Monday, July 09, 2007

Defense lawyer ordered to stop blogging his observationsof the "Family Secrets" trial

This morning the Chicago Sun-Times reports that an attorney defending one of the alleged mobsters in the "Family Secrets" trial in Chicago has been ordered to stop emailing his observations of that trial to a blog called "The Chicago Syndicate".

The blog in question does not appear to be operated by attorney Joseph "The Shark" Lopez -- but a link in the blog's sidebar produced a page showing all of his trial comments -- referred to as "Shark Attacks (Guest Analysis from Attorney Joseph Lopez)". The link was still active as of the making of this post, although this post, about the court 'muzzling' the Shark, is now at the top of that page.

In addition to his emailed reviews of the trial in progress, the Sun-Times notes that Lopez is counsel for "reputed Outfit hit man Frank Calabrese Sr."

Citing "sources familiar with the matter," Steve Warmbir's article in the Sun-Times also said that the order banning further blogging was entered by U.S. District Judge James Zagel at a recent closed-door hearing.

Warmbir's article emphasizes that Lopez was not merely emailing gripes. For example, Warmbir's article, noted a recent entry in which "Shark" complimented "a fellow defense attorney, Rick Halprin, who represents reputed top mobster Joseph 'Joey the Clown' Lombardo." Lopez wrote that, in one particular cross examination, "Halprin was great as usual."

Warmbir reported Halprin's response to the compliment in today's article: "While I agreed with the sentiment, it's still inappropriate."

Yes, it is.


A Saturday entry on "The Chicago Syndicate" site, "Mob Testimony Better Than Any TV Drama" concludes with a thanks to Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown. The post appears to be a verbatim reproduction of Mr. Brown's July 4 column. A July 5 post, "Judge Throws Attorney Our of Court," thanks Charles Thomas of the local ABC-TV station -- and the story, again, appears to be a verbatim reproduction of one posted by Mr. Thomas on the web site.

Attorney Shark's commentary may have been the only original "Family Secrets" trial content available to the blog.

If you are interested in learning more about the "Family Secrets" case, however, the Sun-Times is running a blog of reporter Warmbir's trial impressions; the Sun-Times also appears to be maintaining an index of links to "Family Secrets" stories.

(I do caution, however, that reading even a few of these posts or stories may change the minds of some who think of "The Sopranos" or "The Godfather" movies as entertainment.)

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