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Ex-Chicago cop accused of mob ties gets 12 years

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[March 13, 2009]  CHICAGO (AP) -- A former police officer accused of providing information on gangland investigations to a reputed mob boss and being a "sleeper agent" for organized crime was sentenced Thursday to 12 years in federal prison for racketeering.

"You picked the wrong people to try to help," U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel told Anthony Doyle, who was convicted in 2007 along with three mobsters and an alleged henchman in the landmark Operation Family Secrets trial.

Unlike three of his co-defendants, though, the 64-year-old former officer was not held responsible for any of 18 murders outlined in the indictment. But prosecutors said that even before he joined the force, Doyle collected debts for Frank Calabrese Sr., a convicted loan shark and one of the five men prosecuted in the city's biggest organized crime trial in decades.

The case had focused on an alleged conspiracy spanning decades that included gambling, loan sharking, extortion and a series of gangland murders as the mob brought down real or suspected witnesses.

During the trial, prosecutors showed tapes of Doyle briefing the imprisoned Calabrese on the progress of a homicide investigation. Calabrese was also heard in a recording saying that Doyle would remove evidence in the murder probe.


Doyle testified at the trial that what Calabrese said in their prison conversation struck him as "gibberish" but he pretended to understand and go along because "I don't want to be a chumbalone, an idiot."

Defense attorney Ralph E. Meczyk, in pleading for leniency, said his client "wasn't a chumbalone, but he was a chum." He said Doyle had foolishly befriended Calabrese but now realizes he blundered in helping a man who was "the epitome of evil."

Meczyk also pointed to times as a policeman that Doyle had disarmed dangerous criminals, arrested a cop killer and led six people out of a burning building.

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"He was a truly heroic and stellar and exemplary police officer -- he took guns off the street," Meczyk told the judge.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney T. Markus Funk told Zagel that such claims were "actually quite difficult to take seriously."

"This man is a disgrace, and to come here and say he was a stellar police officer, a man of good deeds, is an outrage," Funk said.

Only one Family Secrets defendant, Nicholas Calabrese, remains to be sentenced on March 26. Zagel has already sentenced Frank Calabrese to life and reputed mobster Paul Schiro to 20 years. Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo was sentenced to life for serving as the mob leader and for the murder of a government witness in a union pension fraud case.

[Associated Press; By MIKE ROBINSON]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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