Joseph “Uncle Joe” Ligambi, 73-year-old, who is know as an American mobster and current boss of the Philadelphia crime family goes on trial on racketeering charges, according to CBS News.
Ligambi is credited by the Philadelphia Police Department’s Criminal Intelligence Unit to be “quietly bringing stability back to the troubled Philadelphia-South Jersey branch of La Cosa Nostra.” Ligambi had a no-show job with Top Job carting run by fellow Philadelphia crime family member, Msuro Goffredo.
Wikipedia say: ” Unlike many other gangsters who started their careers in crime as teenagers or young adults, Ligambi didn’t have a criminal record before age 32 when he was arrested for cigarette smuggling. In late 1970s, he started to associate himself with mobsters, namely Salvatore and Joseph Merlino. During that time, Ligambi gained a reputation as an expert in sports handicapping, particularly for football. He would later manage and sponsor a minor league softball team from Gino’s Cafe.
Ligambi became a made man in the Philadelphia crime family in 1986, at the age of 47, after participating in the 1985 murder of a wealthy gambler Frank D’Alfonso. At the time, the Philadelphia crime family was being run by the powerful, but violent, mobster Nicodemo Scarfo, who seized control after the death of longtime don Angelo Bruno and a series of other deaths, including that of Scarfo’s longtime friend Phil Testa, Bruno’s underboss.
In 1987 Ligambi was arrested, alongside then boss Nicodemo Scarfo and several others, for the murder of D’Alfonso. On April 5, 1989, Ligambi was convicted of the murder. After serving almost 10 years in prison, the conviction was overturned and a new trial was ordered.
In 1997, Ligambi returned to South Philadelphia. Upon his return, Ligambi was viewed as one of the few soldiers left from the Scarfo era, an era which saw the Philly family gain enormous power and wealth, despite its violent tendencies.
On May 23, 2011, Ligambi was arrested on racketeering charges in an FBI sweep. And six others charged in a federal racketeering indictment.
According to CBS News, “the case mostly involves gambling and loansharking activities, not the trademark violence that marked the mob in earlier eras.
But jurors will hear about La Cosa Nostra’s history, despite defense objections that the violent stories will prejudice the jury.
Ligambi’s attorney, Edwin Jacobs, scoffs at the government’s case — over a decade in the making, including thousands of recorded conversations, surveillance, undercover agents, and cooperating witnesses.
While conceding nothing, Jacobs says there was no violence — not even much tough talk.
“If there was any sport bookmaking, if there was any money lending, if there was any video poker violations, if there were, it had nothing to do with any big Mafia, La Cosa Nostra, racketeering conspiracy,” he said today. “They should have just charged a couple of guys with doing this and that and we would all be out of here in a week.”
But this trial is expected to last months. All the defendants have pleaded not guilty.