Seth Ferranti at VICE interviewed three organized crime authors about reputed Philadelphia Cosa Nostra boss Joseph Merlino, whose recently federal racketeering trial in New York ended in a hung jury.
Philadelphia mob boss Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino beat racketeering charges on February 20 thanks to a hung jury. The trial was a part of 2016’s much-ballyhooed East Coast La Cosa Nostra indictment. Merlino's mistrial is a major blow to federal prosecutors in Manhattan. In recent years, the feds have suffered numerous setbacks, from the Gotti mistrials to the not guilty verdict in the Lufthansa heist trial to the lack of cooperation from New York City mobsters like Genovese family capo, Pasquale "Patsy" Parrello. Merlino was something of their last man standing. He was unbowed and proud, but adamant that he’d left the Mafia behind after his last prison stint.
Despite heart problems, cheating accusations, jury tampering allegations, and even being called a “fucking shitbag” and “cocksucker” by mob canary John "JR" Rubeo, Merlino has emerged victorious, at least for the moment. VICE talked to three Mafia experts, Scott M. Deitche, the author of Garden State Gangland: The Rise of the Mob in New Jersey; Christian Cipollini, author of Murder Inc. Mysteries of the Mob’s Most Deadly Hit Squad; and Scott Burnstein, who penned Mafia Prince: Inside America's Most Violent Crime Family and the Bloody Fall of La Cosa Nostra to find out what the Merlino verdict means in the grand scheme of things.
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