Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Prosecutor delivers closing arguments in Chicago mob trial

Prosecutor delivers closing arguments in Chicago mob trial

A federal prosecutor told jurors in Chicago's biggest mob trial in years that they have an easy job ahead of them because evidence proves the five defendants are "guilty many times over."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Markus Funk, delivering closing arguments Monday for the government, acknowledged that jurors had heard an overwhelming amount of testimony since the trial began in June.
But Funk urged the panel not to forget the terror that each of 18 victims experienced "in their last moments on earth." The long-unsolved killing are a major cornerstone of the case.
Along with the 18 murders, the defendants are accused of taking part in a conspiracy that included illegal gambling, loan sharking and extortion. They are reputed mobster Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, 78; convicted loan shark Frank Calabrese Sr., 70; convicted jewel thief Paul Schiro, 70; reputed mob boss James Marcello, 65; and retired Chicago policeman Anthony Doyle, 62.
Both Calabrese's son and brother testified against him.
Frank Jr. secretly recorded conversations with his father that, while heavily loaded with code words, prosecutors maintain gave jurors a look into the inner workings of the Chicago Outfit, as the city's organized crime family calls itself.
The brother, Nicholas Calabrese, is an admitted mob hit man who took the stand as the government's star witness. He testified that Frank Calabrese Sr. led a ruthless wave of murder aimed at silencing government witnesses and rebels from within organized crime.
But Nicholas Calabrese also admitted in taking part in a number of the killings as well.
Funk acknowledged that that Nicholas Calabrese was an unsettling man to have on the witness stand: "It's hard to come up with somebody more cold-hearted than that." But he said prosecutors couldn't hold a "casting call" for upstanding citizens to testify when prosecuting mobsters.
"The reality is, as the old saying goes, swans don't swim in the sewer," he said "... If you want to figure out how the mob (works), you go to a mobster."
Doyle, Lombardo and Frank Calabrese Sr. took the stand in their own defense.
Calabrese said he never joined the mob but admitted to doing business with Outfit members and hung around with them. As to the details of a mob initiation ceremony he told his son about, Calabrese said he learned that from a book and movie about a New York mobster.
The wisecracking Lombardo claimed he learned all he knows about the mob at the movies. He said he once ran a dice game and knew reputed mobsters but never was a member of organized crime or the leader of one of the Chicago mob's "street crews" as authorities allege.
Funk spent some time ridiculing their claims in sarcastic tones to the jury.
"It would be humorous if it wasn't so tragic," he said regarding an explanation Lombardo gave to being linked to a police scanner found in a car connected to a murder.
But Funk spent most of Monday afternoon detailing what he called the "grimmest chapter" of the indictment _ the often gruesome details of more than a dozen killings, and how the government alleges various defendants are tied to the crimes.
For some, he replayed tapes of conversations Frank Calabrese Jr. recorded with his father.
For others, Funk picked details to jog jurors' memories _ how one victim was reported to have said "I'm not going to jail by myself," before he was strangled and had his throat slashed, his naked body dumped in a hole at a construction site.
Two other victims were allegedly lured to a closed restaurant, made to appear open by a lit-up beer sign in the window and a jukebox playing "Strangers In the Night." The men were beaten, strangled and had their throats slashed before their bodies were dumped in the back seat of one of their cars, Funk said.
The prosecutions' closing arguments are scheduled to continue Tuesday morning.
That's when prosecutors will likely seek to refresh the jurors' memories of the trial's most high-profile death _ that of Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, who was beaten to death along with his brother, Michael, and buried in an Indiana cornfield.
Tony Spilotro, known as the mob's man in Las Vegas, was the inspiration for the Joe Pesci character in the 1995 movie "Casino." In the film, Pesci's character was beaten with bats and buried alive.


Updated : 2021-05-10 06:55 GMT+08:00