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Inmate says he has information on mob crimes

June 7, 2005



Yet another unsolicited, handwritten letter relating to a major mob case has been sent to U.S. District Judge James Zagel.

This time, Florida inmate Charles Miceli is the author, and he complains the feds have ignored his overtures to provide information about reputed organized crime figures.

Miceli -- who said he has no reason to lie because he's going to be released from prison in a few years even without his cooperation -- indicated that reputed mob boss Joey "The Clown" Lombardo is innocent of a murder he's been accused of. And Miceli suggests other reputed hoodlums, including John DiFronzo, should be investigated.

Miceli said in the letter, a copy of which also was mailed to the Chicago Sun-Times and U.S. attorney's office, that FBI agents have refused to interview him despite his claims to have valuable knowledge of mob activities.

"It's not right to arrest Mr. Lombardo for things that other people did and it's equally wrong to let really guilty people go free and laugh at the system," Miceli wrote.

Lombardo and other alleged mob figures were charged in a sweeping federal indictment this spring that aims to solve 18 mob hits.

Lombardo is on the lam but previously wrote Zagel, who's handling the case, in an unsuccessful attempt to set conditions for coming in from hiding.

Miceli reportedly is serving time in Florida on state theft charges.

As the letter came to light, questions surfaced over Miceli's reliability, with sources saying federal investigators have grave concerns about Miceli sending agents on wild goose chases.

However, Chicago ATF agent John N. Rotunno once wrote a letter on Miceli's behalf to Judge Mark Shames in Clearwater, Fla., asking for "Any consideration you could afford him" in another, unrelated court matter.

Rotunno wrote that Miceli had been on the mark in detailing violent crime incidents and had intimate contacts with high-ranking individuals in organized crime.

But in 2001, Miceli took ATF agents on a fruitless search for murder victims or weapons in wooded areas near River Grove and River Forest. He's given other unreliable tips to other agencies as well, sources said.

Miceli sent similar letters and additional correspondence to Lombardo's attorney, Rick Halprin, who plans to turn over the information in a court hearing before Zagel today. Halprin will ask the court to appoint a federal public defender to represent Miceli.

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