Much of what I know about the Mob comes from the Godfather and the Sopranos. Throw in Goodfellas also.
Today, one of the worst Chicago has ever known was sentenced to life in prison. It sounds like it was a powerful day in court:
As he stood addressing a crowded federal courtroom today, Joseph Seifert recalled how confused he was almost 35 years ago as he stared out the window of a squad car at his father’s lifeless body.
“He was lying twisted in the grass,” said Seifert, who was 4 when his father, Daniel, was slain. “I wonder if I ever said goodbye.”
The testimony was the emotional highlight as Joey “the Clown” Lombardo, one of the Chicago Outfit’s most colorful and ruthless characters of the last 40 years, was sentenced to life in prison.
A federal jury convicted Lombardo of racketeering conspiracy at the landmark Family Secrets trial in 2007 and found him responsible for the 1974 murder of Daniel Seifert weeks before he was to testify against Lombardo. The charges were dropped against Lombardo after the witness’ murder.
Lombardo, now 80 and wearing an orange prison jumpsuit while seated in a wheelchair, had little reaction as prosecutors flashed Seifert family photos on a large screen in U.S. District Judge James Zagel’s courtroom.
The Godfather, Sopranos and Goodfellas are a few steps removed from reality for me, even though Goodfellas is based on a non-fiction book, and the others are close enough to reality to be disturbing, yet alluring.
Today was real. No entertainment. Just an old criminal finally sent away.
And one man forced yet again to relive the death of his father 35 years ago.