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The [Tuesday] Papers

You can now be punished for this.

And this.

And presumably this.

One more.

Mob Job
A curious thing happened at the Family Secrets mob trial on Monday and was noted by the Tribune, but without explanation.

"U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel, who is presiding over the landmark trial, limited [testimony by former FBI agent Jim] Wagner to talking about the Outfit in general terms without providing any details he might know about the defendants," the Tribune reports.

"That changed, however, when Lombardo's lawyer, Rick Halprin, made the strategic decision to question Wagner about his knowledge of a case involving labor racketeer Allen Dorfman and an attempt to bribe the late U.S. Sen. Howard Cannon of Nevada.

"Zagel then allowed prosecutors in a later round of questioning to ask who else had been convicted in the 1982 case.

"'It was Joseph Lombardo,' Wagner said."

Why in the world would Halprin open the door like that?

Moblogging
It occurs to me that if someone were live-blogging the trial, we would have gotten a fuller account - and maybe an explanation.

Defenseless
One way to assess the strength of the defense in any trial is to watch how closely and aggressively they attack the facts and underlying circumstances of the charges versus how desperately far afield they go to plant stray impressions that may sway a single, stupid juror.

In the Conrad Black trial, I think the defendants are guilty, but particularly due to the testimony of former Gov. Jim Thompson, there may be enough haze and gray to the prosecution to hang a jury on the facts.

The early-going in the Family Secrets trial, however, already bodes ill for the defendants - or at least for Lombardo.

Aside from the seeming error noted above (and if there is a strategy to it I haven't thought of, please enlighten me), Halprin made what seems like another bonehead move when it came to the jury seeing a rare photo of Lombardo with other reputed top mobsters at the Sicily Restaurant in Chicago, in a 1976 photo known to mob junkies as The Last Supper.

"Halprin noted that Lombardo was the only [attendee in the photo] wearing a suit," the Tribune reported. "The lawyer sought to portray his client as a non-violent businessman who is only associated with the mob, not a key member of the conspiracy."

The suit defense is not a winning one. Halprin could have said, "So what? The man can't have dinner with the folks he grew up with? Doesn't make him guilty of anything."

And the revelation to jurors that Lombardo was convicted in the Dorfman case puts him in a conspiracy. The combination made for a bad day for the defense.

Daley's Street Tax
William "Red" Wemette testified that he had to pay Lombardo a street tax to operate his porn shop in Old Town in the early 1970s.

Another way the mob's way of doing business isn't so different than government and the private sector.

Like a Movie
Our very own Rod Heath takes up the Outfit boys with a timely review of Casino in the latest installment of his Martin Scorsese retrospective.

Demolition Men
Dear Friends in Real Estate: Help us beautify the Gold Coast by destroying one of its most fabulous structures.

Minor Threat
The Chicago area is experiencing a boom in minor league baseball success, the Tribune reports.

We track the highlights at Minor League Report.

Double Dilling
Republican state Sen. Kirk Dillard has cut an ad for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. But Dillard is sort of, um, playing the field.

"Dillard said in an interview that he is officially backing the presidential bid of Sen. John McCain and told the McCain campaign he still intends to run as a convention-delegate candidate pledged to the Arizona senator in Illinois' Feb. 5 primary," the Tribune reports. "Dillard agreed to appear in Obama's ad more than a month ago as a favor to his former state Senate colleague.

"His praise for Obama, which he said stops short of an endorsement, runs counter to some things Dillard said when Obama was campaigning for the U.S. Senate in 2004," the Trib notes.

"'He's shown a tendency to work on non-philosophical issues, but has been nowhere near the middle of the road, despite how he is trying to portray himself now,' Dillard said then. 'Even though I have sponsored major legislation with Barack and I like him personally, clearly he is soft on crime and borderline socialist on health care.'

"These days, Dillard said he doesn't believe the 'soft-on-crime' tag is appropriate. Obama, he said, now represents the entire state and has to be 'more moderate,' rather than only reflecting the liberal Hyde Park area he represented in the state Senate."

Sicko
"After attending a screening on Wednesday night, Representative Bobby L. Rush, a Democrat from Chicago, promptly swore off contributions from the pharmaceutical industry," The New York Times reports.

Among the top industries giving to Rush, pharmaceuticals rank 17th. If only the movie was about lawyers and utilities.

Grandma Trib
Molly Redden of Oak Park writes to the Tribune: "Are you, the newspaper with the largest circulation in the Chicago area, home to an important forum reserved for important discussions, or are you my friend's grandmother?"

Public Address
R.L. Darcy of Wheaton writes (fourth item) to the Tribune: "If any baseball fan anywhere in North America can name five baseball broadcasters worse than Ron Santo, Ed Farmer, Darrin Jackson, Ken Harrelson and Chris Singleton, the folks at Guinness World Records would like to hear from them."

The Beachwood Tip Line: Set a record.




Permalink

Posted on June 26, 2007


MUSIC - Fan Note: Malcolm Young's AC/DC.
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BOOKS - Inside The Book Of The Dead.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Safe Stuffing.


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