Split verdict in Philadelphia mob trial

Feb. 6, 2013 at 1:54 AM

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Philadelphia jurors deliberated for almost a month before acquitting a reputed mob boss on five counts Tuesday and saying they could not agree on other charges.

Joseph Ligambi's attorney called the split verdict a "victory" for his client after an investigation that took more than 10 years, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

"It's a failure for the government," Edwin Jacobs Jr. said. "It was an enormous waste of precious taxpayer funds."

Three co-defendants, including Joseph "Mousie" Massimino, Ligambi's reputed second-in-command, were convicted of conspiracy and acquitted of specific crimes, including bookmaking and loan sharking. Joseph "Scoops" Licata, 71, who allegedly headed the Philadelphia mob's North Jersey operation, was acquitted of the only charge against him.

U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno declared a mistrial on four counts against Ligambi, including the most serious one, conspiracy to commit racketeering. He could face another trial.

Ligambi, a soft-spoken man known as "Uncle Joe," is the alleged heir to more flamboyant Philadelphia crime bosses such as Joey Merlino, Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo and Angelo Bruno.

The jury began deliberations Jan. 8 and spent a total of 21 days discussing the charges. On Tuesday they told the judge in a note they were "of unanimous opinion that no future headway can be made to resolve these charges."

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