Sunday, April 30, 2006

Heat Surrounds Sheriff For Alleged Mob Association

Friends of mine: Rick Rizzolo, Freddie Glusman

A candidate for Orange County sheriff called Thursday for the resignation of Sheriff Mike Carona in the wake of a published report and photos showing Carona in a cozy pose with a man identified as a mob associate.

Ralph Martin, a commander in the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department and an Orange County resident, is one of two current and one retired law enforcement officers running against Carona in the June 6 primary.

Martin said an article in the O.C. Weekly and accompanying photos show Carona smiling while the arm of Rick Rizzolo, a man the FBI has called a mob associate, is draped over Carona's shoulder. Carona is in uniform.

The article also contains photos of Carona with Freddie Glusman, owner of the Ritz restaurant in Newport Beach and Piero's in Las Vegas, and Gary Primm, owner of a Nevada casino. Both Glusman and Primm, according to the Weekly, are Carona contributors and were sworn in as departmental reserve deputies before they were cleared through background checks. Michael Schroeder, campaign advisor for Carona, could not be reached for immediate comment.

Martin said he saw the pictures Wednesday for the first time. "Rick Rizzolo is a known Mafia associate," Martin said. "He owns a strip club up in Vegas and he has a criminal background."

The picture, he said, was taken at the Ritz restaurant in Newport Beach, "during some ceremony. We know the sheriff is in uniform, and (it is) obviously a social gathering. They look to be pretty close here."

Pointing to another photo, Martin said Carona is "in the middle giving deputy reserve sheriff's badges to Glusman, who likes to associate with the Mafia especially at his (Newport Beach) restaurant and another one in Vegas."

Martin said Glusman likes to host a clientele that is known to law enforcement officers. "His places are hangouts for known mobsters," Martin said. Martin said he does not know of any criminal background for Primm. "I don't know if he has one," Martin said. "What I saw today was really over the top for Orange County's sheriff," Martin said of the photos. Organized crime agents, according to the Weekly, say the Rizzolo posed for the shot at the Ritz sometime between 2002-04.

Rizzolo, according to investigators, is tied to Chicago and New York organized crime families, and has been described by the Las Vegas Review Journal as a target of an ongoing corruption probe.

The Orange County Register reported in November that Carona accepted a contribution of $1,500 from Rizzolo, and Carona's media consultants acknowledged the men met two or three times.

Two weeks ago, according to the Weekly, Carona's spokesmen said they were "clueless" about Rizzolo's occupation and mob ties.

Glusman, according to the Weekly, flashed his sheriff's badge during a parking space dispute with a former officer, who reported it to police. Glusman resigned before an internal affairs investigation was completed, the Weekly reported.

Carona drew criticism for appointing political allies to reserve deputy positions in 1999 over the objections of the department's own background investigators. According to published reports, Carona appointed 86 allies, friends and relatives to the reserve program, before background checks were completed and days before the state stiffened training requirements. They were later removed from the state's peace officer database after it was determined the checks were incomplete, but the Sheriff's Department allowed the reservists to keep their badges and in some cases, department-issued guns.

Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Times reported that a handgun belonging to a reserve Orange County sheriff's deputy turned up at the mansion of the former video game executive accused of crashing a Ferrari in Malibu in February.

Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies confiscated the gun during a raid at the Bel-Air home of Bo Stefan Eriksson, who faces grand theft, embezzlement and driving under the influence charges related to the accident, and detectives were trying to determine how Eriksson came in possession of the weapon.

A sheriff's department spokesman told The Times that the .357 magnum Smith & Wesson was registered to Roger A. Davis, a Newport Beach businessman and deputy with the Orange County sheriff's professional services division.

Davis was issued a permit to carry a concealed weapon by the Orange County Sheriff's Department in August 2002 for protection, and detectives were still trying to sort out Davis' connection to Eriksson.

Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, said the gun was a key piece of evidence. Prosecutors have charged Eriksson with a weapons violation because, as a convicted felon, he is not allowed to possess a firearm.

Martin said the article and photos are "really more a reflection of the failed reserve program that (Carona) calls the professional services reserve program."

"These names have been around, but we've never realized at this point that they were sworn in," Martin said.

Martin said Carona, within the last six months, returned the $1,500 donation from Rizzolo. "If any of (Carona's) deputies were found to be associated with any criminals and internal affairs investigation would be launched and they would be disciplined and terminated," Martin said.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Witness Protection Program Places High-Profile Mob Informant on Kansas City Royals

Friends of ours: Junior Gotti, John Gotti

The Kansas City Royals added a new rightfielder yesterday – a 5-foot-8, 275 pound, 53-year old mob informant the federal witness protection placed with the team as a means to keep him out of public view.

Listed on the roster as "Jim Smith," the new Royal is reportedly Vinnie Macaluso, a construction foreman and Mafioso from New Jersey who is preparing to testify for the government in the trial of John A. Gotti, the son of late mob boss John Gotti.

