With defendants like outfit big shots Joey Lombardo, James Marcello and Frank Calabrese Sr., the 2007 “Family Secrets” trial was one of the biggest mob trials in Chicago history.
Now the defendants say their convictions should be thrown out.
Joey “The Clown” Lombardo, James Marcello and Frank Calabrese Sr. received life sentences, after prosecutors linked them to 18 Chicago Outfit murders, between 1970 and 1986.
Monday, in front of three appellate justices, the defendant's attorneys tried to get the convictions overturned.
“We feel very confident on these issues, we feel very good on the argument as it went today,” Lombardo’s attorney Frank Lipuma said.
Much of the argument focused on trial judge James Zagel's removal of a juror who believed she'd been threatened.
Defense attorneys said they should have been able to find out if the juror had conveyed her fears to other jurors before getting bounced.
“Maybe we would have seen that there were other jurors who also had the same fear,” Lipuma said. “Or things that were being discussed in the jury room that should not have been discussed.”
Prosecutors defended Judge Zagel's conduct, but Justice Diane Wood appeared sympathetic, saying Judge Zagel's conduct was, "an invitation to trouble."
Marcello's attorney also raised a double jeopardy argument.
“In the 1990's Mr. Marcello underwent a trial in this building that lasted a long time,” Atty. Marc Martin said. “He was convicted, of the very same offense for the very same allegations that were prosecuted in this case.”
Justice Wood also questioned why prosecutors used racketeering laws to prosecute murders that happened two or three decades ago, saying that a lot of the people in the U.S. attorneys office were probably in diapers when those murders occurred.