Sunday, April 3, 2016

Battaglini Gets Another Day In Court

By George Anastasia
For BigTrial.net

Gary Battaglini's never been to law school but the one-time South Philadelphia bookmaker has apparently learned to speak legalese.

And speak it fairly well.

Filing motions on his own behalf, Battaglini has won the right to an evidentiary hearing that he hopes will result in either his conviction being overturned or will earn him a reduced sentence or a new trial.

If you're taking book on it, make it a longshot. But that hasn't stopped the soft spoken but street-savvy Battaglini from trying. The hearing, on his rule 2255 motion, is tentatively set for Thursday morning before Judge Eduardo Robreno who presided over the mob racketeering trial in 2012 that ended with Battaglini, 54, and three others being convicted. Battaglini was sentenced to eight years.

As he had throughout the trial, Battaglini from prison has continued to insist that his conviction was without merit and that he was swept away in an anti-Mafia prosecution in which the feds played fast and loose with the rules.

Among other things, inmate Battaglini, from his prison cell, filed a civil against his chief prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Labor 3d, and FBI Agent John Augustine alleging they withheld and distorted evidence that could have resulted in his acquittal.

In a move that demonstrated the legal equivalent of chutzpah, Battaglini sought $1.5 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. The suit was dismissed as baseless shortly after it was filed.


But the issues remain part of Battaglini's ongoing legal battle. Whether he and his recently appointed attorney Hope Lefeber are able to fold them into the scheduled hearing could be problematic. Judge Robreno has limited the hearing to just one of six issues raised in a brief filed by Battaglini more
than a year ago.

The hearing is set to determine whether Battaglini's trial lawyer, Lawrence O'Connor, provided ineffective counsel by failing to file a timely notice of appeal after the convictions were announced on Feb. 5, 2013.

The government contends the issue is fairly straight forward. O'Connor never filed a notice of appeal because "Battaglini never directed him to do so." Battaglini, of course, disputes that contention.

The other issues on "ineffective counsel" focus on witnesses, government actions and the failure of his defense attorney to raise issues and objections during the trial. Those seem to be off point in terms of the timely filing of an appeal notice, but in an broader sense outline what that appeal might have been based on.

Robreno rejected most of the arguments during trial, but that's what an appeal process is all about. Battaglini is arguing that he never got the chance to take his case to a higher court.

In his motion, he cites several specific issues, including the failure of his defense attorney to challenge the credibility of government witness Michael Orlando and the admission of tapes from another government cooperator, Peter Albo, who was not called as a witness.

Orlando, whose testimony was interrupted when he was briefly hospitalized, was described by the defense as a one-time drug abuser who was saying whatever the government wanted him to say in order to avoid prosecution for his own criminal activities.

In his motion, Battaglini contended that from the witness stand Orlando was "free to weave any tale attendant to a smorgasbord of uncorroborated assertions, including that Battaglini was a bookmaker and loanshark...and that Battaglini boasted to the witness his mob association."

He also argued that his defense failed to make a distinction between a $5,000 debt Orlando owed to mobster Steven Mazzone and a $500 "legitimate" loan that Orlando owed to Battaglini.

Battaglini said the evidence showed that he only "advised" Orlando to pay the mob debt and that the $500 loan "was a legitimate debt having nothing to do with mob activities." He also pointed out that while Orlando claimed to know Battaglini, Orlando failed to identify him on three different occasions while on the witness stand.

Just as detrimental to his defense, Battaglini said, was his attorney's failure to attack the tape conversations of government cooperator Peter Albo who was not called to testify, but who had secretly recorded a series of conversations that were introduced as evidence.

Like Orlando, Albo was described as in debt to the mob. Why he was not called as a witness is at the heart of Battaglini's argument. He contends that only after all the Albo tapes were played for the jury through the testimony of FBI Agent John Augustine did the government disclose that during the trial -- in fact while the tapes were being played in court  -- Albo recanted two key points in a debriefing with the FBI.

That, Battaglini implies, is the reason Albo was never called to the stand, even though he was listed as a potential witness. An FBI memo of the debriefing, which was provided later in the trial, notes that "Albo directly contradicts, more or less, all of the information that he provided the government over the course of this investigation."

Written by Augustine, the memo noted that Albo said he never felt threatened by either Battaglini or Louis Barretta, another bookmaker who pleaded guilty to gambling charges. What's more, he recanted an earlier statement that Barretta was a mob associate, claiming instead that Barretta "liked to throw names around."

