The boys from South Philly are in the Big Apple. Several members of Philadelphia mafia don Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino’s usual entourage descended on New York this week to give support to Merlino, who is on trial in Manhattan for racketeering in federal court. The band of merry mobsters were at the trial’s closing arguments Tuesday and by Merlino’s side Wednesday and Thursday as jurors deliberated.

The slick, camera-friendly 55-year old Merlino is charged with health care fraud and bookmaking. He already has two federal convictions under his belt from the 1980s and early 2000s.

On hand in New York for the proceedings were his two childhood best friends and reputed Bruno-Scarfo family administrators Steven (Handsome Stevie) Mazzone and George (Georgie Boy) Borgesi, as well as suspected button men Salvatore (Sonny) Mazzone, Handsome Stevie’s younger brother and Anthony (Tony Cugino) Accardo. Philly bookies and mob associate brothers Raymond (Ray Wags) Wagner and Edward (Eddie Wags) Wagner and gregarious restaurateur Angelo (Fat Angie) Lutz, another childhood buddy of Merlino’s, were also present. The New York Daily News printed a photo of Merlino and his wife Debbie flanked by the Mazzone brothers and Accardo in its Wednesday morning edition.

The elder Mazzone, Borgesi and Lutz were convicted alongside Merlino in a 2001 mob trial and all served prison time. Stevie Mazzone is alleged to be Merlino’s underboss, while Borgesi, his former consigliere, is said to currently be a captain and faction leader poised to take over the crime family if Merlino is convicted. The three men were at the forefront of a bloody mob war for control of the syndicate in the 1990s.

Sonny Mazzone and Accardo, a cousin of Merlino’s (“Cugino” is Italian for cousin), allegedly got inducted into the Philly mafia at some point in the last decade. Ray Wagner has served as Merlino’s right-hand man and bodyguard since his release from prison in 2011 on a previous racketeering bust. The Wagner brothers are nephews of one-time mob capo Gaeton Lucibello, finishing out a short stay behind bars on a parole violation for hanging around with Sonny Mazzone back in the fall.

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