More deliberations for Philly mob trial jury

Posted: January 13, 2013

Jurors at the racketeering trial of reputed Philadelphia mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi and six associates spent five more hours weighing the charges Friday but signaled a verdict will not come soon.

As it had the previous three days of closed-door deliberations, the panel asked to rehear secret recordings made by FBI agents and informants during the decadelong investigation. At midafternoon, the jurors also asked U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno for permission to leave by 4, which most observers interpreted as a sign they were not close to a decision. They are to return Monday.

The requests Friday seemed to be focused primarily on Anthony "Ant" Staino, a reputed mob captain.

In one cryptic conversation, Staino tells an undercover agent that he is "on the board of directors" of his company and describes himself as "like the CFO." He also describes collecting as much as $10,000 a month by "renting" video poker machines.

On another tape, an alleged mobster tells an informer that Staino has two sides. If he doesn't get paid, he warns, "Anthony can turn into the devil."

Jurors also asked for legal definitions related to threat and conspiracy. And they wanted colored markers, and gum or mints.

The trial began in mid-October and followed an FBI investigation that included as many as 15,000 secret recordings made by informants and cooperation from mob turncoats.

Ligambi, 73, is accused of leading a wide-ranging criminal enterprise that included illegal bookmaking, loan-sharking, extortion and other crimes.

Staino's and Ligambi's codefendants include Ligambi's nephew and alleged consigliere, George Borgesi; reputed underboss Joseph Massimino; reputed captain Joseph Licata; alleged soldier Damion Canalicho; and an associate, Gary Battaglini.

Defense lawyers say the charges are flimsy accusations based on claims by admitted criminals and turncoats trying to save themselves. They also have noted that the case includes none of the allegations of brutal violence that have been hallmarks of mob prosecutions.


Contact John P. Martin at 215-925-2649, at jmartin@phillynews.com or @JPMartinInky on Twitter.

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