Another associate of Philadelphia’s La Cosa Nostra pleads guilty

An associate of Philadelphia’s La Cosa Nostra pleaded guilty today to racketeering charges, marking the third guilty plea ahead of an October trial.

Louis Barretta, 48, of Philadelphia, entered the plea this morning before U.S. District Court Judge Eduardo Robreno. He admitted to being a bookie and a debt collector for La Cosa Nostra. Prosecutors described Barretta as associate, but not a member of the alleged organized crime family.

Barretta was among 14 people charged with the organization in an indictment unveiled last month, including reputed mob boss Joseph “Uncle Joe” Ligambi, underboss Joseph Massimino, George Borgesi, Martin Angelina, Anthony Staino Jr., Gaeton Lucibello, Damion Canalichio, Gary Battaglini, Robert Verrecchia, Eric Esposito, Robert Ranieri, Joseph Licata and Louis Fazzini.

Barretta is now the third defendant to plead guilty. Lucibello entered a plea agreement on Aug. 2, and is awaiting sentencing on Sept. 14. Angelina pleaded guilty on Aug. 8, and awaits sentencing on Sept. 17. Barretta is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 26.

Neither Lucibello nor Angelina are not cooperating with the government, but it is unknown whether Barretta is expected to testify.

The trial for Ligambi, Massimino, Borgesi, Staino, Canalichio, Battaglini, Licata and Fazzini is scheduled to begin Oct. 9.  The trial for Verrecchia, Esposito and Ranieri has not yet been scheduled.

Robreno ruled earlier this week that prosecutors can tell jurors about La Cosa Nostra’s history of violence, even though no violence is alleged in this case, the Inquirer reported.


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