Philly Mob Expert Anastasia Turns to Blogging

Reporter-turned-blogger Anastasia has occasionally written
for Jerry Capeci's
George Anastasia, the Philadelphia Inquirer's resident mob expert/reporter for 38 years has left the newspaper to blog about Philly courtroom drama for, a new blog launched by prominent Philly attorney Jim Beasley, Jr.

We took an excerpt, below, from a Q&A that Five Families of New York City did with Anastasia; this segment involves the Ligambi trial in Philly:

This is the Philly mob’s biggest trial since Joey Merlino went down. Is it an exciting trial to cover?
I’ve covered a lot of these, and it is not as dramatic, partly because there are no murders. There’s no hit man turned government informant. This trial is really a picture of the mob in 2012. It’s a shadow of what it used to be. It’s all about greed and money and holding onto power, even though you don’t have as much power as you used to… I guess it’s always been about greed and money, but the money is a lot less today. If you want excitement, you’ve gotta go the 8th floor [of the courthouse]. That’s where they are taking forever to pick the Kaboni Savage jury. Twelve murders, and he’s already been convicted of being a cocaine kingpin. The Ligambi trial is the swan song for the traditional mob, but it doesn’t mean that the underworld is any safer. Kaboni Savage is the real gangster, not Joseph Ligambi.
You’ve been covering the Philly mob for decades. Anyone ever put a hit out on you?
John Stanfa put a hit out on me. I didn’t know it at the time. But he didn’t like the stuff I was writing. This was when he was the boss in the mid-1990s. But the guy who was supposed to come after me, Sergio Battaglia, he became a cooperating witness before he had a chance. He told me, “We were supposed to get some grenades and throw them through the window… it was nothing personal.” I said, “I have a wife and kids — that’s personal.” But you go after a reporter, and you just create more problems.
As an added attraction, we are including a lead in to Anastasia's first BigTrial blog post:

The Forgotten Man at the Mob Trial | Big Trial:

Every day around 4:30 Joseph "Scoops" Licata stands up, puts his hands behind his back and waits for a federal marshal to slap handcuffs on his wrists.

Then Licata and four other defendants who are being held without bail are led off to the Federal Detention Center in Philadelphia. The routine has been playing itself out for two months now at the racketeering conspiracy trial of mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi and six co-defendants (two are free on bail) in federal district court in Philadelphia.

One day this week, as Licata stood up, one of the many friends and family members of the defendants who gather in the 15th floor courtroom smiled and said, "Have a good nap Joe?"

Licata laughed and shook his head.

In many ways the white-haired, 71-year-old gangster is the forgotten man in the Ligambi trial. His name hasn't been mentioned in weeks of testimony. Often, and with the encouragement of his lawyer, he grabs catnaps.

He has frequently nodded off as witnesses and wiretapped conversations have been used by the prosecution to establish the sports betting, loansharking, extortion and illegal video poker machine operations that are at the heart of the case against Ligambi and his top associates.

Licata, who was based in Newark, played no role in those gambits....