The retrial of reputed Philly mob boss “Uncle Joe” Ligambi and his volatile nephew and alleged consigliere George Borgesi is expected to begin on Halloween in federal court. In February, a jury acquitted Ligambi of five out of nine charges, but deadlocked on the remaining four. The 74-year-old Ligambi, who authorities say took over the local mob from “Skinny Joey” Merlino in 1999, could face 10 to 20 years in prison if convicted this time around. The principal charge around which the racketeering-conspiracy case is built involves gambling, so let’s handicap the action:
1. The biggest wild card is Anthony Aponick, a New York mob associate who did time with Borgesi in a federal prison in West Virginia about 10 years ago. Aponick cut a deal with the feds and has promised to deliver “Georgie Boy.” But Aponick may talk a better game than he plays. With his multiple convictions, his credibility is his biggest liability. Prosecutors opted not to call him as a witness at the first trial, so the decision to use him now may be an act of desperation. Is this a Hail Mary pass, or is the government trying to focus the case on the key issue — conspiracy?
2. Government witnesses usually do better the second time around. That has to be what the prosecution is hoping for with Louis “Bent Finger Lou” Monacello, once a top Borgesi associate. Monacello’s testimony in the first trial was full of rage and sarcasm, which didn’t play well. Has Louie, as one insider predicted, gone to “witness school” to make his testimony more focused? Or will his anger again bubble to the surface? Borgesi now refers to his old friend as “Rat Finger Lou” and “Fuck Finger Lou,” but if the new jury buys what Monacello is selling, it’ll be Borgesi who gets the finger.
3. Where is “Frankie the Fixer” DiGiacomo? He was called as a government witness last time, but his testimony undermined almost everything Monacello said. If DiGiacomo is not called by the prosecution, look for the defense to present him as their own witness. And look for the prosecution to pound away at him on cross-examination.
Read more coverage of the retrial at bigtrial.net.
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