Ex-drug officers lose bid to toss racketeering charges

Six former Philadelphia narcotics officers charged with robbing and beating drug dealers have lost a bid to halt their upcoming racketeering trial over claims that an accuser lied to the grand jury.

Federal prosecutors on the eve of trial have withdrawn charges involving two of the 22 alleged victims.

Defense lawyers say they are trying “to whitewash” problems with their witnesses even as jury selection gets underway Tuesday.

But a federal judge says enough of the accusations remain to preserve the indictment and hold all six men for trial.

Lead defendant Thomas Liciardello is accused of 15 gunpoint robberies and of dangling one suspect over a high-rise balcony.

He is the only former officer being held in custody. Opening statements are set for March 30.

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