According to recently filed court documents, a mafia informant erased approximately a year’s worth of evidence against alleged Philadelphia mafia boss Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino.
The unidentified informant (believed to be John Rubio) supplied the feds with audio and video recordings along with texts that prosecutors planned to use against the flamboyant Cosa Nostra leader. But the informant in question deleted the evidence by resetting the cell phone he used to collect it making it impossible to authenticate any of it and to determine exactly how much material existed according to Merlino’s lawyers. This move has clearly undermined the feds racketeering case against the reputed Philly mafia boss.
With this large amount of evidence seemingly compromised it’s unclear as to just how strong the feds case against Joey Merlino is currently. The 55-year-old mobster refused to agree to a plea deal which would have allowed him to plead guilty to lesser crimes avoiding the more serious racketeering charge. His defense team has recently filed various motions one of which would have all charges against him dropped and another requesting the trial be moved to Philadelphia if it were to take place. According to the feds, Merlino was a leader of an organized crime group they labeled as the East Coast LCN Enterprise and was working to rebuild the mafia in Philadelphia.
Perhaps the upcoming hearing which has been scheduled for June 30 will supply some clarity and answer some of the questions as to how this case will proceed if at all.