Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Going In Circles At The Mob Trial

By George Anastasia

Gary Battaglini stood in the middle of the 15th floor hallway of the federal courthouse this afternoon and slowly turned in a circle. Once. Twice. Three times.

"This is where we're going," Battaglini, who along with mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi and five co-defendants, has now been waiting 15 days for a jury to decide his fate.

The jury wrapped things up at 4:30 p.m. without a decision and will be back at it again tomorrow morning.

"Who knows?" Battaglini, 51, said when asked  where he thought the process was. Then he slowly turned in a circle again.

Ligambi, 73, and his co-defendants are charged with racketeering conspiracy in a case built around a 12-year FBI investigation that began in 1999. The 52-count indictment also includes charges of gambling, loansharking and extortion.

To convict the defendants of the racketeering conspiracy count -- the most serious -- the jury would have to decide that the defendants knowingly engaged in plans to commit crimes on behalf of the criminal organization. Among other things, the defense has argued that even if their clients are guilty of individual crimes like bookmaking, the evidence does not support a finding that the crimes were part of a criminal enterprise.

The prosecution has argued that all seven defendants worked for and conspired on behalf of the Philadelphia Cosa Nostra.

Whether the conspiracy count is what has hung up the jury is an open question as the now marathon deliberation process continues. Three earlier mob racketeering cases, in 1988, in 1995 and in 2001,  that included murders and attempted murders were decided by juries that deliberated for about a week. This panel has deliberated for 15 days over what is now a three-week period.

The anonymously chosen panel finished the afternoon by asking for exhibits tied to video poker machines that were seized by law enforcement during the course of the investigation of Ligambi and the others. They will be provide when deliberations resume tomorrow morning.

The jury asked for similar exhibits a few days after deliberations began on Jan. 8, leading to speculation that the panel has indeed come full circle. But whether the eight men and four women on the jury are any closer to reaching a verdict remained the unanswered and bewildering question.

"I've never seen anything like this," said one veteran defense attorney.

The defendants and their friends and family members seemed upbeat this afternoon. Anthony Staino, who like Battaglini is free on bail (Ligambi and the others are not) said he believes the jury has split into two factions, one favoring convictions and the other acquittals. But he said he believes the longer the deliberations take, the better it is for the defense.

Most lawyers agreed that the lenghty deliberations raised questions about the govenment's case, but no one will predict where the process will eventually lead. Adding to everyone's concern was a question posed by a few jury members concerned about deliberations this weekend.

Judge Eduardo Robreno told the jury on Monday that if it did not reach a verdict by Friday he would have the panel deliberate Saturday and Sunday. To date the panel has only been meeting on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Sunday is the Super Bowl. According to several courtroom sources, a few jurors have balked at the idea of working on the weekend, claiming it would create a "hardship." What the hardship would be has not been disclosed.

But more problematic is the fact that jurors were even posing the question, an indication that at least some of them believe they will not be finished deliberations by Friday.

At what point does a jury decide that it is hung? That was the question circulating in the hallway as Battaglini slowly twisted in a circle.

George Anastasia can be contacted at


  1. This case is ridiculous! The prosecutors want to put these guys away for the rest of their lives for nothing. They make these guys out to be horrible people because they play tapes of conversations that half the world says everyday in anger or playing around. Everything gets twisted around here or there. They are not horrible guys even though it may seem that way because thats what the prosecutors make them out to be. If you know them personally you know they are Great guys. They don't hurt people and they would help you any way they could. I could speak personally and proudly about Joseph Massimino and Joseph Lagambi. You don't know them ! I do! The Goverment and prosecutors are the real criminals. Hopefully the jurors are real people and see through this nonsense! Not Guilty!!

  2. This case is ridiculous as you said, and the jury is even worse...these guys should be home on sunday to watch the superbowl and then maybe have to worry about the recent murder down there

  3. They should be home for Sunday but they have Nothing to do with the murder that happened recently. These guys are in there fighting for their lives . Anything that happens right away they had something to do with it. That's the problem with this system. All the guys that are testifying against them are Scumbags!. LOUIE THE BENT FINGER got caught in so many lies on the stand it's ridiculous! Kirk is a Scumbag! And the guys that sold the machines are liars. The problem is The F.B.I. goes after them guys, scares them to death and makes them lie about everyone else and then sets the murderers and the rest of them free. Yea! That's justice! Its amazing that the goverment can do what ever they want. Even George who writes these blogs knows these guys aren't bad guys. He's been around long enough to know that. These guys aren't a danger to the community as the prosecuters say. They held all these guys with no bail all this time and they are Loved in their community! But meanwhile , Jerry Sandusky the child molester and all the other child molesters and rapest get bail. INCREDIBLE!!!! THE GOVERNMENT has their priorities mixed up!!!!

    1. They may have had nothing to do with the recent murder but that guy knows a lot that has gone on

  4. How do you know? And whats the difference? Everybody down here knows what goes on. Whats that mean. The only one responsible for the murder is the one who pulled the trigger. Nobody makes anybody do anything. People do things on their own. And just because someone was arrested for the murder doesn't mean he did it either. That's yet to be proven. Everybody wants to blame everybody else for the the things they do. If you knew something that someone did does that mean that you should be in trouble for it? I don't think so!!!

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  6. I know what you did and still do.. You have alot to say on here but dont even spell names right..

  7. Let me guess grosso your a wise guy too?

  8. You don't know me. And I don't hide who I am. I don't care what you know. You hide behind the name south philly. You can say whatever you want. I'm me not a wise guy. If you really knew me you wouldn't have made that comment. I work at the same place everyday so say whatever you want. Let me guess you're a Scumbag too! I guess I'm Right!

  9. Point is niccodemo does know stuff that has gone on and is looking at a murder charge, a death sentence or life in prison make people talk


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