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Mob Threats or Idle Talk? Trial of 7 Alleged Philadelphia Mobsters Continues

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Hanson_Tony--NEW Tony Hanson
Tony Hanson has spent his entire illustrious career at KYW Newsradio,...
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By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As the trial for accused Philadelphia mob boss Joseph Ligambi continues (see related story), a gambler and bookmaker — and now cooperating witness — has testified that his failure to repay money he owed to the mob resulted in threats.

But the defense today was countering the testimony of the FBI agent on the case, saying that the alleged threats were all talk and no actual violence — and making the point that the witness is still alive and well.

Henry Scipione, 55, testified earlier that he had met with alleged mobster Anthony Staino, on trial now with Ligambi and five others, and needed to make a payment of $5,600 but didn’t have a penny.

(Scipione:)  “I told him I didn’t have anything. I told him I had nothing, I used the money.  And he got real agitated.”

(Prosecutor:)  “What did he say to you?”

(Scipione:)  “He said, ‘Where’s my f—ing  money?  I should shoot you in the f—ing head,’ taking my money.”

(Prosecutor:)  “How did that make you feel?”

(Scipione:)  “Not good.”

But defense attorney Edwin Jacobs  questioned FBI case agent John Martinelli, suggesting that Scipione couldn’t be too concerned about his safety, even after his cooperation became known with the indictment.  Jacobs has pointed out through his questioning of Martinelli that Scipione has never sought relocation or witness protection, and isn’t in hiding.

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