The FBI memo, a so-called 302, is reprinted here in full:

During the interview of PETER ALBO on November 19, 2012, ALBO made a number of statements to the investigating agent and to Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Frank Labor, which were contradictory to previous statements and information provided to the Government by ALBO from 2002 up until that 11/19/2012 interview. The contradictory statements made by ALBO are summarized as follows:
1. ALBO now stated that he never felt personally threatened by GARY BATTAGLNI or LOUIS BARRETTA as a result of demands to ALBO that he repay the sports betting debt he incurred in 2002. This statement contradicts numerous previous statements made by ALBO to the investigating agent in which ALBO expressed significant concern for his personal safety due to the fact that he was threatened to repay this debt. 
2. ALBO now stated that he was unaware of LOUIS BARRETTA'S association with Philadelphia organized crime. ALBO stated that BARRETTA 'liked to throw names around," when questions about BARRETTA'S affiliation with Philadelphia LCN member STEVEN MAZZONE. These statements contradict numerous previous statements made by ALBO to the investigating agent in which ALBO directly linked BARRETTA to MAZZONE and advised that BARRETTA was running a bookmaking operations on MAZZONE'S behalf while MAZZONE was incarcerated.
The investigating agent noted that these statements contradict not only ALBO'S previous statements, but also voluminous evidence including recorded statements made by ALBO, BATTAGLINI and BARRETTA during the period of investigation. 

Battaglini argued that the defense was not informed of the recantation memo until Nov. 27, 2012, even though the interview occurred on Nov. 19, 2012. During this time the trial was underway and Augustine was testifying about tapes Albo had made.
 
Labor, Battaglini contended in his legal brief, "sought to cover up or smooth over this wrinkle in his case by failing to mention it until every iota of Albo evidence was back-doored" through the testimony of Augustine and another FBI agent. That, he contended, should have been grounds for a defense motion barring the Albo takes or a motion for a mistrial.

In fact, Robreno had heard defense arguments to that effect, but allowed the tapes to be played. Again, while Robreno's ruling seems to undermine a part of Battaglini's ineffective counsel argument, the issue of the Albo tapes would certainly have been part of an appeal had it been filed.
 
Three other defendants convicted with Battaglini raised similar appeal issues which were rejected. Earlier this year, a Third Circuit Appellate Court panel denied appeal motions filed on behalf of mob underbosss Joseph "Mousie Massimino, mob capo Anthony Staino and mob soldier Damion Canalichio and ruled that their convictions should stand.
 
Three other defendants in the case, mob boss Joseph Ligambi, mob capo Joseph "Scoops" Licata, and mob leader George Borgesi, beat the charges.
 
Battaglini was the only defendant not described as a made member of the Philadelphia crime family. Prosecutor's labeled him as an associate, a description that Battaglini disputed.
 
At one point in his brief he argued that, "It was Battaglni's position that, however illegal, his taking of sports bets was an individual activity and not part of a mob enterprise." For that reason as well, Battaglini argued that his lawyer failed to object to a closing argument by Assistant U. S. Attorney John Han in which Han said the defense had conceded "these seven defendants are all associated with the Philly mob."
 
Battaglini said his defense never conceded that issue and that there should have been a strong objection to that characterization.
 
The prosecution contends, however, that Battaglini's lawyer provided him with a defense on all the issues raised and that the judge considered and rejected the issues being raised again. There was more than enough evidence to warrant a conviction, prosecutors argue, including Battaglini's own words in a secretly recorded conversation with one of the deadbeat gamblers who owed money to the mob.
 
"You're about to see a side of me you ain't gonna fucking enjoy," Battaglini said as the tape picked up every word. "Cause right now I wanna fucking put a bullet in your head. Do you fucking understand me? Stevie's in jail. Stevie ain't got nothing to do with nothing no more. That book don't belong to him. They wiped all that stuff off the books...There's a new boss in town. It's Uncle Joe's book and everything gets kicked upstairs to him now. He don't want to know nothing. He just wants his money. That's all he wants, his fucking envelope and that's it."
 
George Anastasia can be reached at George@bigtrial.net
  

59 comments:

  1. Good article pal

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  2. Steven Mazzone Did Rat In Uncle Joe's Case! His Name Was All Over That Trial .And Also On All Of The Tapes!!! He Should Of Been On Trial Too.

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  3. That's The Truth!^

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  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  5. Your Right Stevie Mazzone Should Have Been On Trial. He Was Part Of A Investigation For Gambling.

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  6. Can't Trust No One!!! And They Say He's The UnderBoss! What A JOKE!!

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    Replies
    1. I HEAR BORGESI is the new top brass in town, not taking any orders from NOBODY!!!!

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  7. Yes He Is!! He's The Man!....

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  8. That's Why They Are The RATFELLAS!!! They Know Stevie Mazzone Made Statements!...

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  9. the feds are coming.

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  10. Does anyone know who won the ncaa pool at the U.S. attorneys office? Or they frown upon that....Asking for a friend

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  11. Listen Everybody Was Saying Stevie Mazzone Was Rating On Uncle Joe! Stevie Mazxone Did Not Want Uncle Joe Out!!! That's A Fact!....