No one from the Federal Witness Protection program would comment on record about "Smith," but an anonymous source within the department confirmed Macaluso was placed with the Royals. "We couldn't think of a place where a person is more likely to go unnoticed than with the Kansas City Royals," said the source. "By playing with them we can be assured no one will ever find him because his face will never be on television and because almost no one attends their games."

"Smith" reportedly has never played baseball in his life, something the Witness Protection program thinks works to their advantage. "Since he'll probably be striking out all the time and dropping fly balls and falling down and stuff, he'll fit in perfectly with the Royals and won't raise flags with anyone," said the source. "We heard he could actually play a little bit of football, so that's why we didn't place him with the Arizona Cardinals."

Thanks to the Sports Pickle

Friday, April 28, 2006

Now on DVD: In the Mix


Singer Usher stars in this romantic comedy as a nightclub DJ who saves the life of a mob boss (Chazz Palminteri), then finds trouble when he falls for the don's daughter. The DVD has deleted scenes and a making-of featurette.

It's Splitsville!

Friends of ours: John "Dapper Don" Gotti
Friends of mine: Louis Eppolito, Stephen Caracappa


Mafia cop Louis Eppolito and his mouthpiece Bruce Cutler are calling it quits. Less than a week after the convicted hit man for the mob complained to the Daily News that his lawyers "abandoned" him and former NYPD partner Stephen Caracappa at their trial, his defense lawyers had a message of their own.

"Counsel agree that Mr. Eppolito should have new counsel represent him," Cutler's co-counsel Bettina Schein informed the judge in a letter filed late Friday. "We respectfully request Mr. Eppolito be afforded sufficient time to find new counsel."

What amounted to a legal divorce filing came just days after an exclusive Daily News interview in which Eppolito blasted the colorful Cutler — best known as the lawyer for the late mob boss John (Dapper Don) Gotti.

"We were abandoned by the lawyers," Eppolito told The News. "They put up no defense for our lives. I believe you have to fight."

The legal bickering also came less than three weeks after Eppolito and Caracappa were convicted by a Brooklyn federal jury of eight gangland murders — including two killings they personally carried out for the Luchese crime family while they were NYPD detectives.

The duo faces life in prison without the possibility of parole when sentenced in one of the most notorious cases of police corruption in NYPD history.

Federal Judge Jack Weinstein ordered a hearing for today on Eppolito's comments — made to The News in a phone interview from the Metropolitan Detention Center, where he is being held in solitary confinement.

"I wanted to take the stand. I begged them," Eppolito, 57, told The News. "I said, 'Put me up there. This is my life I'm fighting for.'"

Eppolito's family members stepped up the blame in letters to the judge made public last week. "Lou and Steve had two very able attorneys that did not put on a defense," wrote Eppolito's sister Paula Guarneri. "There is so much the jury did not hear in their defense."

Cutler generated a lot of noise in court with his theatrics, but not much else, jurors told The News after the April 6 verdict. Schein mostly handled the legal paperwork.

The search for a new lawyer will likely delay sentencing currently scheduled for May 22. Eppolito's new lawyer must review the entire case and prepare a motion to set aside the verdict.

Caracappa, 64, has not publicly stated any opinion about his lawyer, Edward Hayes. "I think I'll stay with him until the sentencing," Hayes said. "I think he needs a fresh view for the appeal, but I will assist him in any way I can."

Thanks to John Marzulli

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Overheard: Longshoreman's Union

Homeland Security announced Tuesday all U.S. port workers will have to undergo background checks to look for any security threats. This administration doesn't know the Longshoreman's Union. There are no more patriotic Americans than the Mafia.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Mob Cop's Daughter Begs Judge: Free Dad

Friends of mine: Louis Eppolito, Stephen Caracappa

Daddy's dearest is coming to the rescue again.

The daughter of convicted Mafia cop Louis Eppolito has fired off an emotional letter to Brooklyn Federal Judge Jack Weinstein, attacking the government's case, dissing her father's lawyers and begging the judge to set aside his conviction. In short, the dark-haired beauty launched the kind of defense her father claims he didn't get at his trial.

"There were so many things that I thought would have come out in trial, so many pieces of information and evidence that would have shown reasonable doubt and let the jury know that my father and Steve Caracappa are innocent," Andrea Eppolito said in a four-page missive made public yesterday.

"I don't know why the lawyers didn't do certain things, ask certain questions, or take a more aggressive defense. Your Honor, please do not punish my father and our family for those mistakes," she added.

A year ago today, Eppolito made front-page news when she unexpectedly waltzed in front of a bevy of microphones and delivered an impassioned defense of her father after a routine courthouse appearance.

This time around, Eppolito, a 29-year-old marketing specialist from Las Vegas, wrote Weinstein she was appealing to him "on behalf of my father, my family, and in the name of justice."

