The lawyer for the reputed boss of the Philadelphia mob says his client and six co-defendants on trial in federal court are victims and that the government’s case is based on half-truths and fabrications from cooperating witnesses.
Edwin Jacobs Jr. represents 73-year-old Joseph “Uncle Joe” Ligambi. Authorities say Ligambi has been acting boss of Philadelphia’s La Cosa Nostra since Joey Merlino was sent to prison.
Jacobs told federal jurors during opening statements Thursday, “We’re not guilty, we’re victims.” He says there is little substance to support the allegations of a racketeering conspiracy.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Labor says Ligambi and his co-defendants “exploited” the Philadelphia mob’s reputation for violence “to make money” and intimidate victims.
The trial is expected to last two to three months.