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Recap: Mob Leak Trial

By Samantha Abernethy in News on Apr 22, 2009 9:20PM

If you wish "The Sopranos" were back on the air, tune into the John Ambrose trial. It has all the action, intrigue, betrayal and violence that the show used to have, except for one plot twist: This is all real. It's like "The Departed," if everyone hadn't died at the end of the movie and instead went to court. To get you up to speed, read below--

  • For years, Nicholas Calabrese was a hitman for the Chicago Outfit, but he became a government witness in 2002. He agreed to testify against other mob members, and he helped to put 11 mob associates in prison. In February 2009 Calabrese was sentenced to just 12 years in prison for the 14 murders he admitted to.
  • Because of the sensitivity of the information he had, in 2002 Calabrese was admitted into the Witness Security Program, protected by the watchful eye of the U.S. Marshals. John Ambrose was a deputy U.S. marshal, who was twice charged with protecting Calabrese. Now Ambrose is on trial for allegedly leaking information about Calabrese to those members of the Chicago Outfit that wanted him dead.
  • U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and Robert Grant, special agent-in-charge of the Chicago FBI office, identified Ambrose as the leak. They had recorded a conversation that Michael "Mickey" Marcello had with his brother James "Jimmy the Man," wherein they referred to the son of one of the "Marquette 10." Ambrose's father, Thomas, was one of the policemen convicted on corruption charges in the 1980s and died in prison four years later.
  • In 2006, Fitzgerald and Grant confronted Ambrose with the information they had against him. In addition to the Marcello recordings with detailed information about Calabrese's testimony, they also found Ambrose's fingerprints on Calabrese's witness protection file. However, Fitzgerald and Grant did not record this conversation or take any notes during the meeting. Since Ambrose had not been placed under arrest, he hadn't been read his Miranda rights, so the defense argued that the information is not admissible. The Judge allowed it, though, so Fitzgerald took the stand on Monday.
  • During the conversation, Ambrose denied the allegations, but then admitted to having divulged some information while bragging about his job to family friend William Guide. Guide was also involved in the "Marquette 10" and had been a friend to Ambrose's father before he died. He also owned "The Pizza King," and the prosecution argues that Ambrose told Guide on purpose, knowing that the information would be passed onto the mob through Guide's connections.
  • Mickey Marcello, currently serving eight and a half year sentence in prison, took the stand to testify against Ambrose last week. He said that he received his information from John "Pudgy" Matassa, who had gotten it from "Billy," which may refer to William Guide.

The trial is now in its second week, and the prosecution rested its case yesterday. Stay tuned.