She implored the judge to set aside the April 6 verdict in which her dad and Caracappa, his former NYPD partner, were convicted of being linked to eight mob murders.

The disgraced ex-detective also ripped defense lawyers Bruce Cutler and Bettina Schein for not allowing him to testify and not aggressively defending him. Weinstein will hold a hearing Monday to determine whether Eppolito needs new counsel.

In her missive, Andrea says her dad's 1992 biography, "Mafia Cop," in which Eppolito admits his father, uncle and cousin were in the Mafia, revealed a family history that was largely kept secret from her as a child.

"My father walked away from a life of crime that was filled with easy money, easy hours, lies, deceit, coercion, murder and many other degrading acts, to wake up early, put on a uniform or suit and carry a badge.

"Please do not condemn him, do not force him to pay for the sins of his father and the family that came before him."

Thanks to John Marzulli

Four-Year Gotti Offer

Friends of ours: Junior Gotti, John Gotti, Gambino Crime Family

The feds have made John "Junior" Gotti an offer he likely can't refuse.
John
Gotti is secretly weighing whether to accept a new plea deal that would put him behind bars for less than four years in exchange for pleading guilty to racketeering charges, two sources familiar with the negotiations told The Post.

While Gotti, 42, has yet to sign off on the deal, he is seriously considering it and could plead guilty as soon as next week, one of the sources said.

The offer includes a five-year prison sentence that would likely be whittled down to 31/2 years behind bars with credit for time he's already served - roughly one-tenth of the 30-year sentence he could face if a jury convicts him.

The new terms mirror those sought by Gotti last November, but prosecutors then refused to go below a 10-year sentence. The feds sweetened the deal after a jury failed to reach a verdict in his case last month - Gotti's second mistrial. A third trial is scheduled to begin July 5.

The son of John "Dapper Don" Gotti would also have to fork over $500,000 in cash under the proposed deal - a measly sum compared to the $25 million in forfeitures now hanging over his head.

Once released, the father of five would be forced to move from his Oyster Bay, L.I., home. The terms of the deal bar him from living in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut or Massachusetts, a source said.

Gotti's lawyer, Charles Carnesi, declined to comment on the negotiations. A call to prosecutors was not returned.

Gotti has admitted he once ran the Gambino crime family for his father, but claims he left the mob in 1999.

To accept the deal, Gotti would have to admit to more recent racketeering charges, including loan-sharking and extortion, and the sensational 1992 kidnapping of radio host Curtis Sliwa. Sliwa was shot in a stolen taxi allegedly piloted by a Gambino thug, but managed to escape by climbing out the window.

The new offer, with its five-year prison term, is a fraction of any previous deal put on the table. Prior his first trial, in the summer of 2005, Gotti rejected an offer that would have forced him to serve 18 years behind bars.

When a jury failed to reach a verdict, Gotti's then-lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman, negotiated a 10-year sentence and $1 million in forfeitures, but Gotti had a change of heart and rejected the offer. The gamble paid off when a second jury failed to reach a verdict in March - it was reported split 8-4 in favor of acquittal.

The mob scion has long been a suspect in three murders - a double hit in 1992 on Thomas and Rosemary Uva, who were known for robbing mob-connected social clubs, as well as the slaying of Danny Silva in a 1983 barroom brawl.

The new offer does not protect him from prosecution in those cases should the feds develop new evidence.

Thanks to Kati Cornell

Gambino Boss Heading to Jail

NINE YEARS FOR GEEZER GODFATHER

Friend of ours: Gambino Crime Family, Arnold "Zeke" Squitieri, Peter Gotti, John Gotti, Gregory DePalma

Reputed Gambino head Arnold "Zeke" Squitieri copped a plea to racketeering charges stemming from a daring three-year probe by an undercover FBI agent who infiltrated the crime family's ranks and brought down its leadership.

Squitieri, 70, confessed to racketeering and three shakedown schemes in a plea deal with the feds that will likely land him behind bars for nine years - roughly half the time he would have faced had he taken his chances with a jury. But the aging mafioso, who appeared in Manhattan Federal Court clad in tan prison garb that exposed a tattooed arm, made it clear he wasn't pleading guilty to save himself.

After admitting his misdeeds yesterday, Squitieri turned to coldly point at his wife, Marie, in the spectator seats.

"I did it for you. I pleaded guilty because of you," Squitieri said, prompting his wife to well up with tears and rush from the courtroom.

Also looking on were three of Squitieri's daughters, including raven-haired attorney Ginger Squitieri, who sat next to her father as a member of his defense team and greeted him with a kiss.

The feds claim Squitieri took the reins as Gambino acting boss when reputed boss Peter Gotti was arrested in 2002 - the first generation of Gambino bosses in the post-John Gotti era.

