Joey “The Clown” Lombardo captured
By Todd Lighty and Matt O’Connor
Tribune staff reporters
Published January 13, 2006, 10:14 PM CST
After nine months on the lam,
reputed mob boss Joey "The Clown" Lombardo was
captured Friday night in Elmwood Park, according to
an FBI spokesman.
Lombardo had been a fugitive since April, when
federal prosecutors charged him and more than a
dozen other defendants in 18 Outfit-related murders
dating to 1970.
FBI spokesman Ross Rice said Lombardo was arrested
without incident. Authorities said they were
planning to release a fuller account of Lombardo's
apprehension at a news conference Saturday.
Lombardo's attorney, Rick Halprin, said the U.S.
Attorney's office notified him of the arrest Friday
night. Halprin said he had been given no details.
"I don't think we have a great chance of pre-trial
release," Halprin said.
Prosecutors charged Lombardo and Frank "the German"
Schweihs with the 1974 murder of Daniel Seifert, a
Bensenville businessman scheduled to testify against
Lombardo and others in a Teamsters pension fund
Schweihs also was charged with joining co-defendant
Paul Schiro in a 1986 gangland murder in Phoenix.
Schweihs was a fugitive for eight months before
being captured in December in a small town in
FBI officials said Lombardo and Schweihs had
apparently disappeared a "significant time" before
the indictments in order to avoid capture.
Lombardo, a longtime resident of Chicago's West Town
neighborhood, has two separate federal convictions
in the 1980s-for conspiring to bribe U.S. Sen.
Howard Cannon of Nevada for help in defeating a
trucking deregulation bill and for scheming to skim
$ 2 million from a Las Vegas casino.
While Lombardo has been missing, he was apparently
not silent. Two attorneys reported getting letters
from Lombardo, which they turned over to federal
In May, Halprin, Lombardo's defense lawyer, Rick
a four-page letter to a federal judge
purportedly written by Lombardo. The letter said
Lombardo would surrender if he would be released on
his own recognizance and prosecuted in a separate
trial after the fate of his co-defendants had been
U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel promptly rejected
"Judge, I am in dire strate [sic] at this time at 76
yr old to live my life peaceful until I die," the
Halprin said he also got a letter in August, which
indicated that Lombardo offered to take truth serum
or a lie detector test if the FBI supervisor and its
informant did too.
Another purported Lombardo letter -- with a Chicago
postmark-surfaced in September. This time the
recipient was Robert Stephenson, the attorney for
Rosemont Mayor Donald Stephens and the village of
That letter denied the testimony in July of an FBI
supervisor who said Lombardo and other high-ranking
organized crime figures met in 1999 with Stephens to
discuss what control the mob would have over
contracts at the suburb's then-proposed casino.
Stephenson said the letter was signed "Joseph
Lombardo an innocent man"-similar wording to a
missive in May seeking to negotiate a surrender.
FBI officials had offered up to $20,000 apiece for
information leading to the arrests of the Lombardo
Tribune staff reporter Michael Higgins
contributed to this article.
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