After spending 2½ years in a federal jail, Philadelphia mob boss Joseph “Uncle Joe” Ligambi is coming home after prosecutors decided to drop their racketeering and gambling cases against the mobster following two failed prosecutions.
Prosecutors for the U.S. attorney’s office in Philadelphia filed a motion Monday to drop their case against Ligambi, 74, indicating that they won’t seek a third trial against the mob boss. A federal judge is expected to sign off on the motion, at which time Ligambi will be freed.
The case against Ligambi alleged that he threatened people with gambling debts and loans taken from the mob. They also accused the Philly mob boss of operating illegal poker machines in the area.
Edwin Jacobs Jr., Ligambi’s attorney, lamented that his client had been holed up in the Federal Detention Center without bail since May 2011 during two federal trials that did not end in convictions. Ligambi was facing charges of racketeering conspiracy, gambling, loan-sharking, theft of medical benefits and obstruction of justice. He was acquitted on six out of nine counts, and the jury was deadlocked on racketeering conspiracy -- the most serious charge against Ligambi.
"Two and a half years," Jacobs told the Philadelphia Daily News, adding that his client should be freed from prison in time to have lunch Tuesday as a free man. "Who the hell wants to stay in jail for 2½ years waiting for trial? We moved for bail both times and failed both times."
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“Finally, we have some good news,” added Ligambi’s son, Stephen Ligambi. “Of course we’re bitter that he had to sit in prison. The holding cells are worse than prison. But we’re going to focus on the positive. He’s coming home.”
Jacobs told the Associated Press that he didn’t think a third trial would result in a conviction.
"They have properly exercised their discretion," the lawyer said, according to the AP. "They have failed twice in their efforts to convict Joe, and I don't think they think the third time's the charm."