Tuesday, March 31, 2015

"You're Not John Gotti, Buddy"

By George Anastasia
For Bigtrial.net

He was a college-educated marijuana dealer with $80,000 stashed in a safe in his high-rise apartment and a framed picture of mob boss John Gotti hanging on the wall.

The cops, he said, stole the safe and seven pounds of marijuana he had in the apartment and then taunted him about the picture.

"You're not John Gotti, buddy," Robert Kushner said he was told in a cell phone conversation with Thomas Liciardello, a narcotics investigator who, authorities allege, was the leader of a rogue group of Philadelphia police officers who stole cash and drugs, intimidated drug dealers and falsified police reports to cover up their actions.

Kushner, the first witness called in the racketeering conspiracy trial of Liciardello and five fellow officers, took the witness stand in U.S. District Court this morning and told a jury that he had  experienced all of that after being taken into custody, but not formally charged, on the night of Oct. 16, 2007.

A 26-count federal indictment alleges that Liciardello, co-defendant Brian Reynolds and a third police officer, Jeffrey Walker, took $30,000 in cash during a car stop of Kushner just off Ridge Avenue. They then placed him in a holding cell in the Fifth Police District and went to his apartment in the Executive House on City Avenue where, authorities say, they ransacked the 18th floor unit.

Monday, March 30, 2015

"Nineteen Mutts And A Dirty Cop"

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

A trio of veteran defense lawyers today took turns assaulting the government's case against a band of alleged rogue cops.

Jack McMahon got the party started by describing the government's star witness, former Police Officer Jeffrey Walker, as a "wicked, despicable liar." The rest of the government's stable of witnesses, McMahon said, are a bunch of lying drug dealers who amount to "nineteen bags of trash."

To cap the day, Jimmy Binns, batting third in a lineup of six defense lawyers, described the government's case as "nineteen mutts and a dirty cop."

In the longest opening argument of the day, Binns spent two hours delivering a lengthy, eye-popping recitation of the numerous witnesses in the case that the government supposedly never got around to interviewing. Those witnesses that Binns said would be testifying on behalf of the defendants include a bunch of supervisors in the police department who allegedly were eyewitnesses to many of the incidents in the case, and a couple of young female bartenders who supposedly overheard nightly confessions from a drunken and drooling Officer Walker, before he passed out.

Most astonishingly, Binns said, the defense plans to call as their witnesses a trio of federal TFOs -- task force operators who work alongside the feds who investigated this case, on the same floor of the office building they share, but somehow were never interviewed by the government.

"This is not a proud day for the Department of Justice," Binns told the jury.

No wonder relatives of the defendants in the courtroom were overheard making cracks about some of the feds having to call in sick tomorrow.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Judge Rules Against Early Release For Vince Fumo

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

U.S. District Court Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter has denied a motion that would have granted former state Senator Vincent J. Fumo an early end to his supervised release.

In a motion filed March 21st, Fumo's lawyer, Dennis Cogan, had sought to terminate Fumo's three years of supervised release after some 13 months.

"His punishments have been considerable and he has suffered much," Cogan wrote in his motion. "He is now almost 72 years of age. His health is not good and his financial losses have been considerable."

The judge, however, took a dim view of the request.

"I am nonplussed by such a motion being filed when defendant has not even completed one of the singularly most important conditions of his supervised release -- community service," Buckwalter wrote in a one-page order issued today.

"Two hundred and eighty-five hours out of a mandated five hundred," the judge wrote. "Not even close. To say that this failure is disappointing is putting it mildly."

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Father Engelhardt Loses Appeal

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

A day after they ruled against an appeal from Bernard Shero, a panel of three state Superior Court judges came to the same conclusion regarding the appeal of Shero's co-defendant, the late Father Charles Engelhardt.

In a 25-page decision issued today, the Superior Court judges ruled that seven appeal issues raised by Engelhardt are "either waived or devoid of merit." The judges then affirmed Engelhardt's sentence of 6 to 12 years in jail after being convicted of endangering the welfare of a child, corruption of a minor and indecent assault.

