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March 30, 2018

After hung jury, 'Skinny Joey' Merlino takes plea deal in fed case

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02212018_MTS_Joey_Merlino Image courtesy/Dave Schratwieser and Fox29

A mistrial was declared in Philly Mob boss "Skinny Joey" Merlino's federal racketeering and conspiracy trial after a hung jury in February.

Philadelphia mob boss "Skinny Joey" Merlino will plead guilty rather than face a retrial in his federal racketeering and conspiracy case.

In a filing this week, the judge who presided over the case said the government and lawyers for Merlino had reached a plea deal, the Associated Press reported. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

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Prosecutors and Merlino's lawyer declined comment to the AP on Friday.

The government had accused Merlino, who now lives in Boca Raton, Florida, of profiting from gambling and health insurance schemes run by East Coast organized crime families. He claims that he has moved on from a life of organized crime after serving a lengthy prison term in another case.

All along, according to people familiar with Merlino's thinking, the flamboyant South Philly mobster considered the trial an opportunity to hold federal law enforcement accountable for actions that bordered on criminal.

It ended with a hung jury in February.

Merlino, 55, is due back in court April 27.

PhillyVoice contributor George Anastasia contributed to this report.