Under the deal hammered out with Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Conniff, Squitieri confessed to racketeering and raking in cash through shakedown schemes targeting two construction companies, in Mineola, L.I., and Westchester, and a New Jersey trucking company.

"I know it was wrong," Squitieri said. But the reputed mob leader - identified by the feds as an acting boss - kept his lips zipped when asked to acknowledge his role in the Gambino crime family.

"Mr. Squitieri makes no concession with respect to the name of the enterprise," defense lawyer Gerald Shargel told Magistrate Judge Michael Dolinger.

"With the Gambino name out of it? Guilty," said Squitieri, who must also forfeit $100,000 in cash.

The gravelly-voiced wiseguy joked with the judge when asked to identify the time frame of his crimes. "I can't remember too good, your honor. I'm getting up in age," Squitieri said, estimating that the extortions occurred between 1999 and 2005.

The feds have pegged Squitieri as official underboss and acting boss of the crime family, but some members of his ranks viewed him as holding the ultimate power, according to tapes of secretly recorded conversations.

On Nov. 5, 2004, steely-nerved undercover FBI agent "Jack Falcone" asked reputed capo Gregory DePalma if Squitieri was acting boss, to which the high-ranking mobster replied, "No, he's the boss. The boss is the boss," law-enforcement sources said.

In that same momentous conversation, DePalma told the 6-foot-4, 300-pound-plus Falcone he wanted to propose him as a "made" member of the crime family - not knowing he was an undercover agent.

The probe came to an abrupt end soon after this exchange in order to protect the burly agent, who was later targeted in a $250,000 murder contract foiled by the feds in August 2005 and first reported by The Post.

Squitieri was one of 32 reputed mobsters rounded up in March 2005 as the result of the daring undercover investigation, and all but two have pleaded guilty.

Thanks to Kati Cornell and Murray Weis

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Mafia Cop's Bizarre Nondefense

Friends of ours: John Gotti
Friends of mine: Louis Eppolito, Stephen Caracappa

Finally, Louie Eppolito offers a defense. His defense is that he had no defense.

The Mafia cop, in a jailhouse interview with my colleague Greg B. Smith in yesterday's Daily News, claimed that his defense team in his recent trial at which he was convicted of eight-mob related murders was poor.

Eppolito wasn't the only one surprised by the unfocused defense offered by Bruce Cutler and Eddie Hayes, two high-profile lawyers. In fact, Eppolito's first mistake probably was hiring Cutler. If you're trying to convince a jury that you're not mobbed up, why would you hire John Gotti's mouthpiece, the most high-profile mob lawyer in New York?

Almost everyone who attended the trial on a regular basis was surprised by the defense, which often rambled, got lost in name-calling and histrionics, and looked flatfooted in cross-examinations.

By contrast, Burton Kaplan was the best prosecution witness many court observers ever saw. His spellbinding testimony was like listening to an Elmore Leonard novel on tape. He was the quintessential shady Brooklyn character, an ingenious street kid who seemed to consciously have chosen "Crime" as a life plan on Career Day at Manual Training High.

Here was a complex man who says he loves his wife of 49 years, although he took a lover while on the lam. A man who adores his daughter - who became a Criminal Court judge - but a father who at middle age crossed the line to commit a murder that left two other daughters without a father. A family man who helped cause funerals in seven other families. And yet the defense was never able to paint this grab bag of contradictions as a liar.

The government started with a clear and lucid opening by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mitra Hormozi, who led the jury through a nightmarish narrative of two cops who betrayed their badges for money in a sociopathic spree of kidnapping, bribery and murder. No $50 words, no table thumping, no bellowing. Just a well-prepared lawyer telling a compelling, true-crime story in prose as sparse and direct as James M. Cain's in "The Postman Always Rings Twice."

The great Samuel Goldwyn, who founded MGM studios, once said that he could tell if a movie was working by whether or not his butt squirmed. Not one juror squirmed during Hormozi's opening.

Then, lead U.S. prosecutor Robert Henoch, a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserves who had served in the Middle East, started calling witnesses to support Hormozi's harrowing tale. Henoch led Kaplan through his direct testimony, which was filled with precise, damning details like knowing where former Eppolito partner Stephen Caracappa's mother lived on Staten Island. Or that Caracappa had a black cat in an apartment in a "thin" building on 22nd St. in Manhattan. Or that he met with Eppolito at a "lady friend's" apartment in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. Each detail became another brick in a prison wall.

Neither cop took the stand to counter Kaplan's testimony. Eppolito now claims that his lawyers forbade him from testifying. Excuse me, the client is the boss. But the two Mafia cops did worse than not testifying. Through the entire trial Eppolito and Caracappa sat stoically, showing zero emotion as their freedom was chipped away piece by icy piece by 40 prosecution witnesses. Noted anthropologist and linguist Ray Birdwhistell says the human face is capable of some 250,000 facial expressions. During the three-week trial, Eppolito and Caracappa each chose one expression - blank. Which made them look like the cold-blooded killers the prosecution claimed they were.

