Jurors in the conspiracy trial of Teamsters union President Roy Lee Williams spent another day deliberating without reaching a verdict today, but they began wondering aloud what Joey Lombardo does for a living.
Lombardo, 53, is the only one of five defendants in the case not identified by title or occupation in the 18-page indictment setting out an alleged plot to bribe Sen. Howard W. Cannon (D-Nev.).
FBI memos and affidavits in case records describe Lombardo as a ranking member of Chicago's La Cosa Nostra, but no such mention has been made in open court throughout the two-month trial.
As a result, U.S. District Court Judge Prentice H. Marshall told defense and prosecution lawyers this afternoon that he had just received a note from the jurors asking: "Is there any relevance to the fact that there is no background information on Joseph Lombardo in . . . the indictment?"
The judge said he was going to reply with a "plain no," a decision heartily endorsed by Lombardo's lawyer, Sherman Magidson.
Moments later, Lombardo, nicknamed "Joey the Clown," told reporters in a hallway that they could call him "a confessed taxpayer."
Said Magidson: "He's a standup comedian."
The government has charged that part of the conspiracy to bribe Cannon with exclusive rights to purchase a piece of Teamsters pension fund real estate was a flight to California by two fund officials to get another bidder to withdraw.
FBI tape recordings showed that Lombardo, a frequent visitor at the Teamsters fund building here, suggested the trip and claimed credit for it after it proved successful.
The jurors began a second day of deliberations after church services this morning and evidently listened to more such recordings. They asked Marshall for transcripts of eight more conversations before retiring for the day. Marshall said they would resume at 10 a.m. EST today.
The judge also announced the name of the foreman, Bernice Mircochna, a quality control supervisor at a Chicago area manufacturing firm and mother of three grown children.
"No kiddin' !" Lombardo declared on hearing of the woman's selection.