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Jun 18,2007
Chicago's mob past goes on trial
by UPI

CHICAGO - The glory days of the Chicago mob go on trial this week when seven elderly men appear in federal court for 18 killings, it was reported Sunday.

Prosecutors, who call the case Operation Family Secrets, say it is the broadest attack on organized-crime leaders in Chicago history.

In their day, the defendants were fearsome figures who ordered the slayings of 18 foes and federal witnesses, prosecutors allege.

Today, they are shadows of themselves, a reflection of the passing of the mob era itself, reported the Los Angeles Times. For example, defendant Joseph "The Clown" Lombardo is 78, while Frank "The German" Schweihs, 77, is ill with cancer.

The case is being watched by law enforcement in other former mob strongholds, particularly in Las Vegas, the newspaper reported.

"What you see now -- in Chicago, in (Philadelphia), in New York, in New Jersey -- is not the mob of old," said Michael Chitwood, a former Philadelphia homicide detective who investigated organized crime. "That's not to say there is no more organized crime. But there are no more tough guys."

Copyright ©  2007, by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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