Joey 'the Clown' Lombardo gets life

80-year-old mobster asked for leniency
March 11, 2009 10:25:40 AM PDT
A federal judge sentenced Joey "the Clown" Lombardo to life in prison on Monday. Lombardo, 80, was one of five major outfit figures convicted last year in the investigation Operation Family Secrets. Prosecutors say that Lombardo is responsible for the murder of a federal witness and thousands of other crimes.

In the end, Joey Lombardo's tough guy swagger was gone.

His pratfalls were ancient history. And nobody was laughing at his final performance, not even the mobster known as "the Clown."

"Absolutely terrible. Living in constant fear, looking over your shoulder and not knowing who to trust.," said Emma Seifert, mob victim's widow.

Lombardo demonized the Seifert family for decades after murdering Danny Seifert in 1974. Seifert was a so-called friend of Lombardo's but it was a friendship that ended when Lombardo found out he was talking to the FBI.

Lombardo and a hit squad hunted down Seifert at his Bensenville fiber glass shop and killed him, right in front of his wife and youngest son Joey who had been named after Lombardo.

"I won't never forgive him for what he did. Because he's made no effort for that," said Joey Seifert.

"My marriage was dissolved because of everybody's fear of organized crime and repercussions of organized crime," said Nick Seifert.

After the Seiferts testified on Monday in court, Lombardo told Judge James Zagel in a growling voice, "as I sit in this wheelchair I am positively not guilty."

But Zagel told Lombardo people are judged by their actions and that "the worst things you've done are terrible."

Zagel then sentenced Lombardo to life.

"It's very clear to me Lombardo was not there at the time Seifert was killed and now it's an appellate matter," said Rick Halprin, Lombardo's lawyer.

We now know that Lombardo even lied about his name. He was actually born Giuseppi Lombardi. He changed it to Joseph Lombardo, aka Joe Padula. Only behind his back did they call him the clown.

Lombardo's sentencing isn't the end of the Family Secrets Case. On Thursday James "Little Jimmy" Marcello will be sentenced and considering that Lombardo and his predecessor Frank Calabrese Senior were both handed life sentences, Marcello may not want to plan a homecoming party.