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Reputed Chicago mobster claims abuse in prison

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 9:48 a.m. CDT

CHICAGO — Restrictions imposed on Chicago mob boss Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo at the North Carolina federal prison where he's serving a life sentence amount to elder abuse, his lawyers contend in a court filing.

Lombardo, 84, was among three reputed mob bosses and two alleged henchmen convicted in September 2007 at the landmark Operation Family Secrets trial which lifted the curtain of secrecy from the seamy operations of Chicago's underworld. He was sentenced to life in prison for serving as a leader of Chicago's organized crime family and the murder of government witness.

His attorneys contend in a Dec. 23 filing that he was subjected to "elder abuse" when authorities placed him under "special administrative measures," restricting his access to mail, phone and visitors.

"The imposition of these draconian conditions against an 84-year-old, chronically ill, wheelchair-user can only be an attempt to appear 'tough on crime' by engaging in 'elder abuse' against a man who once had a reputation (deserved or not) as a major player in the Chicago 'Mob,'" his attorneys wrote. They claim, "extra-judicial punishment and administrative overreach."

Lombardo is held at the federal prison medical facility in Butner, N.C.

The government responded on Friday, requesting Lombardo's motion be dismissed because it should have been filed in North Carolina, not Chicago. The government also argues that Lombardo can't go to court until he goes through all other administrative remedies.

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