Weird.

If I were a wrongly accused man fighting for my life, and my lawyers convinced me taking the stand would be counterproductive, I would at least use my face to emote and register outrage, horror, astonishment, disbelief, incredulity, shock, pity, sadness, rage and disappointment to the 12 very human jurors sitting in the box, who gazed constantly at the defendants for reaction to the terrible things being said about them. Only to see two blocks of ice.

If Burton Kaplan was falsely connecting me to eight Mafia murders, the U.S. Marshals would need to bind and gag me to keep me still and silent. If Eppolito was being framed, as he now claims from a jail cell, why didn't he leap from his seat in the courtroom and scream, "Liar!" Why not plant at least a single seed of doubt in the mind of even one juror by reacting like an innocent man framed?

What was the risk? A few days held in contempt while you're facing life in a cage? Instead, Eppolito waited until the jury said, "Guilty" 70 times, after which he embraced and backslapped Cutler, before claiming he doesn't know what the defense was thinking.

During the trial, many on the jury were probably wondering the same of poker-faced Eppolito.

Thanks to Denis Hamill

Monday, April 17, 2006

After Conviction 'Mafia cop' Insists: 'It Was a Perfect Frame'

Friends of mine: Louis Eppolito, Stephen Caracappa

In his first interview since being convicted of racketeering conspiracy, so-called "Mafia cop" Louis Eppolito maintained his innocence, insisting that he was the victim of "a perfect frame."

"I was the most perfect scapegoat in history. Nobody was better than I was," Eppolito told the Daily News for Monday editions.

Days after being convicted alongside former NYPD partner Stephen Caracappa for doubling as hit men for the mob, Eppolito claimed he was targeted in part because he had been accused in 1984 of leaking secrets to the Mafia. He was later cleared of those initial charges. "It left a stigma that I was connected to the mob," he told the newspaper by telephone on Friday.

The former detective said he had thought about facing the family members of victims. "I'm going to have to stand there and have people look at me and say, 'You killed my father, you killed my son,"' Eppolito said. "I didn't kill anybody. ... What am I supposed to do? They'll say you don't have remorse."

Both men were convicted April 6 of participating in eight brutal killings while on the monthly payroll of a murderous Mafia underboss. They were also found guilty of kidnapping, witness tampering and bribery _ and of providing inside law enforcement information to the mob.

Neither man took the stand during the trial, though Eppolito told the Daily News that he "begged" his lawyers to let him take the stand.

The 57-year-old said his predicament could be blamed on his 1992 book, "Mafia Cop," which key witness Burton Kaplan said from the stand was "the reason for all our troubles."

"I've thought about it a million times," Eppolito admitted. "I would not have been arrested if I hadn't written the book."

"Still," he said, "there are no regrets. Not a one."

Mafia Cop Raped Me, Gal Says

Drug Bust Wife's Shocking Claim

Friends of mine: Stephen Caracappa, Louis Eppolito

Mob cop Stephen Caracappa was not only a murderous Mafia mole when he wore an NYPD badge - he also was a rapist, according to a bombshell charge.

"That man reminded me of the devil - he was Satan," alleged victim Diane Frisco said about the dirty ex-detective, who she first met in the late 1970s while Caracappa was an undercover narcotics cop putting together a case against her and her husband, Richard Warme.

Frisco and Warme were once eyed as potential character witnesses for the feds in their case against Caracappa and disgraced former partner Louis Eppolito, who were convicted on murder raps earlier this month.

While being questioned on the Caracappa drug connection, Frisco told investigators that he had lured her into a Bronx motel room in 1978 and raped her. Her husband was in prison at the time awaiting trial after the then-cop busted him for facilitating a drug deal.

Warme said her ordeal began after then-cop Caracappa, whom she had only known as "Frankie Black" - his undercover persona - came to her house off the Throgs Neck Expressway and explained, "You know I can help your husband when it comes time for trial."

"Remember, I'm holding all the aces, kid," Caracappa allegedly told Frisco, now 58, who was charged along with her husband and was out on bail at the time. She was later acquitted at trial.

A few days later, Caracappa drove her to the Town and Country Motel on Conner Street, now a women's shelter, and led her into a first-floor room. "He put me on the bed and took off my pants," Frisco told The Post. "I was frozen - crying and frozen," she said, describing how Caracappa undressed and looked like "a skinny gorilla."

She never reported the loathsome tryst because the detective told her, "If you say anything, no one's going to believe you." "I felt dirty, filthy," said Frisco, who is threatening legal action against Caracappa. "I felt violated."

She also described some of the strong-arm tactics the cop allegedly used while acting as Frankie Black, including threatening to cut off her daughter's fingers if drugs weren't delivered to him.

