The Reputed Boss Of Philadelphia Cosa Nostra Probably Never Expected This

Judgement Day is coming -- and such an inconsequential one, reputed sitting Cosa Nostra boss Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino probably never saw it coming. Still you never know what's waiting round the corner...

Merlino, husband and wife, at January trial in Manhattan.

He will be sentenced on October 17 for his role in the East Coast LCN Enterprise case.

The guidelines call for a one- to two-year stretch in the can -- a skidbid for Merlino. ("You don't even take your socks off " for them, as Gambino capo Michael DiLeonardo once told Intelligent Talk radio show host Ralph W. McElvenny on City World Radio). The alleged sitting boss of the Philadelphia Mafia has faced life sentences.

Last Friday, Merlino’s defense attorney asked US District Court Judge Richard J. Sullivan to seal two letters from Merlino's Boca Raton, Florida, cardiologist. Defense attorney Edwin J. Jacobs Jr. of Atlantic City noted that the letter from the cardiologist contains “protected, sensitive and confidential medical information of the defendant.”

Merlino, 56, had previously obtained permission to travel to Pennsylvania to attend his god-daughter’s wedding, which was scheduled for last Sunday. Neither Merlino’s federal probation office nor U.S. prosecutors objected to the request.

Wiseguys should be inured to the skidbid, says Mikie Scars.

In April, Merlino pleaded guilty to a gambling charge. That followed his February trial on federal racketeering and conspiracy charges, which  ended in a hung jury.

Merlino has been on a hot streak, as a case that once seemed poised to obliterate the careers of a multitude of wiseguys has devolved —  as if transmogrified — into a seemingly endless embarrassment for both prosecutors and the FBI.

Why this happened, is the question to ask. Though it's not really the biggest question to pose right now. The East Coast LCN Enterprise case seemed doomed the moment Gang Land News brought to light certain allegations about two FBI agents and their supervisor, and the mishandling of turncoat evidence.

By offering Merlino the deal, prosecutors were essentially abandoning a years-long effort to convict Merlino of racketeering, health care fraud, loan-sharking, and other counts.

No less an authority than Judge Richard Sullivan sought to extract an answer from prosecutors about their reluctance to retry Merlino. In April in Manhattan federal court, speaking in unusually blunt terms, Sullivan queried prosecutors about their reluctance to retry the case.

Noting that “(I)n my experience prosecutors will try (this kind of) case again,” Sullivan asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Max Nicholas, “What makes this case exceptional?”

“Sheldon Silver is going on trial next week,” Sullivan added sarcastically, referencing the then-pending retrial of the former mighty New York Assembly Speaker.

“They should have called that one off too?”

Nicholas replied by noting that some decisions were made on a case-by-case basis. “It’s not personally satisfying as a lawyer to get a hung jury and plead the case out,” Nicholas added.

Sullivan didn’t really care about Nicholas’s personal satisfaction. “I don’t really care,” he said. “You assured me and the jury of ‘overwhelming evidence.’ Did something happen?”

Merlino was not only a member of the East Coast LCN Enterprise of mobsters from several crime families, he was one of three of its bosses,  prosecutors had initially alleged, indicting him for running credit card fraud schemes, selling illegal cigarettes, and running a gambling operation and a pain cream racket.

After his 2011 release from prison, they alleged, Merlino had returned to mob life after relocating to Florida.

And now, Merlino admitted only to “aiding and abetting a gambling business” that had bettors in Florida and New York.

So the really big question to now pose is when will the other shoe drop in Philadelphia, where something appears to be coming to a boil.

Aside from a reportedly repurposed FBI team investigating wiseguys in Philadelphia, where they even opened a social club, investigators in New Jersey also made a mob case back in March that laid bare several stunning revelations. The complaint  issued by investigators details what could potentially be pieces of a larger investigation into the Philadelphia Cosa Nostra family. 

Several unidentified wiseguys were caught directly in the probe, such as INDIVIDUAL 1 and INDIVDUAL 2, a capo. The Philadelphia hierarchy was mentioned directly. And two turncoats were primary players, one for years.