Jury To Deliberate Chicago Mob Case

Tuesday, September 4th 2007, 7:11 am
By: News On 6

CHICAGO (AP) _ Prosecutors asked jurors to forget about ``The Godfather'' at the start of Chicago's biggest mob trial in years, but much of the dialogue still sounded straight from a Hollywood script.

Jurors heard from an admitted hit man, who would ``shoot you in the head over a cold ravioli,'' according to a defense attorney. They learned of a son who pretended to reconcile with his father, then secretly recorded their prison conversations _ including one about how men burned holy pictures in their cupped hands at the ceremony to become ``made'' guys.

Jurors were expected to begin deliberations Tuesday in the case against five defendants, all in their 60s or 70s.

Prosecutors say the men engaged in a racketeering conspiracy to benefit the Outfit _ as the city's organized crime family is known _ that allegedly included 18 long-unsolved murders, illegal gambling, loan sharking and extortion.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mitchell Mars told jurors in his closing arguments last week that the case was about ``the history of organized crime in Chicago.''

Jurors heard 10 weeks of dramatic testimony from witnesses and statements from attorneys. They listened to hours of audio tapes and saw dozens of photos of crime scenes, reputed Outfit members and victims.

The killings that prosecutors and witnesses detailed were often grisly, and included so-called friends allegedly luring friends to their deaths, and bodies buried at construction sites.

Those on trial are reputed mobster Joseph ``Joey the Clown'' Lombardo, 78; convicted loan shark Frank Calabrese, 70; convicted jewel thief Paul Schiro, 70; reputed mob boss James Marcello, 65; and retired Chicago policeman Anthony Doyle, 62.

Defense attorneys attacked the case as one built largely on the testimony of a hit man who admitted lying to authorities in the past and was only cooperating with the government now to escape the death penalty.

Lombardo, who lived up to his ``clown'' nickname by wisecracking on the stand, told jurors he's not a member of the Outfit and learned everything he knows about the mob from James Cagney and Edward G. Robinson movies.

Doyle testified that during a secretly recorded conversation with Calabrese in prison, he had agreed with much of what the prisoner wanted without knowing what it was, and that the code words Calabrese used were ``mind-boggling gibberish.''

Calabrese told jurors that he associated and did business with Outfit members, but insists that he never took the oath of a so-called made guy.

He had to endure the testimony of his brother Nicholas, who admitted participating in more than a dozen murders and placed his brother at seven killings. Nicholas Calabrese linked all the defendants except Doyle to a murder scene.

Nicholas Calabrese was labeled by defense attorney Joseph Lopez as a ``grim reaper,'' a ``walking piece of deception'' and a man who would kill you for serving him cold pasta.

Frank Calabrese also listened as prosecutors asked his namesake _ son Frank Calabrese Jr. _ to translate conversations with his father at a federal prison in Michigan where both were serving time for loan-sharking.

In one example, Calabrese Jr. told jurors that when his father described a mob associate as ``not a nice girl,'' that meant the man was cooperating with authorities.