Who Said Terrorist? Fed's Howling Mad At Defense Attorneys For Philly Mobster Phil Narducci

Its a truism that wiseguys can win cases without fixing the jury.

Phil Narducci
Phil Narducci (Source: Gangster Report)

Having savvy lawyers always helps, but when the defendant's accusers have dirtier laundry than the defendant, then that defendant has a good shot.

Typically, when it's a former wiseguy testifying, he has his own colorful criminal history, and the particulars tend to obstruct whatever comes out of his mouth on the witness stand.

If he's suspected of committing worse crimes than the defendant, defense attorneys will have a field day highlighting that in great detail for each and every juror.

But if the accuser is perceived to be even worse than the guy on trial, jurors will probably be hard-pressed to convict, especially if the defendant is facing decades in prison.

On that note, Phil Narducci's attorneys seem to have hit the jackpot. (Narducci was arrested in Feburary.) They say that their client's chief accuser (a man they previously identified as a South Philadelphia barber/longtime FBI informant/Lebanese national) once had links to a group tied to Hezbollah, the Middle East terrorist organization.

In other words, Narducci's accuser, they say, is a Middle Eastern terrorist.

Prosecutors are attempting to keep that defense strategy out of court (they are moving to actually ban the word "terrorist") and are dismissing the maneuver as an underhanded attempt to smear a man's credibility. The Feds say that their witness was known to US intelligence (CIA?) as a trusted source for past operations. (We assume they mean covert ops... And they can discuss this in court?)

As per Philly.com: “They think they’re going to beat this case by saying he’s a terrorist to inflame the passions of the jury,” Assistant U.S. Attorney John S. Han said during a hearing last week before U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Savage. “Clearly, that’s their goal — make this case about terrorism, not about the facts of the case.”

Narducci’s lawyer, Brian J. McMonagle describes the witness as a “degenerate gambler” who owed serious money to Narducci that he couldn't pay, so he ran to the FBI.

“It’s unimaginable that the U.S. government would allow a terrorist to remain in the United States, allow him to use false pretenses to borrow money from business owners, indict the business owners, and hide from the jury the painful truth of this terrorist’s subterfuge,” McMonagle wrote in a court filing last month.

As per Philly.com, the witness is Rabih Masri.

"Masri’s identity was divulged on various gangland forums online and in public court filings in the months after Narducci’s arrest. As of Friday, many of the internet postings had been taken down, and Savage, the judge overseeing the case, had sealed documents that identified him."

Narducci is allegedly linked to three murders, including the 1985 hit on Frank (Frankie Flowers) D’Alfonso.

Since he got out of prison on racketeering charges in 2012, Narducci vows he has gone straight.

He runs his gastropub, Chick's, with his wife. The eatery is named after his father, Frank (Chickie) Narducci Sr.

Masri was among his regular customers who in January 2018 asked for his help — supposedly to pay for an organ transplant for his dying mother.

Narducci lent him $20,000 at an interest rate that prosecutors maintain was extortionate.

Masri began missing payments, and by October his debt has skyrocketed to $115,000.

Narducci became irate and allegedly dragged Masri into a back room at Chick’s, tried to force him to sign a notarized loan agreement, and when he refused began yelling and shoving him around.

As Masri tried to leave, Narducci threw him against a car, shoved his face into the windshield, accused him of being “a rat,” and told him to go cry to the FBI.

Which is exactly what he did.

As per Philly.com, the filings in Narducci’s case are rife with alleged threats Masri recorded over the next several months while wearing an FBI wire. But by that time, Narducci had turned to an associate, James Gallo, to help collect on the debt.

While wearing a wire, Masri recorded Gallo allegedly attempting to intimidate him repeatedly on Narducci’s behalf.

“He’s a killer, you ... idiot,” Gallo said of Narducci on Oct. 27, according to excerpts quoted in court papers. “He’s killed eight ... people.”

Narducci says Masri conned him by playing on his sympathies to get money to gamble. When he couldn’t repay it, he turned to the FBI to wriggle out of his debts.

During the period Masri was ducking Narducci, he also was recording his conversations with another man from whom he had borrowed money — John Florio, a 42-year-old South Philadelphia home renovator. Florio has been charged in a separate case with threatening the barber with a gun during an attempt to collect money he was owed.