Sunday, January 15, 2006

Murdered man's mother files $150M suit against city, 'Mafia Cops'

Friends of ours: Lucchese Crime Family, Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, Nicholas Guido
Friends of mine: Louis Eppolito, Stephen Caracappa

The mother of a Brooklyn man shot dead on Christmas Day 1986 in a case of the mob mistakenly killing the wrong man is suing the so-called "Mafia Cops" and the city for his murder. Pauline Pipitone, whose son Nicholas Guido, 26, was killed as he sat in a car after a holiday dinner, has charged in her lawsuit filed in Brooklyn federal court that former detectives Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa were part of the mob blunder that led to Guido's death.

Pipitone, who is executor of her son's estate, is suing for $150 million. She alleges that the NYPD failed to aggressively investigate allegations that Eppolito and Caracappa had been linked to criminal activity. Eppolito, 57, and Caracappa, 64, were indicted last year on charges they moonlighted as hit men and intelligence moles for the mob while they were cops. The indictment charged that as many as 10 murders are linked to their activities for former Luchese crime family acting boss Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso.

In the case of Guido, federal prosecutors have alleged that Eppolito and Caracappa funneled information to Casso, who was seeking revenge after being targeted in a failed assassination plot. Casso and his cohorts were seeking a reputed Gambino associate named "Nicholas Guido," 29, for being part of the the plot to kill the Luchese leader. Investigators have charged that Eppolito and Caracappa accessed NYPD databases to locate Guido for the mob, but erroneously came across Pipitone's son, a telephone company employee who had no criminal affiliations.

Pipitone's court complaint, which is seeking damages for Guido's wrongful death and deprivation of his constitutional rights, was filed last Thursday and appears to incorporate the allegations contained in the federal charges.

Eppolito and Caracappa, who are currently free under house arrest conditions on $5 million bail, have denied all the charges. They are scheduled to go to trial next month in Brooklyn federal court before Judge Jack B. Weinstein, although defense attorneys are seeking an adjournment.

Last week, federal officials in Las Vegas secured a tax evasion indictment against Eppolito and his wife, Francis. Investigators allege Eppolito didn't report income he made from various book and film deals.

"It was a terrible, terrible crime, but it isn't possible Caracappa could have committed it," said Edward Hayes, the lawyer representing Caracappa, about the Guido murder.

Hayes said the NYPD knew very early on the correct name of the "Guido" allegedly involved in the Casso assassination plot and that presumably that name was in the NYPD databases.

Defense attorney Bruce Cutler, who is defending Eppolito, couldn't be reached for comment Sunday.

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