The Family Secrets Trial Part 1

June 6, 2022

In Part one of a two-part series, Chicago Outfit historian James Imlach tells how he attended the entire Family Secrets trial in 2007. The Family Secrets investigation started on July 27, 1998. Outfit associate Frank Calabrese Jr. mailed a letter from prison to the FBI and said he was willing to cooperate and help the FBI make murder cases on his father, Frank Calabrese Sr. Hence, the codename of the investigation became Family Secrets. Frank Jr. requested to meet in person with FBI agents and promised he could give good information about his father’s murders and other Outfit activities.

Frank Jr. had stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash from his father to feed his lifestyle and cocaine habit. He was afraid his father would eventually have him murdered. During the next few months, Frank Jr. “wore a wire” on his own father inside the prison. The agents reviewing these tapes heard Frank Sr. bragging about his many crimes to his son. One of the most significant intercepts was details about the murder of Outfit member Frank Fecarotta in 1986. Frank Jr. also told them he had returned to the scene and retrieved the gun. More importantly, they learned that Frank Sr. lost a blood-stained gove at the scene. They reviewed the Chicago PD evidence and found they had recovered a blood-stained glove close to the murder scene.

James Imlach provides a colorful and personal view of what it was like to sit through this two-month log trial. Some of the tidbits are a first-hand view of watching Frank Calabrese Sr. and Joey Lombardo testify in their own defense. Another is getting a first-hand account of watching a son testifying against his killer father in the same room less than a few yards away, that would be something to see.
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