Closing arguments in conspiracy case of mobster "The Brain"

January 23, 2012 2:50:34 PM PST
Written closing arguments were submitted to the court Monday for a member of the Chicago Outfit who spent more than a decade in jail for the notorious theft of the 45 carat Marlbough diamond in 1980. Arthur "The Brain" Rachel is charged with conspiring to rob an armored truck and the former home of deceased mob boss Angelo "the Hook" LaPietra last spring.

In a two-day bench trial in front of US District Court Judge Harry Leinenweber, the government set out to prove that Rachel, 72, conspired with his jewel thief cohort Jerry "One Arm" Scalise, 73, and Robert "Bobby" Pullia, 69, to rob the armored car at a suburban bank as well as LaPietra's Bridgeport home.

In court last week, prosecutors showed surveillance video of the men watching the armored trucks making regular pickups at a LaGrange bank and surveilling LaPietra's home. They also played audio recordings from a bug placed inside the men's van as the allegedly plotted the robberies:

SCALISE: Well the only way I can see is . . . ya gotta be walking down the alley, ya gotta time it just about right. Well, you don't have to be. You get out, there's nothin' they could do. You got the truck parked you get out, walk around and get that guy, and one guy walkin', you got the truck running, and one guy walks right to the door. And just tries to keep that guy covered, stand right in front of him. Be- or around the side-
RACHEL: Yeah.
SCALISE: -if he tries to get out, spray him.
RACHEL: The biggest, the biggest gun we got. I wantta, I wantta be with the biggest f****** gun.

Rachel's attorneys wrote in their closing statement, "looking at all the evidence, surveillance, forensics, phone logs, tape recordings, there simply is not sufficient evidence, evidence which convinces beyond a reasonable doubt that Arthur Rachel agreed to participate in a conspiracy to rob the Bancorp Truck" and therefore could not be guilty in the LaPietra conspiracy.

Judge Leinenweber indicated he will submit his verdict in writing. It is still unclear whether he will also read it in open court.


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