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March 15, 2017

Philly mob boss Joey Merlino reportedly could walk free

FBI may have botched case against him, other mobsters

After being busted this past summer during a massive mob roundup by the feds, Philadelphia mob boss Joey "Skinny" Merlino could walk free thanks to a potentially botched case.

The New York Post reported Sunday that Merlino, 54, is among 46 mafia members who may have racketeering charges against them dropped.

Federal prosecutors informed defense lawyers earlier this month that two FBI agents are being probed for their failure to record their briefings with John Rubio, an associate with the Genovese crime family who worked for Merlino.

Prosecutors also said they may have failed to preserve some communications with Rubio, and agents may have leaked confidential information to a mob news site called Gang Land News, according to the Post.

Mirror reports that the government's case is heavily dependent on Rubio's testimony, and now the defense is hoping the blunders may get them off the hook.

George Anastasia, a PhillyVoice contributor and longtime mafia journalist, reported Merlino was arrested at his Florida home in August as part of numerous indictments brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

Charges ranged from gambling, loan sharking and extortion to medical insurance fraud and untaxed cigarettes. Merlino was the only member of his Philadelphia crime family to face charges.

At the time, Anastasia reported that Merlino met with at least one cooperating government witness who recorded him and others dozens of times. It wasn't specified then if that witness was Rubio.

The FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office did not provide comment to the Post or Mirror.