‘Hi, Sylvia’: Suspected Mafia boss on trial greets juror

‘Hi, Sylvia’: Suspected Mafia boss on trial greets juror

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An alleged mafia boss on trial for racketeering called out to a juror hearing the case by her name.

The juror told Judge Richard Sullivan that Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino spoke to her while she was waiting for a lift during a break in proceedings, the New York Post reported.

But undeterred by the incident at Manhattan Federal Court, the juror insisted she wanted to remain on the jury.

According to the newspaper, she told the judge: “He just said, ‘Hi, Sylvia’, and I just turned my head, like, ‘Some nerve’.”

Asked by the judge if the exchange would affect her ability to remain on the case, she replied: “No, not at all.”

The judge told Merlino, who denied he spoke to the woman, “to have no contact with jurors, even to say, ‘Good morning’, even to say, ‘Hello’.”

Merlino is accused of orchestrating a health care fraud that made a fortune for an East Coast crime syndicate.

He was arrested in a 2016 crackdown on the syndicate along with dozens of others who were alleged to have committed crimes including extortion, loan-sharking, casino-style gambling, sports gambling, credit card fraud and health care fraud.

The syndicate is said to have operated in New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Florida and New Jersey.

Merlino was granted bail after paying a bond of $5m (£3.6m).

He denies the charges against him and says he retired from the mob for good when he opened an Italian restaurant in Boca Raton in Florida called Merlino’s.

(c) Sky News 2018: ‘Hi, Sylvia’: Suspected Mafia boss on trial greets juror