A day after a split verdict in the first major Philadelphia mob trial in a decade, a judge Wednesday jailed two defendants, denied a bid to release a third, and waited to see if reputed boss Joseph Ligambi would ask to be freed on bail.
Ligambi, 73, has been imprisoned since his May 2011 indictment. After 21 days of deliberations, the jury Tuesday deadlocked on the racketeering conspiracy charge and three others against him, and cleared him of five lesser crimes.
Defense lawyer Edwin Jacobs Jr. had called the verdicts "a failure" for the government and said he would ask U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno to release Ligambi on bail immediately. No such motion was filed by Wednesday evening.
Prosecutors also had not decided if they would seek a retrial, but they talked as if they had no plans to abandon the case.
"It's in the interest of everybody - if there is a retrial - to try this case expeditiously," Assistant U.S. Attorney John Han told the judge.
Ligambi's prospects at freedom seemed to dim when Robreno rejected a similar bail bid Wednesday from his nephew and codefendant George "Georgie" Borgesi, a reputed mob captain.
The jurors acquitted Borgesi of all 13 substantive counts against him related to financing or collecting loan-shark debts but deadlocked on the racketeering conspiracy charge.
His lawyer, Paul Hetznecker, argued that the verdict was a repudiation of the case against Borgesi, particularly the testimony from mob turncoat Louis "Bent Finger Lou" Monacello, a key prosecution witness. Hetznecker and other lawyers argued that Monacello was a jealous hothead who hated Ligambi and would say anything to avoid prison.
Hetznecker asked Robreno for bail and electronic monitoring for Borgesi, who has been jailed since 2000 on unrelated racketeering charges and had qualified for early release when he was indicted. Borgesi, 49, planned to live with his wife in Bridgeport and line up a job, his lawyer said.
"The reality is he spent the last 13 years in jail, and the Bureau of Prisons saw it fit to grant him early release," Hetznecker said.
But prosecutors said that the jury's deadlock on the conspiracy charge was not an acquittal and that evidence during the trial showed Borgesi was "an active, robust" member of the mob during a decade behind bars.
Han said Borgesi had a history of violence and witness intimidation, and directed or condoned attacks from prison. If he were to be released, Han told Robreno, "imagine the harm he could do" to witnesses in the current case.
Dressed in a frayed green prison jumpsuit, Borgesi steamed at the defense table as Han piled up reasons no bail conditions would be enough to protect the community.
When Robreno took a break to ponder his ruling, Borgesi glared and began spewing invectives at Han, ignoring pleas from his lawyer and family to be quiet. "Punk," he sneered at the prosecutor before being led away by deputy marshals.
It was unclear if Robreno heard or learned about the outburst. He did not mention it when he returned minutes later, adopted Han's argument, and ordered detention to continue.
By then, Borgesi was resigned. "Whaddya gonna do?" he said to relatives as he was led away. Hetznecker said he respected the judge's decision but would still consider an appeal.
The ruling came hours after Robreno jailed the only two defendants who had been free on bail during the three-month trial: reputed mob associate Gary Battaglini, who was convicted of racketeering conspiracy, and reputed captain Anthony "Ant" Staino, found guilty on two counts of loan-sharking.
Also convicted of the racketeering conspiracy were reputed mob underboss Joseph "Mousie" Massimino and soldier Damion "Dame" Canalichio and Battaglini. All face sentencing May 21.
One defendant, alleged captain Joseph "Scoops" Licata, was acquitted.
The panel of eight men and four women delivered guilty verdicts on five counts, not-guilty verdicts on 46, and hung on 11 more, including racketeering charges against Ligambi, Staino and Borgesi.