Sunday, April 05, 2009

How Blagojevich Case Compares to the landmark Chicago Mob Trial-Family Secrets: A Look at the Facts

What's the difference between Blagojevich's case and the recent massive Chicago Mob trial? Well there's more similarities than meets the eye.The Chicago Tribune reports:
Fresh off handling one of Chicago's biggest mob cases in decades, U.S. District Judge James Zagel will preside over the corruption case against former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

And it's no accident.

Normally, prosecutors would have issued a new indictment against Blagojevich and a circle of aides, prompting the case to be randomly assigned to a judge.

But instead prosecutors on Thursday added the former governor and four top associates to an existing indictment against Springfield power broker William Cellini. That ensured that Blagojevich would be tried before Zagel, who was randomly assigned the Cellini case when it was filed last fall.
The big mob trial was the infamous Family Secrets trial which the Chicago Sun-Times reported on the convictions in 2007:
A federal jury in Chicago returned guilty verdicts this afternoon on all counts — including key racketeering and conspiracy charges — against all five defendants in the historic Family Secrets mob case.

The case involves some of the reputed top leaders in the Chicago mob, including Joseph “Joey the Clown” Lombardo and James “Little Jimmy” Marcello, as well as reputed mob hitman Frank Calabrese Sr., the Outfit’s alleged man in Phoenix, Paul Schiro, and retired Chicago Police Officer Anthony “Twan” Doyle, accused of helping the Outfit find a snitch.
So,lets compare the Blago case with Family Secrets case and some interesting facts:

1)Family Secrets judge: Judge James Zagel
Blago Enterprise judge:Judge James Zagel

2)U.S Attorney for Family Secrets: Patrick Fitzgerald
U.S. Attorney for Blago Enterprise : Patrick Fitzgerald

3)Historic use of RICO statue
Family Secrets case,for the first time names an entire organized crime family as a racketeering enterprise.Here's the RICO count:
At times material to this indictment there existed a
criminal organization which is referred to hereafter as “the
Chicago Outfit." The Chicago Outfit was known to its members and
associates as "the Outfit" and was also known to the public as
“organized crime,” the “Chicago Syndicate” and the “Chicago Mob.”
The Chicago Outfit was an "enterprise" as that term is used in
Title 18, United States Code, Section 1961(4), that is, it constituted a group of individuals associated in fact, which
enterprise was engaged in and the activities of which affected
interstate commerce.The enterprise constituted an ongoing
organization whose members functioned as a continuing unit for a
common purpose of achieving the objectives of the enterprise.

Blago Enterprise case,here's some of the language in the indictment:
At times material to this indictment, defendant ROD
BLAGOJEVICH, the Office of the Governor of Illinois, and Friends of
Blagojevich were associated in fact, and constituted an "enterprise" as that term
is defined in Title 18, United States Code, Section 1961(4), which enterprise was
engaged in, and the activities of which affected, interstate commerce.
From in or about 2002 to on or about December 9, 2008, in the
Northern District of Illinois and elsewhere,
defendants herein, together with Alonzo Monk, William F. Cellini, Sr., John
Harris, Robert Blagojevich, Antoin Rezko, and Stuart Levine, being persons
employed by and associated with an enterprise, namely the Blagojevich
Enterprise, which enterprise engaged in, and the activities of which affected,
interstate commerce, did conspire and agree, with each other and others known

and unknown to the Grand Jury, to conduct and participate, directly and
indirectly, in the conduct of the affairs of the Blagojevich Enterprise through a
pattern of racketeering activity, as that term is defined in Title 18, United States
Code, Sections 1961(1) and (5),
This is really historic.We doubt there's a case where a high level politician is charged with using his office as a racketeering enterprise before he takes office.

4)Chicago Police Officer
Family Secrets case:retired Chicago Police Officer Anthony “Twan” Doyle who helped the Chicago Mob when he was on the police force.
Blago Enterprise case:former Chicago Police Office John Harris was a deputy police superintendent before becoming Blago's Chief of Staff.

5)Family Secrets trial:several people were accused of being "made members" of the Chicago Mob or associates.

Blagojevich:just days after his arrest,Blago was accused of being a Chicago Mob bookmaker according to ABC TV Chicago by a top FBI informant.

6)Family Secrets trial:retired senior FBI agent Jim Wagner testified as the expert witness to explain Chicago Mob history to the jury for the prosecution.

Blagojevich:retired senior FBI agent Jim Wagner confirms that top FBI informant Robert Cooley made the allegation that Rod Blagojevich was a Chicago Mob bookmaker years ago.

7)Family Secrets case: Chicago Mob Consiglerie Alphonse Tornabene involved in the "making" ceremony of hitman Nick Calabrese.

Blago's marriage :Patti Blagojevich is related to Alphonse Torabene.

We even expect Blago's case to be in the largest courtroom( room 2525) at the Dirkson Federal Building,just like the Family Secrets trial to accommodate the media.