Monday, June 18, 2007

Real Life Soprano or Just a Funny Guy ?

Clowns and Comedians perform on all kinds of different stages. The court room is no exception. In December of 1977, a few burglars broke into the home of Tony Accardo and robbed his basement. According to prosecutors, Accardo was not only upset, he allegedly hunted down the six burglars and murdered them. You see, Tony was allegedly a mob boss and Joey "the Clown" Lombardo was a humerous part of the crime family. (Every family has a relative whose roll is to be funny.) Tuesday, a trial starts which Federal prosecutors are calling Chicago's biggest mob trial in years.

FBI's "Operation Family Secrets" investigated 18 long-unsolved mob murders allegedly tied to organized crime. U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said, "It is remarkable for both the breadth of the murders charged and for naming the entire Chicago Outfit as a criminal enterprise under the anti-racketeering law."

The list of defendants includes: James Marcello, Frank Calabrese Sr. and Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo. The defendants also include a retired Chicago police officer, Anthony Doyle.
All have pleaded not guilty and are presumed innocent.

Tony Accardo, the alleged mob boss died in 1992 at age 86. He never served any jail time.
A federal marshal assigned to guard a prosecution witness has been charged with leaking information about his whereabouts to organized crime. The marshal has pleaded not guilty to this charge. Witness, Nicholas Calabrese, brother of Frank Calabrese Sr., is expected to testify against his brother. Nicholas pled guilty in May to taking part in 14 mob murders. This included the murder of Tony "The Ant" Spilotro (Chicago Outfit's man in Las Vegas.) Spilotro, allegedly inspired the character played by Joe Pesci in the movie "Casino." Spilotro and his brother were beaten to death and buried in an Indiana cornfield in 1986.

Lombardo, 78, and Schweihs disappeared in 2005 after the indictment was unsealed. After nine months on the run, the FBI captured him in a suburban alley in January 2006. Schweihs was captured in Kentucky in December 2005.

When U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel, inquired about Lombardo's health and asked why he hadn't seen a doctor lately, Joey the Clown responded: "I was supposed to see him nine months ago, but I was - what do they call it? - I was unavailable."

In the 1980s, Lombardo was convicted of attempting to bribe Sen. Howard Cannon of Nevada.

Lombardo attorney Rick Halprin denies that his client is a powerful organized crime leader. Expect a defense that Lombardo is just a funny guy. Experts say the Chicago crime syndicate won't be decapitated even if the government gets all of convictions.

Gus Russo, author of "The Outfit," noted that the federal Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act has helped prosecutors make progress against organized crime. Russo said,
"Regretfully, greed is such a part of our culture that you're always going to have a criminal element and it will organize.This will hurt the mob but it won't end it." The trial is expected to take four months.

Update: 7-3-07 Emma Seifert has testified that Joey and the mobsters are no laughing matter. She testified that she was preparing to make her morning coffee when two gunmen burst through the door. She testified that she did not have time to warn her husband Daniel before they gunned him down on the morning of Sept. 27, 1974.


Anonymous said...

These guys scare me

Anonymous said...

This reads like a cross between Sopranos and Casino

Anonymous said...

Relax, it's only a movie. Oops, never mind.


Anonymous said...

Joey is a harmless old joker. He belongs on stage, not in a court room.


Ms. Calabaza said...

Moral of the story: You don't mess around with Joey the Clown . . .

Anonymous said...

Clowning around can get you in trouble, Ms. C.


Anonymous said...

Joey just makes the world a brighter place to live and helps make death a little easier to tolerate by the use of levity. Now is that such a crime?


Anonymous said...

Since Sopranos are not on anymore on Sunday nights, maybe the network can show highlights of the trial?

Legal Pub said...

Good read. Thanks


Anonymous said...

Joey is practically a cult hero. Whether he is innocent or guilty, two things are clear:

one he is old

two he is funny!

macho man said...

The chilling testimony by the Siefert widow would leave me to believe that this is no laughing matter. Thanks for the update, legal pub.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Joey's not quite so funny.... Na, he is still funny. But maybe he is a funny gangsta.


Anonymous said...

Gangsta is not the word. These guys are real life mob. They murder or cause people to be murdered. Usually the reason is for money.

No comedy here.

Anonymous said...

Mobsters are scary business.