Bail hearing to resume next week for Galati

Posted: December 25, 2013

The case against a reputed Philadelphia mob associate charged in a murder-for-hire case remained something of a mystery on Monday as few details of the charges emerged at a bail hearing.

Ronald Galati, 63, of South Philadelphia, has been held without bail since Dec. 13, when he was charged with solicitation to commit murder, witness retaliation, and witness intimidation.

Prosecutors provided no details of those crimes in court Monday as Galati's lawyer appeared before Common Pleas Court Judge Charles Ehrlich and sought to have him released on bail.

The lawyer, Anthony Voci, said there was "not a single piece of hard evidence . . . that says my client did anything."

Voci said the grand jury witness Galati is accused of retaliating against is "related to an auto business his son is involved in." He did not elaborate.

Last week, the city canceled a contract with American Collision & Automotive Center, an auto body shop run by Galati's children. The city had paid the business nearly $1.3 million for repair work to fleet vehicles, including police cruisers, over the last four years.

Galati did not appear in court Monday, but about three dozen of Galati's supporters and relatives filled the courtroom as his lawyer sought his release.

Voci told the judge Galati's family was willing to post $50,000 for his release.

He said Galati was not a flight risk, because he is a lifelong resident of Philadelphia and a respected member of his community.

Voci added that Galati has health problems. Galati, who suffers from asthma, has had attacks while in custody at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, he said.

Assistant District Attorney Dawn Holtz urged the judge to deny bail to protect those who would testify.

"The only way to protect these witnesses is to keep him incarcerated," Holtz said, adding that in custody, Galati's phone calls and visits can be monitored.

After talking to the defense and prosecutors in chambers for about 20 minutes, Ehrlich said he would continue the bail hearing next Tuesday.

Ehrlich said he wanted to review the grand jury testimony and notes and the allegations against Galati, who has a previous conviction for insurance fraud, before deciding whether to grant bail.


vclark@phillynews.com

215-854-5717

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