Monday, January 27, 2014
Federal authorities have decided not to retry Joe Ligambi on conspiracy and gambling charges after two juries soundly rejected the bulk of the government's case against the South Philadelphia mob boss.
In a motion filed this afternoon, the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania asked Judge Eduardo Robreno to dismiss the three remaining counts pending against the 74-year-old mob leader.
The move came two days after a jury voted to acquit Ligambi of a witness tampering charge and hung on the conspiracy count and two counts of illegal gambling.
"In this instance I agree with the exercise of judgment by the U.S. Attorney's Office," said Edwin Jacobs Jr., Ligambi's lawyer. "(Federal prosecutors) took their two best shots unsuccessfully."
Jacobs said it would be a waste of taxpayers' money and government resources to try Ligambi a third time. The Atlantic City-based attorney, considered one of the top criminal lawyers in the area, represented Ligambi in both trials.
In the first trial, which lasted a three months and ended in February, a jury found Ligambi not guilty of five of nine counts he faced. A second trial, focusing on the four remaining counts, began in November and ended on Friday with the panel's split decision.
The anonymously chosen jury of 11 women and one man had voted 10-2 in favor of acquitting Ligambi on the three counts on which it hung. Ligambi's nephew and co-defendant, George Borgesi, 50, was acquitted of conspiracy, the one count on which he was being retried.
Borgesi was released immediately.
Jacobs said he hoped to have Ligambi freed within the next 24 hours, or as soon as Judge Robreno signs an order dismissing the remaining charges.
"Hopefuly, my client and I will be having dinner together tomorrow night," he said.
Jacobs said he would be buying.
George Anastasia can be contacted at George@bigtrial.net