Tags: philly | mob | boss | walks

Philly Mob Boss Walks on Federal Gambling, Racketeering Charges

Image: Philly Mob Boss Walks on Federal Gambling, Racketeering Charges

Tuesday, 28 Jan 2014 11:53 AM

By Michael Mullins

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A Philly mob boss acquitted last week learned on Tuesday that U.S. prosecutors will not pursue gambling and racketeering charges against him.

Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi had twice beaten similar charges and would have faced a third trial if federal prosecutors had not filed a motion seeking to dismiss the remaining counts.

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Ligambi's attorney, Ed Jacobs, praised the decision and said he expects his client to be released from a detention center Tuesday, though a judge still needs to sign off before the 74-year-old alleged mob boss can be set free, the Associated Press noted.

"They have properly exercised their discretion," Jacobs said. "They have failed twice in their efforts to convict Joe, and I don't think they think the third time's the charm."

A spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Zane Memeger declined comment.

The case against Ligambi was largely based on allegations that he had been involved in the collection of small gambling debts and loans, as well as the operation of video poker machines at neighborhood bars.

Prior to their decision to dismiss the remaining charges against Ligambi, prosecutor's had reportedly won convictions against several of the reputed mob boss' associates, including an underboss and enforcer, who were sentenced to 15 years and 11 years in prison respectively, the AP noted.

In last week's court decision a jury acquitted Ligambi of six of the nine counts against him, however reportedly remained deadlocked on the remaining three, which were subsequently dismissed by the prosecution.

Local Philadelphia ABC News affiliate WPVI-TV, reported that Ligambi allegedly assumed control over the city's La Cosa Nostra after his predecessor, Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, was convicted and sent to prison in 2001.

In closing remarks to reporters, Jacobs, who described the case against his client as a witch hunt, said the government ought to "put all this time and effort and money to better use chasing somebody else," WPVI-TV reported.

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