No Rat: Philly Mobster Cops Noncoop Deal


Gaeton Lucibello finalized a plea agreement that does not require him to rat out any of his near-dozen Cosa Nostra pals facing trial later this year, including the family's chieftain.

He won't testify about any alleged crimes committed by Philly mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi or any of the members of the Cosa Nostra organization he runs in Philadelphia.

Added David Fritchey, chief of the Organized Crime Strike Force in the U.S. Attorney's Office: "It's a noncooperation agreement."

Is every mobster in Philly, under indictment or not, breathing a collective sigh of relief? Probably -- probably definitely.

Lucibello, 59, whom prosecutors have said is a "long-standing soldier" in the Philadelphia crime family, has admitted to helping shake down a bookie and running two illegal video-poker machines as part of a racketeering conspiracy.

Lucibello, known as "Gate" and "the Big Guy," beat a federal racketeering charge in 1996 by testifying on his own behalf, which is not at all easy to accomplish. He likely faces between 50 and 60 months as per his plea agreement -- otherwise, he'd be looking at about 30 years in prison, which is what the guidelines provide for. Sentencing is scheduled for November.

Lucibello, a 59-year-old former ironworker, is a confirmed flip-flopper: he previously agreed to a plea deal, then backed out to roll the dice in a trial. Then he changed his mind again -- apparently it's not only a woman's prerogative anymore! --  even though the current deal apparently isn't much sweeter.

Boss Ligambi and his co-defendants — including high-ranking goodfellas Joseph Massimino, Anthony Staino, Marty Angelina and George Borgesi — are to go on trial in October.

Louis "Bent Finger Lou" Monacello has pleaded guilty and is expected to testify for the prosecution, reports.

"Uncle Joe" Ligambi is known as an old-school don
who brought the Philly family back from the brink.

Joseph Anthony "Uncle Joe" Ligambi (born August 9, 1939) is known to have a more "old school" management approach, especially compared to his predecessor, Joseph Merlino, who preferred a more flamboyant, Gotti-esque style.

Ligambi is credited with quietly stabilizing the formerly troubled Philadelphia-South Jersey branch of La Cosa Nostra.

The New York Mafia families are pleased as punch with Ligambi, who is an early riser not known for going out "bouncing" during the evening hours. He is in the five families' good graces especially for how he brought the Philadelphia borgata back from near extinction. Known as "a quietly powerful group," the Philly Mafia crews reportedly consist of about 60 made men.

Ligambi's laid back manner may owe something to the deadly volatility he faced back when he was an up-and-comer in the Philly mob.

Ligambi was inducted into the Philadelphia crime family in 1986 at the age of 47. The diminutive, but powerful and violent Nicodemo Scarfo was boss around that time after seizing the reins following the killing of longtime don Angelo Bruno.

Ligambi in those days was an associate of the Merlino brothers, who were close friends of Scarfo.