Attorneys for convicted mobster Frank Calabrese, Sr., have been calling for a new trial, saying that the jury was prejudiced when it went into deliberations at the end of summer. (I blogged about the “Family Secrets” trial briefly in September. If you follow this link, you’ll find better news coverage within.)

So what was it that may have tilted a few jurors into the “hang ’em” camp?

When they heard Calabrese tell a federal prosecutor in court, “You are a (expletive) dead man.”

Yeah, that might have gotten their attention. How’s a guy supposed to recover after that?

According to the Trib last Friday, one of the other defendants in the case is trying to use it to overturn the conviction:

Lawyers for defendant James Marcello have made the alleged threat part of a motion for a new trial. “Proof of a racketeering act — threat of murder and obstruction of justice in its most venal form — occurred before the jury’s very eyes!” Marcello’s lawyers said in their filing.

I’m not a legal eagle, but this seems a little desperate. Since the jury watched a racketeering act in the courtroom, the verdict should be overturned? Must be some kind of minutiae that escapes me. The lesson to all you killers on trial out there: Threats and outbursts can keep you from going to jail, so knock yourselves out! (It makes for entertaining copy in the papers, too.)