Often described as a wiseguy wannabe Louis “Bent Finger Lou” Monacello took the stand to tell his story for at the retrial of reputed Philadelphia mafia boss Joseph “Uncle Joe” Ligambi and fellow mobster and nephew George Borgesi. Monacello was a key witness in the first Philly mafia trial and is once again going to play a big role for the prosecution even though his previous testimony did not lead to a conviction of either Ligambi or Borgesi. At last years trial Monacello at times came off as brash and even cocky and portions of his testimony was contradicted by other witnesses who took the stand leading to a deadlocked jury on the major counts against the Philly mob leaders. Still prosecutors believed there was enough value in Monacello’s information to again make him a key witness and he has been on stand in Ligambi retrial now for days.
Monacello testified that for much of the last decade he was on streets in Delaware County running Borgesi’s rackets while he was in prison. According to Monacello he even collected what the mafia called “Christmas taxes” for mob boss Joe Ligambi from various bookmakers operating in South Philly. He also told stories of Philadelphia mob life airing some of the crime families dirty laundry including family rivalries and jealousies. Monacello claimed that George Borgesi’s kid brother Anthony Borgesi resented that he was passed over to run his older brothers mob business and tried to undermine him consistently. He also said Borgesi’s wife Alyson was nicknamed “Alyson Corleone” because of the way she henpecked mob soldiers working under her husband and collected cash payments protecting the family’s interest.
Monacello said that no one should be fooled by the nice loving family facade because its fake and they all hate each other. Monacello was not immune to this family feuds as he explained that back in 2008 he believed a rival mafia captain was moving in on this business so he hired someone to attack him. When Borgesi found out about Monacello’s actions he was quite upset and according to Monacello began plotting to have him killed. Monacello said fearing for his life was the reason he decided to turn rat and testify against his associates. He said only reason he was on witness stand and not with them (pointing to Ligambi and Borgesi) at defense table is because they were going to kill me.
Lawyers for Ligambi and Borgesi took shots at different aspects of Monacello’s testimony and credibility insisting thet he was running his own illegal gambling and loan sharking business using Borgesi’s and Ligambi’s name in an attempt to inhance his underworld position. They also pressed Monacello on his stories of mob debt collections and interactions with his fellow mobsters. Ligambi’s lawyer asked Monacello if lying to the mob boss might of resulted in death he replied that fellow mob associate DiGiacomo who he accused of lying was not going to get killed over it , he said because this is not that kinda of mob. Stressing the point the defense team has made that the current mob family was not the violent organization of years past which is why the defendants are not charged with any violent crimes.