Mobster Jerry Scalise gets 8 1/2 year sentence

August 29, 2012 4:22:27 PM PDT
One of Chicago's most notorious mobsters was sentenced to federal prison Wednesday. But Jerry Scalise's sentence wasn't as long as it could have been.

In this Intelligence Report: Why a federal judge did a favor for Scalise's lawyer.

At the age of 74, Outfit legend Jerry "The Monk" Scalise has what federal prosecutors call an "unbroken history of criminal conduct." So, Scalise wouldn't seem to qualify for favors or special treatment by the justice system. But, Wednesday, that is just what he received when his lawyer asked for a favor in open court; and, even more surprising, received it.

Even as he was a special consultant on the Johnny Depp film about Dillinger, federal authorities say Jerry Scalise was plotting crimes for the Chicago Outfit.

The FBI had Scalise and his burglary crew under surveillance, and in 2010, the trio was arrested in mid-scheme. Scalise pleaded guilty to planning the take down of an armored car and a break-in at the home of a deceased Outfit boss.

Wednesday in court, prosecutors ticked off dozens of crimes Scalise has committed since 1960, including the 1980 theft of the 45-carat Marlborough diamond, still missing.

Assistant U.S. attorney Amarjeet Bhachu said Scalise did crimes for the thrill of hurting people and taking things, and requested a prison sentence of nearly 10 years.

Then Scalise's attorney Ed Genson asked for what he called "one favor for a man who probably doesn't deserve it": Mercy, the lowest legal sentence of eight years and 10 months.

Judge Harry Leinenweber, saying he probably shouldn't grant such a favor, did so anyway.

"It's unusual that I would ask," said Genson. "On the other hand, I don't usually step up for people who I've known for almost 40 years...Jerry Scalise is an extraordinarily exceptional man, exceptional family, he's erudite, he's gregarious, He's just an all-around good person. He's wasted his life. He knows it. This is sad for me because I'm fond of him. Hopefully he will have a few years out and make up for whatever he has done."

The I-Team asked Bhachu if he was surprised the judge granted the lawyer's requested favor.

"Our response in court was that this is a man who is not deserving of mercy," said Bhachu. "He's a man who throughout his life has committed crimes and has appeared before any number of judges to be sentenced, and it seems from our position in court-- it seems somewhat incredible that you should be given mercy when you have devoted yourself over your life to the commission of criminal activity."

The rest of Jerry Scalise's mob crew is going to prison too. Wednesday, Robert Pullia received the same sentence as Scalise, after pleading guilty.

Previously, Art "The Genius" Rachel was convicted at trial and sentenced to about 8 and a half years.


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