After two and a half years in prison and two racketeering trials reputed Phialdelphia mafia boss Joseph Ligambi is released. The remaining count against Ligambi of conspiracy and illegal gambling were dismissed by Judge Eduardo Robreno after prosecutors notified him they would not seek a third trial against the alleged Philly mob leader. Ligambi was arrested back in May of 2011 with a dozen other reputed Philly mobsters on charges of racketeering conspiracy related to a loan sharking and illegal gambling operations. He had been denied bail on two separate occasion while he awaited trial and then his retrial. Ligambi was acquitted last friday on a single charge of jury tampering and jury for a second time hung on the count of racketeering conspiracy. In his previous trial Ligambi was found not guilty by a jury on five of the nine counts against him leaving the four remaining counts in the retrial.
“Joseph Ligambi prison release”
It was likely a wise move by prosecutors to cut their losses and not to seek a third trial according to many mafia observers. The 12 member jury voted 10-2 to acquit Ligambi of the remaining three counts against him including the main count of racketeering conspiracy. Along with Ligambi his nephew and alleged fellow mobster was also found not guilty on conspiracy charges and was set free. An unidentified juror told the Philadelphia Inquirer that ” there was very little physical evidence and all of the government witnesses were themselves convicted criminals, if the government had more credible witnesses perhaps things would of been different”. All things considered it doesn’t seem like prosecutors would get a different result had they decided to go to trial for a third time.
Now two veteran mobsters are back on the streets of Phildephia where the mob family has been unsettled at best of late. Whether or not they will look to exert any influence or control over the local mob family and re-establish themselves with high ranking positions is a question being asked by both state and federal authorities.The beleaguered crime family could be split in as many as three different factions as several Philly mobsters once loyal to former boss Nicodemo “Little Nicky” Scarfo are now back on the streets and could be looking for their piece of the pie. It is also believed that Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino who has been living in Florida since his release from prison could still be a player having several key associates from his prior regime like Steven Mazzone and John Ciancaglini on streets in Philly. Now Ligambi and Borgesi are back on the streets they could choose a side with one of the two camps or try and re-establish themselves as part of the Philly Mafia leadership landscape.
The big question is will everyone agree to get back to simply business and quietly come to some sort of agreement each getting a share of things or will a mafia war break out on the streets of Philadelphia.