Philly Mob Trial Reaches Closing Statements

Philly boss 'Uncle Joe.'
From the Big Trial: A federal prosecutor urged jurors on Thursday to rely on dozens of secretly recorded conversations in finding mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi and six co-defendants guilty of racketeering conspiracy charges.

"Their words define them," Assistant U.S. Attorney John Han told the jury during a three and one-half hour closing argument that marked the start of the final phase of the ten-week old trial.

Han asked the jury to consider "the words that came out of the mouths" of Ligambi and most of the other defendants who he said had been "caught in the act of being themselves."

The secretly recorded conversations, from body wires worn by cooperating witnesses and from wiretapped conversations, were gathered during an investigation that began in 1999 and concluded with the indictment of Ligambi and the other defendants in May 2011.

The defendants are charged with gambling, loansharking and extortion that the government alleges were part of an ongoing racketeering conspiracy.

Han's methodical and detailed arguments were in sharp contrast to the highly charged, 35-minute closing by Joseph Santaguida, the lawyer for co-defendant and mob underboss Joseph "Mousie" Massimino.

Santaguida, his voice rising in anger and disdain, repeatedly told the jury that the government had failed to prove its case against his client and against any of the other defendants. He pleaded with the jury to decide the case "based on the evidence, or the lack of evicence, that came from the witness stand."

Closing arguments will continue from five other defense lawyers Friday.