Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Philly Mob On Trial: Closing Arguments Offer Differnet Stories In Ligambi Racketeering Trial
Veteran organized crime reporter George Anastasia is covering the federal organized crime trial in Philadelphia for Bigtrial.net.
The federal government is still fighting a war it won more than a decade ago, the lawyer for mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi told a jury this afternoon while asking the panel to reject the prosecution's case against his client and co-defendant George Borgesi.
"There was a sea change in 1999," Ligambi's lawyer, Edwin Jacobs Jr. told the jury. La Cosa Nostra in Philadelphia, he said, "is a shell" (of what it once was). "It's every man for himself...The FBI won the war."
And the result, said Christopher Warren, Borgesi's attorney, is a case built around "a theater of the absurd."
Those were two of the high points of more than two hours of spirited closing argument by the defense today in the racketeering conspiracy retrial of Ligambi, 74, and Borgesi, 50.
The prosecution, to no one's great surprise, presented the anonymously chosen jury panel with a decidedly different take, painting the two defendants as leaders of an organized crime family that engaged in gambling, loansharking and extortion and that used its reputation for violence to further the criminal conspiracy at the heart of the case.
"La Cosa Nostra, This Thing of Ours, Our Thing," said Assistant U.S. Attorney John Han. "It was Joe Ligambi's thing. It was George Borgesi's thing."
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