The feds hope that a different jury in the same case against Philadelphia mobsters will lead to a different result. The retrial of reputed Philadelphia mafia boss Joseph “Uncle Joe” Ligambi and his nephew and fellow mobster George Borgesi is set to begin on October 15 and is expected to last anywhere from six to eight weeks. The ground work for the retrial has begun with a pre-trial hearing in which many pre-trial motions and arguments are to be heard by U.S. District Court Judge Eduardo Robreno. Both defendants are facing racketeering conspiracy charges that the case is fundamentally build around with Ligambi facing two added gambling charges. This retrial could prove to be a death struggle for the 73 year old Ligambi who could face from 10 to 20 years behind bars if he is convicted of racketeering conspiracy. The stakes are not quite as high for the 50 year old Borgesi but after spending the last 13 years in prison on a previous conviction he could be facing up to another decade in prison if convicted again.
One of the key issue’s being heard in pre-trial motions is the amount of evidence from the first case that will be allowed to be used by the government during the retrial. Prosecutors argue that the conspiracy law grants them substantial leeway and they want permission to basically present the same case used in the original trial. Lawyers for the defendants argue that the prosecution should be limited as to what they can present the second time around. The witnesses , trial exhibits, and recordings used by the government in first Philadelphia mob case would be largely the same as was used in original trial according to U.S. Attorney Frank Labor in his pre-trial motion. Judge Robreno has yet to rule on the motion but any ruling limiting what the prosecution can reuse would be a small victory for the defense.
In the trial earlier this year Ligambi was found not guilty on five of nine charges against him and Borgesi not guilty on thirteen of the fourteen charges he faced but the jury hung on the conspiracy charges for both. Of the overall 62 counts in the case the jury came back with not guilty verdicts on 46 counts against the seven defendants. But even with the amount of not guilty verdicts four out of the original seven defendants are now serving prison sentences. The four mobsters convicted included reputed Philadelphia mob underboss Joseph “Mousie” Massimino , mob captain Anthony Staino, mob soldier Damion Canalichio , and mob associate Gary Battaglini. Reputed Philadelphia mafia capo Joseph “Scoops” Licata so far is the only one of the defendants to escape with a not guilty verdict and is back on streets of Philadelphia.