She said the terrifying ordeal forced her to send her five children to stay with relatives in Arizona, where she also went for a year after her legal woes were cleared up. She then returned to The Bronx and took on her grandparent's last name.

Frisco eventually divorced Warme.

Warme, 59, is also preparing to sue Caracappa, claiming that the former cop made bogus statements on the stand about Warme taking off with $20,000 he had given him for drugs.

Caracappa testified to giving Warme cash at the man's 1978 trial. Warme adamantly denies ever receiving the moolah and now believes the rogue cop pocketed it.

Ed Hayes, Caracappa's lawyer, said he didn't know enough about the couple to comment on the charges.

Warme admits that he was "no angel," and that he helped put Caracappa in touch with drug dealers because, "at the time, I was desperate for money."

He told The Post how he was first asked to track down cocaine, then heroin.

Prosecutors tried to introduce evidence at the mob cops' trial that Caracappa was caught on tape admitting to using cocaine while working in the narcotics unit, but the judge wouldn't let the jury hear it.

Frisco and Warme were being considered as potential witnesses in the case but wound up not being asked to speak under oath, partly because of an abundance of other evidence against the former officers.

The ex-cops are to be sentenced on racketeering raps, including murder and drug dealing, May 22.

Thanks to Patrick Gallahue and Zach Haberman

How Ol' Blue Eyes Charmed a Princess

Princess Margaret invited Frank Sinatra to perform a favourite song for her in an affectionate letter.

Friends of mine: Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
He was the original pop idol, a brash entertainer with links to the Mafia. She was the Queen’s wild younger sister, a princess famed for her beauty, whose life tore a blazing path through popular culture. Now an affectionate handwritten letter from the Princess Margaret to Frank Sinatra has been discovered, inviting Ol' Blue Eyes to come swing with her at Kensington Palace.

It was March 1971. Sinatra had contacted the Princess from aboard the QE2, as he prepared for a tour in London. Her two-page reply, dated March 19, bears her distinctive M insignia, reveals her home telephone number, and requests a personal performance of the song Out of this World.

The Princess, who at the time was darling of the gossip columns and regularly voted one of the world's most beautiful women, could only have been flattered by the lyrics. In the song, Sinatra who had divorced the actress Mia Farrow three years earlier, would profess his love for her — for not one but two eternites. The Princess's own marriage to Lord Snowdon was to end in divorce five years later.

She had known Sinatra for more that ten years. Inviting him to dinner at the palace, she wrote: "Dear Frank, So nice to hear from you from the dear old ship and we would love to dine with you and perhaps it would amuse you to see the ancient dwelling (1690) which we have brought up to date."

The Princess, who was referring to her apartments at Kensington Palace, gave him her telephone number — the Clarence House switchboard.

"My mother's house so don't be put off and think that you have the wrong place. Because the operator will put you through."

In the letter, which has been acquired by Argyll Etkin, the London auctioneers who specialise in Royal memorabilia, the Princess requests one song. "Please brush up on the Out of This World song for all the fans of that particular music awaiting you," she wrote. "Yours very sincerely, Margaret."

Ian Shapiro, the joint managing director of Argyll Etkin, said that the letter was fascinating. "She was not a prolific letter writer, which is what makes this so interesting. She signed letters to the family Margot, and to friends Margaret."

The auction house acquired the letter on Kensington Palace headed notepaper from a private customer. It is valued at about £1,500. The letter has come to light as controversy grows over the sale of jewellery, silver, furniture and works of art owned by Princess Margaret to pay death duties on her estate.

The sale, by her son Lord Linley, includes gifts inscribed from her "devoted Papa" George VI, the Poltimore tiara that she wore at her wedding in 1960, and the Pietro Annigoni portrait of the Princess in 1957.

Sir Roy Strong, the former curator of the National Portrait Gallery, said: "I would be sorry to see it go overseas after sale at auction. Princess Margaret loved it".

In the "swinging Sixties" Princess Margaret and her husband, a society photographer, were at the heart of the new pop culture. They met, sang and danced to the music of the best bands and singers from the Beatles to the jazz musician Duke Ellington. Sinatra was a firm favourite of the couple.

Sinatra performed at a number of concerts for the Princess in front of fans to raise money for children's charities. Christopher Warwick, in his biography Princess Margaret: A Life of Contrasts disclosed that Sinatra had once paid the Princess a fulsome compliment.

Sinatra said: "Princess Margaret is just as hep wide-awake as any American girl, may be more so. She is up on all the latest records and movies and has a lot of wit and charm too. She is the best ambassador England ever had."

Thanks to Andrew Pierce

Boss: Ex-agent no thug - Former FBI chief backs DeVecchio

Friends of ours: Gregory Scarpa Sr., Colombo Crime Family

The former head of the FBI in New York insists that ex-G-man Lindley DeVecchio is innocent of charges that he helped fuel a top mob capo's murderous reign. Speaking out for the first time on the controversial case, James Kallstrom defended DeVecchio's handling of killer mobster Gregory Scarpa Sr. - and called the former agent a "hard worker" who risked his life going undercover to help smash the Mafia.