The 67-year-old priest died last November in jail after serving nearly two years of his sentence. In their opinion, the judges note "that appellant has passed away during the pendency of this appeal. However, consistent with our cases, we decline to dismiss this appeal as moot in its entirety."

This was before the judges went through the appeal issues and dismissed them as "either waived or devoid of merit."

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Bernard Shero Loses Appeal

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

The state Superior Court has turned down Bernard Shero's request for a new trial.

In a 36-page decision posted online today, a panel of three Superior Court judges ruled that seven appeals issues raised by Shero at a hearing last Oct. 28th "are either waived or devoid of merit."

In their decision, the Superior Court judges affirmed the June 12, 2013 sentence imposed on Shero by Judge Ellen Ceisler. The judge sentenced Shero, 51, to 8 to 16 years in jail after he was convicted by a jury of rape of a child, attempted rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, endangering the welfare of a child, corruption of a minor, and indecent assault.

In its decision, the Superior Court judges did not address the appeal filed on behalf of Shero's co-defendant, Father Charles Engelhardt, except in a footnote to say that the priest's case is "currently pending before this court." Judge Ceisler sentenced Father Engelhardt to 6 to 12 years in jail after being convicted of endangering the welfare of a child, corruption of a minor and indecent assault.

The 67-year-old priest died in prison last November. In spite of his client's death, defense lawyer Michael J. McGovern, and Engelhardt's religious order, the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, had vowed to continue the appeal,  to clear the priest's name. But the courts aren't bound by such sentiments. When an appellant dies, a court can decide that since there's no longer any controversy, the appeal is "abated."

In the case of Father Engelhardt, it's not stated what the Superior Court will do with the priest's appeal. But in treating Shero's appeal separately, the Superior Court judges didn't do Shero any favors. Twice, the Superior Court judges ruled against Shero for raising appeal issues that applied only to Engelhardt.

Sentencings Delayed In FirstPlus Case

By George Anastasia
For Bigtrial.net

Mobster Nicodemo S. Scarfo and his partner-in-crime Salvatore Pelullo will have to wait two more months before they find out how much time they will be spending as guests of the federal government for their convictions in the FirstPlus Financial fraud case.

Sentencings originally set for this week before U.S. District Court Judge Robert Kugler in Camden have been pushed back to June in order for authorities to have more time to prepare what are expected to be detailed pre-sentence reports.

Scarfo, 49, and Pelullo, 47, are looking at jail time in the 20- to 30-year range. Both have prior convictions which enhance the guidelines used to determine the range of sentence in federal cases.

They each were convicted of more than 20 counts in the racketeering fraud case. The government charged that the pair took behind-the-scenes control of FirstPlus in 2007 and siphoned more than $12 million out of the Texas-based mortgage company through bogus business transactions and phony consulting contracts.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

As Sentencings Approach, A Look At Mob Ties In FirstPlus Case

By George Anastasia
Goodfellas Sal and Nicky Jr.
For Bigtrial.net

Unless there are some unforeseen developments -- and in this case that's always possible -- the hammer comes down next week in the multi-million dollar FirstPlus Financial fraud case.

Nicodemo S. Scarfo, Salvatore Pelullo and the brothers John and William Maxwell each have sentencing hearings before U.S. District Court Judge Robert Kugler in the same federal courtroom in Camden where a jury delivered guilty verdicts last year.

Scarfo, the 49-year-old son of jailed mob boss Nicodemo D. "Little Nicky" Scarfo, is looking at a sentence that could land him in prison for the better part of the rest of his life. The same can be said for Pelullo, 47, described as a mob associate and with Scarfo the brains behind the 2007 takeover and looting of the Texas-based mortgage company.

The Maxwell brothers -- John the CEO of FirstPlus and William a lawyer hired as private counsel by the firm -- were convicted of many of the same racketeering, conspiracy and fraud counts, but with no prior criminal convictions, they face less potential jail time. That, of course, is a relative term. A 10-year prison sentence might be considerably less than a 30-year sentence but is little solace to the defendant serving the 10 years.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Prosecutor Gets Hot Under Collar; Judge Slaps Him Down

Judge Eduardo C. Robreno
By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

They haven't picked a jury yet but the lawyers in the rogue cops case are already going at it.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony J. Wzorek today challenged defense lawyer Michael J. Diamondstein on his claim that the government may have perpetrated a fraud on a grand jury by putting a witness on the stand who perjured himself.