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  12. Yeah Your Right He Was Going.Around Saying He Was The Boss!!! Trying Too Get Money From People! Everyone Chased Him....

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  13. Even Lou Sheep Want To Jail!!! Stevie Mazzones Partner! And Stevie Mazzone Didn't Go To Jail! Stevie Is A Rat!

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  14. I know this is off topic but are there any message board related to current Philly LCN topics?

    Sidenote I am amazed the Scarfo era guys back on the street for a few years now have not plowed the road the Skinny Joeys boys.

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  15. Scarfos Boys Don't Want Anything To Do With These Morons!!!!!!!

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  16. Mousie is doing 15 years n UJ Is walking down Jackson st...so does that make UJ a rat??

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  17. Noooooo Uncle Joe Was On Trial!! Dumbing!!!!^

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  18. Is Steven Mazzone A CI?

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  19. MILLION PERCENT!^

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  20. The feds are coming the feds are coming get ready freckles

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  21. George Borgesi captain not boss of Philly mob...never not in your lifetime is he the boss

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  22. Everybody Been Saying Stevie Mazzone Is A Rat!!!!

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  23. scarfo guys are a lot smarter then the rest of those guy. Right freckles right Lance. And don't forget Lucifer

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  24. What's The Difference The So Called Under Boss Is A Rat!!! Stevie Mazzone.

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  25. Steven Mazzone Put The Bookmaking Operations On Uncle Joe! That's Why Stevie Did Not Want Uncle Joe Out!

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  26. I Been Saying Stevie Mazzone Rated!!! When Uncle Joe Was On Trial!.....

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  27. Everybody Is Just Finding Out!!!
    Little Too Late!^

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  28. The Ratfellas!! Are A Disgrace!!!!

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  29. For the record, there is no indication that Steve Mazzone has ever cooperated with the government. He was convicted and served nearly 8 years in the 2001 case. For all you anonymous tough guys who like to throw gossip around, what do you have to back it up? This is almost as bad as the asinine sexual bs that gets thrown around here sometimes. Stick to commenting on the story and what's relevant. If not, we'll shut the comment section down again. Your call.

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  30. George A. We're Not Talking About.2001 We Are Talking About 2008 To 2012 When Uncle Joe Was Charged!!!! Steven Mazzone Was Part Of A Investigation! For Gambling. What Hell Are You Talking About!!!!?????

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  31. George A. Your Lost!!! We're Talking When Steven Mazzone Got Out In 2008 He Was Taking Action With Lou Sheep. All The Way Up Tell Uncle Joe Was Charged!

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  32. Thanks MR.ANASTASIA!! Your absolutely RIGHT!!!! AS FAR AS I'M CONCERNED SKINNY JOEYS CREW HAS BEEN MORE BOUND BY THE RULES THAN ANY OTHER FACTION SINCE BRUNO.

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  33. You people are all starstruck over a few low level street corner bookies ...sad!

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  34. Kire What World You Living In!!!!!!

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  35. I Sat In That Court Room And Uncle Joe's Lawyer Even Said That It Was Stevie Mazzone Gambling Book!

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  36. I'M NOT STEVIE MAZZONE GUY!!!!!!

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  37. Yes It's In The Transcripts.^

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  38. Hey George A. You Don't Have To Be A Tough Guy With Theses Chumps!!!

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  39. THAT'S WHY THIS MOB BULLSHIT IS OVER!!!

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  40. GEORGE hate to get a LITTLE of topic....but this gotti Jr. Thing about the 302 it's getting some ATTENTION!! Do you think his credibility is finished?

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    Replies
    1. Kylie...ur late to the party on that.

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  41. Kire Everything Comes Out In The Wash. You See What Stevie Mazzone Did!....

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  42. Faffy is almost out

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    Replies
    1. Soon Scarfo will come home...I think he'll be 103!!! VERY DETERMINED INDIVIDUAL.

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  43. Tell Him To Stay Away From Steven Mazzone!

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  44. he will not go near anyone

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  45. Scarfo is in a prison hospital suffering from cancer...word in tbe street is he has 6 months before he clocks out ....but he's little Nicky so who knows. ...

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  46. The Ratfellas Will Be Kissing And Hugging Stevie Mazzone You Can Bet On That!!!!,,,,,

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  47. SCARFO WOULD WIPE OUT ALL OF THESE CLOWNS!!!!!!

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  48. Scarfo for mayor! !!!

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  49. PHIL NARDUCCI IS THE MAN!!!!

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  50. Phil Narducci Is Backed By New York.

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  51. George A. STOP!! Picking Up For A RAT!!

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  52. is phil narducci still going in POPIS

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  53. Who cares? ?? I hate south philly. . Bunch of half ass wannabes

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