Family Secrets: The Case That Crippled the Chicago Mob

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Chicago Review Press, Sep 1, 2010 - True Crime - 424 pages
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Even in Chicago, a city steeped in mob history and legend, the Family Secrets case was a true spectacle when it made it to court in 2007. A top mob boss, a reputed consigliere, and other high-profile members of the Chicago Outfit were accused in a total of eighteen gangland killings, revealing organized crime’s ruthless grip on the city throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.             Painting a vivid picture of murder, courtroom drama, family loyalties and disloyalties, journalist Jeff Coen accurately portrays the Chicago Outfit’s cold-blooded--and sometimes incompetent--killers and their crimes in the case that brought them down. In 1998 Frank Calabrese Jr. volunteered to wear a wire to gather evidence against his father, a vicious loan shark who strangled most of his victims with a rope before slitting their throats to ensure they were dead. Frank Jr. went after his uncle Nick as well, a calculating but sometimes bumbling hit man who would become one of the highest-ranking turncoats in mob history, admitting he helped strangle, stab, shoot, and bomb victims who got in the mob’s way, and turning evidence against his brother Frank.             The Chicago courtroom took on the look and feel of a movie set as Chicago’s most colorful mobsters and their equally flamboyant attorneys paraded through and performed: James “Jimmy Light” Marcello, the acting head of the Chicago mob; Joey “the Clown” Lombardo, one of Chicago’s most eccentric mobsters; Paul “the Indian” Schiro; and a former Chicago police officer, Anthony “Twan” Doyle, among others.             Re-creating events from court transcripts, police records, interviews, and notes taken day after day as the story unfolded in court, Coen provides a riveting wide-angle view and one of the best accounts on record of the inner workings of the Chicago syndicate and its control over the city’s streets.
 

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Contents

1 A Killing Between Friends
1
2 The Surprise Letter
13
3 Witness of a Lifetime
39
4 United States vs the Chicago Outfit
59
5 This Is Not The Sopranos
87
6 Testimony and Tapes
103
7 Alva and Emma
125
8 A Son Against His Father
145
14 The Beak the Oven and the Dentist
265
15 Joey
289
16 Crossexamination
311
18 Twan
349
19 Closing Arguments
365
20 End of a Trial End of an Era
389
Acknowledgments
405
Key Figures
407

9 Nick
167
10 A Killer Tells His Tale
185
11 Explosion on the Tollway
203
12 From Cicero to Las Vegas
223
13 One and Two
241
Chronology
413
Map
418
Index
421
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Jeff Coen is a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, covering federal trials and investigations from the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in downtown Chicago. He was present in the courtroom throughout the Family Secrets trial, and his pieces on the case were featured in a popular series in the Chicago Tribune.

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