By George Anastasia
Jurors spent more than six hours deliberating today, but then headed home -- presumely to watch the Super Bowl -- without reaching a verdict in the racketeering conspiracy trial of mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi and six co-defendants.
The panel of eight men and four women are scheduled to resume tomorrow morning, capping nearly a month of deliberatoins. The jury first got the case on Jan. 8 after a 10-week trial. Until this week, the panel did not meet on weekends.
The jury asked no questions today and remained secluded as defense attorneys and a small group of friends and family members of the defendants kept watch in the 15th floor hallway of the federal courthouse.
The lengthy deliberations, the panel has now been at it for 19 days, is giving rise to speculation that the jury may be deadlocked on some of the 52 counts in the indictment. The panel indicated Saturday morning that it was at an impasse, but was encouraged by Judge Eduardo Robreno to keep working.
At some point, legal observers say, the group has to decide that it can't move forward. When it might reached that point is the subject of the hallway speculation.
Ligambi, 73, and his co-defendants all face a racketeering conspiracy charge. They also face assorted counts of gambling, loansharking and extortion. Ligambi is also charged with obstruction of justice and fraud.
The trial began on Oct. 18 and included about 33 days of testimony. Deliberations have not covered more than half that amount of time, a highly unusual ratio according to most lawyers who handle jury trials.
Ligambi and co-defendants Joseph Massimino, George Borgesi, Joseph Licata and Damion Canalichio have been held without bail since their indictment and arrest in May 2011. Two other defendants, Anthony Staino and Gary Battaglini, are free on bail and mingle in the hallway each day with friends and family members during deliberations.
George Anastasia can be contacted at email@example.com.