Turning toward Diamonstein and speaking in a loud voice, Wzorek told the defense lawyer, "We look forward to answering that." The prosecutor told Diamondstein that he and the other defense lawyers in the case could call him as a witness to see if those charges were true.

The prosecutor's baiting of the defense lawyers did not go over with U.S. District Court Judge Eduardo C. Robreno.

"Address the court," the judge snapped.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Rogue Cops Say Federal Witness Perjured Himself

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

On the eve of jury selection, a defense lawyer in the rogue cops case has tossed a live grenade.

On Sunday, Michael J. Diamondstein, the defense lawyer for former Police Officer John Speiser, filed a bombshell motion to quash the federal indictment of his client.

In the motion, Diamonstein charges there is ample evidence to prove that the only witness to implicate his client in a RICO conspiracy perjured himself when he testified before a grand jury.

The perjury, Diamonstein writes, was "easily and readily identifiable by the government's agents,"  but the feds chose to willfully ignore it, exhibiting a "reckless disregard for the truth."

If Diamondstein's charges are true, the feds were pretty sloppy. Diamondstein claims that before a witness identified as "C.C." perjured himself before the grand jury, the feds didn't bother to interview C.C. or check out any easily obtained court records that plainly show the government's witness is "an immoral, despicable and opportunistic liar."

Rufus, Rambo & Father Andy

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

The district attorney has until May 10 to decide, after two mistrials, whether to retry Father Andrew McCormick a third time for the alleged attempted rape of an altar boy.

On his twitter account, Rufus Seth Williams, our crusading district attorney, was remarkably low-key about the case. He briefly noted Father Andy's latest mistrial before deleting the tweet and moving on to more important things.

Like the D.A.'s call-in on the WIP morning show where he joked about subpoenaing Eagles Coach Chip Kelly to find out "where all these deals will lead us." And the D.A.'s comparison of himself to Rambo in the D.A.'s running feud with state Attorney General Kathleen Kane over whether to prosecute local pols caught in a sting operation. ["I find myself like John J. Rambo," the D.A. tweeted. "They drew first blood not me."]

Meanwhile, the "friends of Father Andy" have launched a petition drive online to "demand an end to the persecution of Father Andrew McCormick by the District Attorney of Philadelphia." Maybe Father Andy's friends are on to something. Like those tired Rocky and Rambo franchises it might be time to end the priest abuse trials in Philadelphia before we waste any more taxpayer money and have to suffer through any further embarrassments.

The Legal Battle Over Billy Doe's "Best Guy Friend"

Best guy pals Billy [left] and Leo
UPDATED
By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

When he last tracked Leo Omar Hernandez, Billy Doe's "best guy friend" had been ordered by a Common Pleas Court judge to testify at a deposition in the former altar boy's civil suit against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Judge Jacqueline F. Allen issued that order on Feb. 9th. The next day, Hernandez's lawyer filed a motion  seeking to quash the subpoena and grant an order of protection for Hernandez. That prompted Judge Allen on March 9th to vacate her previous order and schedule a hearing on Hernandez's new motion.

In his motion seeking a protective order, Francis Malofiy, the lawyer for Leo Omar Hernandez, alleged that his client was the victim of a conspiracy. Malofiy charged that Michael J. McGovern, attorney for the late Father Charles Engelhardt, was "viciously and publicly . . . defaming" Leo Hernandez on this blog, as well as "conspiring to obtain Hernandez's confidential medical, psychiatric and personnel records."

If Hernandez was ordered to give a deposition, it would "cause him further annoyance, harassment, embarrassment and humiliation," Malofiy argued. Furthermore, Malofiy charged that McGovern's conduct was "tantamount to blatant witness intimidation."

