The jury - which deliberated for 21 days, including on Super Bowl Sunday - acquitted Joseph "Scoops" Licata and found Ligambi and Borgesi not guilty on some counts and remained deadlocked on others. Reputed underboss Joseph "Mousie" Massimino, soldier Damion Canalichio and mob associate Gary Battaglini were convicted of racketeering conspiracy. Anthony Staino was convicted of loan-sharking.
In all, the jury found the seven alleged mobsters guilty on five counts and not guilty on 46. U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno declared a mistrial on 11 counts on which the jury was deadlocked.
"It's an enormous waste of precious taxpayer funds," Jacobs said of the investigation and trial. "We're not talking about terrorism here. We're not talking about schoolchildren being abducted or shot up. What we're talking about is video-poker machines that aren't hurting anybody. The only difference is they're not owned by the state. It's a lot of baloney."
Licata, the 71-year-old reputed North Jersey mob capo, had remained sanguine throughout the marathon trial.
"We're all right. We're all going to be drinking tonight," he said during a break Tuesday, glancing back at the crowd of mob supporters through eyeglasses as thick as Coke bottles. By 7 p.m., Scoops was knocking back Grey Goose at DiNardo's on Race Street.
"It was a wholesale annihilation," said Licata's attorney, Christopher Warren, who sounded as if he was already a few drinks deep. "How many times do they want to be beat? Because I'm frankly getting tired of it. They went fishing for Joe Ligambi, and the jury gave them Gary Battaglini."
The U.S. Attorney's Office had initially planned to hold a news conference after the trial. That idea was promptly nixed.
"It's a partial victory," said David Fritchey, chief of the organized-crime unit. "Obviously, we would have liked to have more, but we never criticize a verdict."
Fritchey said there could be a retrial on the hung charges - meaning that Ligambi and Borgesi are not necessarily in the clear.
The indictment, unsealed in May 2011, did not include any murders, focusing instead on nonviolent crimes, such as loan-sharking and gambling, going back to 1999. Ligambi, who took over the Philly faction of La Cosa Nostra when Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino went to prison, also was charged with illegally accepting health-care benefits from a Teamsters fund through a no-show job at a South Philly trash company. He was found not guilty on that count.
Defense lawyers had dismissed the case as "Mob Lite" - a desperate attempt to break up a waning organized-crime family while hundreds of people are killed in Philadelphia each year from non-mob violence. Prosecutors relied on questionable witnesses and about 15,000 secret recordings obtained through phone intercepts and body wires.
"The jury is the last bulwark against government overreaching," said Borgesi's attorney, Paul Hetznecker.
As the jury returned with a verdict, the high-security courtroom was tense. Some relatives of the defendants were hunched over, breathing heavily, or holding each other.
"He's coming home," Borgesi's brother Anthony said to their mother after the verdict was read. He draped his arm over her shoulder. George Borgesi, who was already in prison when he was indicted in this case, turned around and winked - the kind of wink you give someone after you beat a 13-year federal investigation.
Massimino, 62, who'd been taunting prosecutors throughout the trial and reminding his supporters to "keep those martini glasses chilled" for his victory party, kept the routine going as he entered the courtroom Tuesday. He passed Assistant U.S. Attorney John Han and said, "I'm feeling kind of good, Johnny Chu."
"Hey, Ange, I'll be coming to see ya'. Don't worry about it," Massimino said to Angelo Lutz, the ex-mob associate who opened the Kitchen Consigliere Cafe, in New Jersey, after doing prison time on racketeering charges.
But Massimino's mood reversed after he was found guilty of racketeering conspiracy, which carries a maximum prison term of 20 years. As supporters were trying to understand the complicated verdict and what it meant for each defendant, he turned and looked back, silently.
"Strange," said Massimino's attorney, Joseph Santaguida. "Strange verdict."
Attorney Margaret Grasso, who represented Canalichio, said that she didn't understand how the jury could convict her client of participating in a racketeering conspiracy, yet remain hung on the same count for Ligambi, the alleged boss.
"It makes no sense," she said. "I didn't see this one coming."
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