"Lin DeVecchio is not guilty and did not partake in what he's being charged with. It's as simple as that," Kallstrom, who now serves as senior counterterrorism adviser to Gov. Pataki, told the Daily News. "His work went a long way toward the success of the FBI task force breaking up La Cosa Nostra as we knew it."

Kallstrom, who was the face of the FBI through major cases such as the TWA Flight 800 probe and the first World Trade Center attack, has known the embattled agent more than 30 years.

He dismissed the corruption charges brought by Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes as a hodgepodge of old accusations that had been thoroughly investigated by the Justice Department and the FBI.

The probes failed to uncover enough evidence to charge DeVecchio with a crime or even to discipline him. "There was no finding that any of those charges were valid," Kallstrom said. "From my knowledge, the two investigations were voluminous and took literally years to complete."

He added, "I don't proclaim to know everything that the district attorney might know, but from what I do know, I don't believe he's guilty of those charges because they've been thoroughly investigated before."

Prosecutors have painted an entirely different picture, accusing DeVecchio of taking payoffs from Scarpa and supplying him with inside information that led to four underworld slayings. That arrangement, prosecutors say, helped DeVecchio enhance his stature within the FBI while giving the Colombo chieftain license to kill with impunity.

Kallstrom acknowledged handling informers is "a tricky business." But he categorically denied there were payoffs. "Of course not," he said, bristling.

He added that the bureau had no knowledge that Scarpa, allegedly with DeVecchio's tacit blessings, was orchestrating a series of killings that left the streets of Brooklyn awash in blood.

"The notion that the FBI knew [Scarpa] was out killing people is preposterous," said Kallstrom, adding there were many "checks and balances" to ensure DeVecchio and Scarpa's "close working relationship" remained above board.

Hynes' office says it has the evidence to prove otherwise. "We are prepared to go to trial," said a Hynes spokesman.

Kallstrom is backing the Friends of Lin DeVecchio Trust Web site to raise funds for DeVecchio's legal defense, joining scores of active and retired FBI agents including Joe Pistone, who went undercover in the Mafia as Donnie Brasco.

"We put a Web site up to try to help with his legal expenses, and I lent my name to that because I believe he's innocent," Kallstrom said.

Thanks to Angela Mosconi

Sunday, April 16, 2006

For Ex-F.B.I. Agent Accused in Murders, a Case of What Might Have Been

Friends of ours: Colombo Crime Family, Gregory Scarpa Sr., Victor J. Orena

R. Lindley DeVecchio once stood atop the New York office of the F.B.I. as a legendary Mafia hunter, a storied agent who helped break the back of the mob in the celebrated Commission Case. Now he stands accused of helping the mob commit murders, charged in a state indictment last month with feeding lethal secrets to a captain of organized crime.

Mr. DeVecchio has been hailed as a hero and tarnished as a scourge, and yet there was a moment in a Pennsylvania parking lot 30 years ago that almost caused him to be neither.

In 1976, as a young F.B.I. agent, Mr. DeVecchio sold old handguns to undercover officers, who later sought to charge him with a felony. Had he been convicted, the case might have led to prison or his dismissal as an agent. But Mr. DeVecchio, who said he acted legally and to benefit a widow, was neither jailed nor fired.

The case against him was ultimately discarded without an indictment by officials at the highest levels of the Justice Department, a decision that the federal prosecutor in the original case says was largely made by the top aide to the deputy United States attorney general, a 32-year-old attorney named Rudolph W. Giuliani.

"Rudy expressed no other reason not to prosecute the guy except the guy was a cop," said the former prosecutor, Daniel M. Clements, who is now in private practice. "And he didn't want to embarrass the bureau."

Mr. Clements said last week that he recalled in detail his meetings 30 years ago with Mr. Giuliani, as well as his frustration that the case was dismissed as unimportant.

Mr. Giuliani, who built a reputation in part by prosecuting corrupt police officers, said through a spokeswoman, Sunny Mindel, that he had no recollection of the DeVecchio case.

Whatever the level, if any, of Mr. Giuliani's role, the case stands as a long-buried piece of law enforcement history, a fork in the road that, if traversed differently, may have led to an entirely different set of consequences. Indeed, from the vantage point of 1976, the gun case may have seemed a minor matter. There was no way to know that seven years later, according to the state indictment filed last month in Brooklyn, Mr. DeVecchio would step across the line, helping a Mafia informant kill at least four people. But if Mr. DeVecchio had been pursued in 1976, would he have risen to lead the F.B.I. squad that hunted the Colombo crime family? Would he have had a role in some of the government's watershed cases against the mob? Would he now stand accused of second-degree murder?

