Opening arguments are set to begin in the latest Philadelphia Mafia racketeering trial targeting loan sharking and illegal gambling operations.
Prosecutors look to land a blow to the leadership of the Philly crime family. Defendants in the case include alleged Philadelphia Mafia acting boss Joseph “Uncle Joe” Ligambi, alleged underboss Joseph “Mousie” Massimino, and alleged capos George Borgesi and Joseph “Scoops” Licata. Defense attorneys have repeatedly pointed out that this case is without charges for acts of violence, unlike previous mob trials. But prosecutors argue that this group of Philly mob leaders did not have to resort to violence as much and simply lived off the reputations of previous murderous mobsters that ruled the streets of Philadelphia before them like John Stanfa and Nicodemo Scarfo.
Ligambi took over the Philly Mafia family back in 1999 after then boss Joseph Merlino was sent to prison and was given the title of “acting boss” prosecutors say. But Ligambi and company will be the face of the Philadelphia Mafia when this trial begins no matter what titles they hold. And prosecutors have a lot of wire tap evidence against these defendants to put a voice to go along with those faces. The crime family in Philadelphia has always been one of the most recorded mafia families in the mob history and this case is no different. Wite tap evidence from a former Gambino crime family soldier named Nicholas “Nicky Skins” Stefanelli will be key pieces of evidence for the prosecution.
But many mob experts and insiders believe that no matter the outcome of this trial like previous trials before the Philly mob family will continue to do business and live on. Many believe that Merlino recently released from a 14 year prison term and living in Florida is calling the shots and running the family through his mob associates in Philly.