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Despite chaos, no mistrial in Philadelphia mob case

| Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, 8:10 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA — A foreman has resigned. Another juror has fallen ill. And a third juror in a Philadelphia mob case suddenly recalls knowing something about a defense witness, and not liking him.

The federal jury is seemingly in chaos two weeks into deliberations. U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno denied a mistrial on Friday and instead ordered a newly configured panel to start over.

The 10-week trial involves reputed mob boss Joseph “Uncle Joe” Ligambi, 73, his alleged underboss and five others. They are charged with racketeering, sports betting, loansharking and making threats to collect street loans and other debts.

The original foreman remained on the panel on Friday despite saying he had been influenced by his fellow juror's attack on the defense witness. The mob lawyers wanted him and another juror removed because of their reaction to the juror's outburst. That would have exhausted the supply of three remaining alternate jurors.

Robreno instead removed only the woman who attacked the witness's credibility, and told the others to start from scratch. It was not the first time that's happened since deliberations began on Jan. 8.

One juror fell ill on Tuesday and was replaced.

Ligambi could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted of all of the charges.

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