Ballarotto successfully argues to have house arrest terms relaxed
By Alex Zdan/The Times
on January 22, 2013 at 5:45 PM
TRENTON – Joseph “JoJo” Giorgianni’s house arrest has been relaxed.
Giorgianni, a co-defendant in the federal corruption case against Trenton Mayor Tony Mack, may now leave his Ewing house for three hours a day to shop, get his car detailed, or get a bite to eat, a U.S. Magistrate Judge ruled this afternoon.
Giorgianni, who faces separate drug distribution charges unrelated to the corruption case, had been confined to the home since his arrest in September.
Giorgianni’s attorney Jerome Ballarotto said his client’s mental and physical state have worsened. Ballarotto presented the court a letter from a psychiatrist Giorgianni had been seeing since August.
During a hearing at the federal courthouse with Giorgianni in attendance, Ballarottoargued for a daily three-hour window during which Giorgianni could leave the home with prior notification to federal monitors.
“I think under those circumstances he certainly can’t get into any mischief, the government will know where he is,” Ballarotto said. “It will provide for his physical health and his emotional well-being.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Moran argued against the move, saying federal agents in July found guns in Giorgianni’s house and “several hundred” rounds of ammunition in a building adjoining JoJo’s Steak House in North Trenton.
The FBI’s search warrant executions in July revealed Giorgianni to be a danger to the community, Moran said. “These give rise and continue to give rise to a very significant danger concern on the part of the government,” Moran said.Magistrate Judge Douglas Arpert consented to Ballarotto’s request, but had words of warning for Giorgianni.
“Deviation from these conditions in even the most minimal aspect will not be viewed leniently, and would most likely result in the re-imposition of the home detention in its purest form,” Arpert said.
Trial dates for Giorgianni, Mack, and Mack’s brother Ralphiel have been postponed until at least the summer to allow their attorneys to review the government’s extensive evidence in the case.
The men were indicted for allegedly accepting bribes while using Mack’s office to push through a parking garage development project, which was in reality an FBI sting. All three pleaded not guilty during their arraignment last month.