In a response filed March 12 by Thomas R. Hurd, McGovern's law partner, dismissed Malofiy's claims as a "litany of vitriol" spewing charges that were "wholly unwarranted and unfounded."

Meanwhile, Nicholas M. Centrella, the attorney for the archdiocese, has weighed in. Because Hernandez was the only witness that Billy Doe told his story to, Centrella argued in a response filed March 12, Hernandez possesses "truly unique information."  Therefore, the archdiocese should have the right to depose Hernandez in a civil deposition to "explore his credibility," Centrella wrote.

UPDATE: On March 12, Judge Allen entered a one-sentence order denying Hernandez's motion to quash the subpoena and grant a protective order; a decision posted on the court docket on March 17th.

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Shotgun Approach Misfires

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

On Monday, the prosecutor in the rogue cops case asked the judge to drop a couple of charges from their big indictment after one of the government's alleged victims of police misconduct got busted for drug dealing.

This morning, the U.S. Attorney's office filed a motion to dismiss another couple of charges from the indictment, along with some episodes of alleged police misconduct, presumably because another alleged victim had gone south.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's office had no comment on what's gone wrong in the case where they're scheduled to pick a jury starting Tuesday. A defense lawyer, however, had a few things to say.

"It's not unusual when the government takes a shotgun approach to a case pre-trial and a lot of the charges are reaches, for some of their evidence to implode," said Jeffrey M. Miller, the defense lawyer representing former Police Officer Thomas Liciardello.

Liciardello is currently held without bail in the Special Housing Unit, AKA the SHU and "the hole."

Liciardello, the feds claim, is the alleged ringleader of a band of six rogue cops that allegedly stole more than $500,000 in cash, drugs and personal property from drug dealers. While they were on their robbery spree, the feds charge, the rogue cops beat and kidnapped hapless drug dealers in addition to falsifying police records to cover up their alleged misconduct.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Father Andy's Big Gamble Pays Off

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

Before he went to trial a second time, Father Andrew McCormick had a big decision to make.

The D.A., according to sources, was offering a pretty sweet deal. If Father Andy pleaded guilty to all the charges, he would be put on probation for five years and not have to serve a day of jail time. He would, however, have to register as a sex offender under Megan's Law.

As a Roman Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing a 10-year-old altar boy, Father Andy's chances of beating the rap looked pretty grim. If convicted on five sex charges, the 59-year-old priest was facing a prison term of 25 to 50 years, meaning he was going to die in jail.

According to sources, Father Andy turned down the deal, saying he was innocent and that his fate was in God's hands. No wonder Father Andy and his supporters, which included a couple of nuns, were often seen in the hallway outside the courtroom praying the rosary.

Today, the second trial of Father Andy wound up just like the first, with a hung jury. Just as she did on March 12, 2014, Judge Gwendolyn N. Bright had to declare a mistrial after a jury announced it was hopelessly deadlocked. Last year, the jury deadlocked after 4 1/2 days of deliberations. This time, one day short of a full year later, the jury deadlocked after three full days of deliberations.

The judge also announced that she was keeping in place a suffocating gag order for another 30 days, to give the district attorney time to decide whether to retry Father Andy a third time.

Is anybody really up for that? There were a few early signs that the answer might be no.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Father Andy Jury At Impasse

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

Shortly before 3 p.m. today the jury in the Father Andy sex abuse trial sent a note to the judge saying they were at an impasse and could not reconcile their differences.

When the jury assembled in front of Judge Gwendolyn N. Bright, she asked if there was any confusion in their minds about the law that she could address.

"I do not believe so," the jury foreman said.

The judge asked if the jury were to continue deliberating was there any chance that they could reach a unanimous verdict?

"I would not believe so," the foreman said.

Joe Mastronardo Gets Personal

By George Anastasia
For Bigtrial.net

Joe Mastronardo said he tried not to take the gambling case that has landed him and his father in jail personal.

But he said Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Bologna took it there during a sentencing hearing earlier this month.

"He stood up, looked at me and said, 'Don't be like your father,' " said Mastronardo. "I thought that was petty and unprofessional ... If I turn out to be half the man my father is that would mean I'm an exceptional human being."

