As sentencing looms, reputed mobster's lawyer derides 'glorified gambling case'

Joseph “Mousie” Massimino, the reputed underboss of the Philadelphia mob, next week is scheduled to be the first defendant sentenced in the wake of a historic three-month trial of local mobsters. Massimino was one of three men convicted of racketeering conspiracy, and given his criminal history, the 63-year-old could get whacked fairly hard by U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno.

His lawyer, Joseph Santaguida, fired the first broadside in that battle this week, arguing in a memo to the judge that Massimino deserves between 57 and 71 months in prison, a punishment in line with the 57 months reputed capo Martin "Marty" Angelina got last fall after pleading guilty to the same conspiracy.

Santaguida contends that despite his past convictions, Massimino shouldn’t qualify for a stiffer term as “a career offender” because jurors in the most recent case didn’t find him guilty of a specific crime of violence, one of the three prongs necessary for the enhancement. They convicted him of the conspiracy, but deadlocked on three underlying accusations of running an illegal gambling business.

Santaguida conceded that Massimino was indeed guilty of illegal gambling offenses, but rehashed his contention that the crime didn’t amount to more than that.

“The fact is that this case is nothing more than a glorified gambling case,” the lawyer wrote. “The government is forced to blow these acts out of proportion because they wasted millions of tax dollars and resources.”

Prosecutors haven’t yet filed their sentencing memo, but they will no doubt see things differently.

In a July 2011 motion to keep Massimino jailed without bail, Assistant U.S. Attorney John S. Han wrote that Massimino had been arrested 30 times, had three prior felony drug convictions and was looking at a minimum of 17 years in prison if he was convicted on all counts.

"Through a panoply of crimes committed over a lifetime, undeterred by frequent periods of incarceration, Massimino has abundantly demonstrated his unwillingness to obey the law,” he wrote.

The sentencing hearing is set for Wednesday morning.