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Elderly Mobsters Plead Guilty To Planning Heists

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Reputed mobsters Robert Pullia (left) and Jerry Scalise (right) enter the Dirksen Federal Building before pleading guilty to planning a series of robberies on Jan. 18, 2012. (Credit: CBS)

Reputed mobsters Robert Pullia (left) and Jerry Scalise (right) enter the Dirksen Federal Building before pleading guilty to planning a series of robberies on Jan. 18, 2012. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Two elderly reputed mobsters raised the white flag on Wednesday as they were set to go on trial, pleading guilty to a series of planned robberies.

But Jerry “The Monk” Scalise and Robert “Bobby” Pullia made it very public that they weren’t cooperating with the feds.

As CBS 2’s John “Bulldog” Drummond reports, despite facing a lengthy prison sentence, Scalise has literary ambitions.

A convicted jewel thief, fledgling author – and perhaps screenwriter – Scalise said off-camera that he might spill the beans on what happened to the famed Marlborough Diamond, which he was convicted of stealing in a heist in London in 1980. The diamond is still missing.

Scalise, a graduate of St. Ignatius College Prep and Xavier University in Cincinnati, faces a nine year prison term when he is sentenced this spring on racketeering and conspiracy charges.

According to Wikipedia, the 73-year-old Scalise is the nephew of Capone-era gangster John Scalise.

Jerry Scalise is no stranger to prison life. He and co-defendant Arthur “The Genius” Rachel, served 13 years in a British prison for robbing a high-end London jewelry store and escaping with the 45-carat Marlborough Diamond in 1980.

Scalise and 70-year-old Robert Pullia pleaded guilty on Wednesday as they were preparing to go on trial this week.

Rachel has decided to roll the dice and faces a bench trial starting Thursday.

Sporting a New York Yankees hat, Pullia also faces a nine year prison term. His lawyer, Marc Martin, said there is no room for negotiation.

“It’s like everything else. The government wants more and we want less,” Martin said.

The prosecution listed the the defendants’ planned scores: a holdup of a Davis Bancorp armored truck outside the First National Bank of La Grange, breaking into the home of the late mob boss Angelo “The Hook” La Pietra and robbing the State Bank of Countryside.

The defendants apparently had more than their AARP cards in their pocket. FBI agents said they were carrying heavy weapons.

After Scalise and Pullia pleaded guilty, Martin made an unusual admission, apparently to Outfit members watching at home.

“He wants everyone to know that he is not cooperating. Cooperation is not a part of his plea agreement,” Martin said.

That’s what you call a life insurance policy.

In the hallway outside court, Scalise described himself to reporters as a Jesuit through and through and smiled when asked if the Marlborough Diamond might ever be found.

“If Lloyd’s of London wanted to pay enough money, they could,” Scalise said.

Law enforcement officials have said they believe the diamond was cut up into smaller gems and resold.

CBS 2 Producer Ed Marshall contributed to this report.

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