"My father is the greatest, smartest, toughest guy in the world ... My dad told Nicky Scarfo to go fuck himself? Who does that? My father's got a big set of balls."

Monday, March 9, 2015

An FBI Sting That Went Awry

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

On April 10, 2012, a squad of Philadelphia narcotics officers pulled over a suspected drug dealer.

Unbeknownst to the cops, the drug dealer was an undercover FBI agent  driving around with $8,600 in cash. The feds were hoping that the Philly narcs would search his car and steal the money but it never happened.

"The sting exploded in their face," defense lawyer Jeffrey Miller told U.S. District Court Judge Eduardo C. Robreno, because the narcs turned over every cent.

Miller represents former Police Officer Thomas Liciardello, the man the feds say was the alleged ringleader of a band of six rogue cops. The rogue cops, the feds say, stole more than $500,000 in cash, drugs and personal property from drug dealers while allegedly beating and kidnapping them, and falsifying police records to cover it up.

At a pre-trial conference, Miller told the judge that he and five other defense lawyers in the case scheduled to begin later this month want the feds to play that undercover video for the jury, so they can see how the sting went south.

"We want the evidence in," Miller told the judge.

The Rosary Outside Courtroom 1102

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

In the hallway outside Courtroom 1102 at the Criminal Justice Center, a couple of nuns in full habit and some devout Catholics were praying the rosary with "Father Andy."

While a jury deliberates the priest's fate, Father Andrew McCormick and his loyal supporters maintained a prayer vigil, sending up plenty of Hail Marys.

Early today, it looked like Father Andy would need a miracle to stay out jail.

The jury came back with a question for the judge that sent panic through Father Andy's supporters. The jury asked Judge Gwendolyn N. Bright if the testimony of the alleged victim alone would be sufficient to convict Father Andy of sex abuse charges. The judge responded that if the jury believed the alleged victim's testimony beyond a reasonable doubt it would be sufficient to convict the defendant.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Father Andy's Lawyer Puts District Attorney On Trial

Machiavelli
By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

Father Andy's defense lawyer put the district attorney on trial today, arguing that in order to put a Catholic priest in jail, the D.A. had decided that the ends justified the means.

Trevan Borum, Father Andy's lawyer, ripped the D.A.'s office for not doing their homework. Instead of old-fashioned detective work, Borum said, the D.A. relied on a blatant appeal to emotion.

"Do not decide this case based on sympathy," Borum told the jury. He asked the jury to recall how many times he had objected to questions from the prosecutor "designed to evoke an emotional response" from a witness.

Borum asked the jury to recall how many times they had to leave the courtroom because a witness started sobbing after being asked an "improper question" by the prosecutor.

The capper came when Assistant District Attorney Kristen Kemp did her closing and seemed to be going out of her way to prove Borum's point. Only a guilty verdict, she told the jury of ten women and two men, would take away the alleged victim's pain. Only a guilty verdict, she said, would assuage the guilt of the victim's mother and father, who wouldn't let the victim quit being an altar boy because they didn't know what Father Andy had done. And what about the alleged victim's cousin, Kemp asked. How do you think she feels? When the cousin was 11 years old, Kemp said, the altar boy told her about the abuse. Eighteen years later, Kemp said, the cousin still feels guilty about not telling anybody.

Holy guilt trip! In the front row of the jury some women looked stricken; one juror dabbed her eyes. Meanwhile, Juror No. 2 was watching the victim, his head bowed, sitting next to his sobbing mother.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Deer In The Headlights

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

Judge Gwendolyn N. Bright asked Father Andrew McCormick if he was making his decision not to testify in his own defense of his own free will.

"I am," the 59-year-old priest said.

It was the only time "Father Andy" has spoken in the courtroom since he pleaded not guilty to five sex abuse charges.

The jury did not hear Father Andy's brief answers; they were in the back room on a break. And when it comes time to decide the priest's fate, the jury of 10 women and two men will have to try and reach a verdict without ever hearing a word from the defendant other than his repeated plea of "Not Guilty."

