Judge: No bail for 'vicious' Ligambi

Ligambi's family could easily afford his bail using the equity generated by his multiple properties.
Ligambi's family could easily afford his bail using the equity generated by his multiple properties.
Posted: February 27, 2013

JOSEPH LIGAMBI may be a gray-haired 73-year-old who is quick with a smile and wisecrack for family and friends in the courtroom, but to federal prosecutors he is much too "cunning" and "vicious" to be released on bail while awaiting retrial for racketeering conspiracy and related charges.

After hearing spirited arguments Monday from prosecutors and defense attorney Edwin Jacobs Jr., U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno rejected Ligambi's bail motion, ensuring that he will sit in a jail cell as he prepares for his April 16 retrial.

Ligambi, who is known as "Uncle Joe" and is believed to be the boss of Philadelphia's La Cosa Nostra mob, came to court in a green prison jumpsuit and left taking the ruling, seemingly, in stride.

"That was a surprise," he said, grinning at his supporters as a marshal cuffed him.

"That was a cliff-hanger," Jacobs deadpanned.

Earlier this month, Ligambi was found not guilty of five criminal counts by a federal jury, which deadlocked on four other counts.

The jury - which sat through three months of testimony and deliberated for 21 days - acquitted Ligambi co-defendant Joseph "Scoops" Licata. Reputed underboss Joseph "Mousie" Massimino, mob soldier Damion Canalichio and mob associate Gary Battaglini were convicted of racketeering conspiracy. Anthony Staino was convicted of loan-sharking.

Ligambi's nephew, former mob consigliere George Borgesi, who's been imprisoned since 2000, was acquitted of 13 counts but remains jailed on a single racketeering-conspiracy count on which the jury deadlocked.

In all, the jury found the seven alleged mobsters guilty on five counts, not guilty on 46 and deadlocked on 11. The latter 11 counts paved the way for the feds to seek retrials.

During Monday's hearing, Jacobs argued that the government's failure to win any convictions against Ligambi should entitle him to bail, which his family could pay with more than $500,000 in equity from six to seven homes, Jacobs said.

U.S. Attorney Frank Labor countered that the charges Ligambi faces retrial for and the convictions of his co-defendants establish that he is a danger to the community and should stay jailed.


On Twitter: @MensahDean


 

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