witnesses. Robreno dismissed the jurors until Jan. 3, when they are scheduled to hear two days worth of closing arguments and begin deliberations.