Defense lawyer Trevan Borum told the judge that the decision for the defendant to not take the witness stand was "based on the Commonwealth's evidence," or presumably lack thereof. There is no physical evidence in the case, only the words of the alleged victim about an incident that supposedly happened behind closed doors of a church rectory 18 years ago.

But another factor in Borum's decision had to be Father Andy's disastrous performance on the witness stand a year ago during his first trial. William J. Brennan, Father Andy's previous defense lawyer, conceded to that jury in his closing that Father Andy was "a bit of an awkward guy" who turned "beet red" on the witness stand and generally looked like "a deer in the headlights."

In Father Andy the sequel, the deer in the headlights has been written out of the script.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Battle Of The Altar Boys

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

A couple of former altar boys duked it out in court today.

Testifying for the prosecution in the Father Andy sex abuse case was Adam Visconto, 28.

He's a special education administrative assistant who says that 15 years ago Father Andy creeped him out by attempting to lure Visconto and another altar boy down to the church basement for a secret rendezvous.

Visconto claimed that he and another altar boy, Steve Dozier, were so afraid that they ran to the parish school at St. John Cantius for safety. Visconto said that after he and Dozier told Visconto's mother and a teacher what happened, the women advised the two altar boys to run home to Adam's house and lock the door.

But the defense put their first witness on the stand today -- Steve Dozier. He's a former altar boy who's now a Pennsylvania State Trooper. And Trooper Dozier told the jury today that Visconto's story about running away to hide from Father Andy never happened.

Father Andy is a good guy who's just a "really friendly priest," the state trooper told the jury.

Guess Who's Back? The Dog In the D.A.'s Dog And Pony Show

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

It's a real dog of a case but the district attorney seems intent on retrying it.

On June 22, 2012, in the case of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Father James J. Brennan, a jury deadlocked 11-1 in favor of acquitting Father Brennan of attempted rape.

The same jury convicted Msgr. William J. Lynn on one count of endangering the welfare of a child.

The historic conviction of the monsignor became the show pony for D.A. Seth Williams, as Lynn was the first Catholic administrator in the country to go to jail for the sexual sins of the clergy. Meanwhile, the dog in the D.A.'s dog and pony show -- the Father Brennan case -- had to disappear for a few years.

Yesterday in Courtroom 1102 of Common Pleas Court, Judge Gwendolyn N. Bright set a retrial date for the Father Brennan case of Jan. 4, 2016. None of the lawyers involved in the case are talking publicly in the event that the judge may restore a former gag order. But with all the delays and credibility problems with the D.A.'s star witness, you have to wonder whether the retrial in the Father Brennan case will ever really happen.

Monday, March 2, 2015

"Pop" To The Rescue

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

A tearful mom and a cagey grandfather took turns today going after "Father Andy."

The mother of the alleged victim in the Father Andrew McCormick sex abuse case sobbed her way through  testimony about her tortured altar boy son who used to pull his hair out and try to hang himself in a closet.

She was followed to the witness stand by her father, a retired silver-haired detective who looks like Matlock.

The alleged victim wouldn't tell his mother what went down between him and Father Andy. But it was "Pop" who took a hysterical call from his daughter, coaxed the whole story out of his nerve-racked grandson, and then announced to his family, "We're going to the police."

Up on the witness stand, Pop wasn't shedding any tears. He clearly had Father Andy targeted for a jail cell.

Galati Sentenced In Murder-For-Hire Case

By George Anastasia
For Bigtrial.net

Ron Galati, the South Philadelphia auto body shop operator with a Godfather complex, was sentenced to nearly 23 years in federal prison this morning in a convoluted murder-for-hire case that was more suited for Mob Wives than Mario Puzo's classic American Mafia saga.

Citing the "callous" nature of the crime, but acknowledging Galati's age (64) and health problems, Judge Joseph Rodriguez imposed a sentence of 271 months, less than the maximum 308-month sentence sought by prosecutors but considerably more than the "home confinement" Galati's defense attorney had asked for.

No one from Galati's family attended the sentencing hearing and Galati, dressed in a green prison jump suit, his toupee neatly in place, opted not to comment when asked by the judge if he had anything to say.

 

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