Suspected Philly Mobster Is Only A Gambler, Lawyer Says

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He’s a gambler, not a goon.

Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino is only a “degenerate gambler” – not the Philadelphia mob boss portrayed by prosecutors, his lawyer claimed Tuesday in courtroom.

Merlino, 55, faces a Manhattan Federal Courtroom trial in relation to an alleged racketeering conspiracy stretching from South Florida to Springfield, Mass. — apparently involving the Genovese, Gambino, Lucchese, Bonanno and Philly crime households.

Edwin Jacobs, who together with John Meringolo reps Merlino, claimed the federal government’s three cooperating witnesses are sliming his shopper to avoid wasting their very own skins.

One cooperator, John Rubio, befriended Merlino and surreptitiously recorded him. However these recordings did not reveal a single smoking gun — and confirmed Merlino’s relationship with Rubio was largely primarily based on his personal debt, Jacobs stated.

Shortly after Merlino bought out of federal lockup for a racketeering rap in 2011, he determined to quiet down in South Florida. He hoped to open a restaurant and did not need something to do with crime, Jacobs stated.

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However Merlino had a ‘weak point” — playing.

“He’s a (lifelong), self-described, degenerate gambler,” Jacobs stated.

“He wasn’t bashful about asking buddies to borrow cash,” Jacobs stated. “Rubio provided Joey cash, and he took it.”

Merlino promised to pay Rubio again.

“When my restaurant makes it huge, I will flip the tables, I’m going to deal with you,” Merlino stated, based on Jacobs.

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