Seventy-three-year-old Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi is accused of running La Cosa Nostra since former boss Joey Merlino went to prison in 1999. Federal prosecutors say the organization focused on sports gambling, video poker machines and loansharking under Ligambi.
Defense lawyers say the government has exaggerated the group's activities. And they vow to attack the testimony of two mob turncoats, starting Friday when they cross-examine admitted mobster Michael Orlando Jr.
Ligambi is on trial with six co-defendants. Several others have pleaded guilty but don't have to testify. The trial began last week and is expected to last two or three months.