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Joseph Santaguida, 81, lawyer and defender of of reputed Philly mob associates, dies from the coronavirus

Readers of Black Brothers, Inc.: The Violent Rise and Fall of Philadelphia’s Black Mafia (Milo 2005/07) are familiar with legendary defense attorney Joseph Santaguida, who represented Azeem Spicer in a high-profile drug case.  Santaguida’s legendary career included a clientele of significant organized crime figures.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Joseph Santaguida, 81, a prominent Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer and a blunt-talking, impeccably dressed defender of mob leaders and drug dealers, died on Wednesday, May 13, from the coronavirus, his son said.

Mr. Santaguida had been battling Parkinson’s disease for several years before he contracted the virus, Rocco Santaguida said. He died at Jefferson Washington Township Hospital in New Jersey.

Mr. Santaguida had a long and colorful career representing players in the city’s underworld, including reputed mobsters Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino and Joseph “Mousie” Massimino, as well as Hakeem Bey, the violent leader of a South Philadelphia drug gang. He once survived the threat of a hit from a client’s rival mob boss, and was threatened with indictment by federal authorities who suggested he had encouraged illegal activities by his reputed mob clients.

Rest is here.

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