His lawyer, Douglas E. Grover, said federal officials were right to never charge his client in the gun case because they were merely antiques that were peddled at a gun show. But he acknowledged that had that case been successfully pursued Mr. DeVecchio would probably have lost his job. "It also means that they may made not have made the Commission Case," he said, referring to a 1986 trial at which top organized crime leaders in New York City were convicted.

The gun case began in early 1976 when Mr. DeVecchio traveled from New York to King of Prussia, Pa., to sell a Nazi-era Luger at the Valley Forge Gun Show, which promotes itself as "a gun show in the truest American tradition."

He was looking, according to his testimony in a later case, to sell the weapons "for the benefit of the widow" to whom they belonged.

Without a license, he moved through the stalls of the firearms bazaar, and was soon approached by Michael Flax, an undercover agent with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Mr. Flax said. Mr. Flax's job was to troll the show in plainclothes looking for such illicit deals. That year alone, he said, several people he caught similarly selling guns without paperwork went to prison. "I was usually like, 'Gee I'd like to get this gun,' " he said in an interview from his retirement home in San Diego. ' "Do we have to go through all the paperwork?' "

Mr. Flax recalled that he bought the Luger in a parking lot outside the show. Over several weeks, he said, he pursued an investigation of Mr. DeVecchio in which a second agent secretly recorded the F.B.I. man selling another gun. He said that Mr. DeVecchio, at one point, gave him a phone number at which he might be reached. It was, he said, an office of the New York F.B.I.

A few weeks later, Mr. Flax brought the case to Mr. Clements, then a young federal prosecutor in Baltimore. Mr. Clements is now in private practice and active in the Democratic Party, having given money to candidates like John Kerry and Al Gore.

"Flax comes to me saying, 'You're not going to believe this,' " Mr. Clements said last week. " 'I have an F.B.I. agent selling guns illegally.' "

A few months later, Mr. Clements said he told the F.B.I. as a courtesy that he was investigating one of its agents. A few weeks passed, he said, with discussions back and forth with F.B.I. officials in Maryland and in Washington. "The next person I heard from," he went on, "was Rudolph Giuliani."

Mr. Giuliani was, at that point, an aide to Harold Tyler, the deputy attorney general, who reviewed such cases. Mr. Giuliani had joined his staff in 1975 after serving in the United States attorney's office in Manhattan where he had helped direct the prosecution in the Prince of the City police corruption case.

Over several weeks, Mr. Clements said, Mr. Giuliani asked him to write a pair of memoranda on the case in which he noted that Mr. DeVecchio had sold the guns without the proper paperwork, a crime, Mr. Clements said, for which he thought there was sufficient evidence to prosecute. Mr. Clements said he attended a pair of meetings about the case with Mr. Giuliani, including one in Mr. Giuliani's office also attended by Mr. Tyler and Jervis Finney, the United States attorney in Maryland who was then Mr. Clements's boss.

Mr. Finney, now the chief lawyer for the governor of Maryland, said last week he has no recollection of the meeting. But Mr. Clements produced a datebook he said he had saved that listed a meeting with Mr. Giuliani in June 1976.

At that meeting and a subsequent meeting in October, Mr. Clements said Mr. Giuliani repeated his desire not to prosecute the case, saying the guns were old and the sale of them without paperwork did not warrant prosecution.

Judge Tyler, who Mr. Clements said was at the second meeting, died last year. The bottom line, after both meetings, Mr. Clements said, was that the case would be dropped.

In the ensuing years, Mr. DeVecchio rose to lead the F.B.I.'s special unit that investigates the Colombo crime family, a position in which he had success in part because of his relationship with a captain in the family, Gregory Scarpa Sr., who became his informant.

The closeness of that relationship ultimately led to a two-year inquiry of Mr. DeVecchio by the F.B.I. that ended in 1996 with the decision to bring no charges against him. But Mr. DeVecchio soon retired.

In 1997, the old gun case briefly resurfaced. At a federal appeals hearing in Brooklyn. Mr. DeVecchio was called as a witness by a gangster, Victor J. Orena, who was trying to win his freedom by suggesting that Mr. DeVecchio was a corrupt agent who had lied about the facts in his case. Under questioning by Gerald Shargel, Mr. Orena's lawyer, Mr. DeVecchio acknowledged selling the guns to the federal agents.

Mr. Shargel then went on to ask him: "Do you remember agents of the A.T.F. reporting to the F.B.I. and Rudolph Giuliani — not yet the mayor — that you had lied to those agents who questioned you, that when confronted with the crimes that you committed, you gave them false exculpatory statements?"

Mr. DeVecchio said that he did not.

In the new indictment, announced last month by Charles J. Hynes, the Brooklyn district attorney, Mr. DeVecchio is accused of helping Mr. Scarpa commit at least four murders in the 1980's and early 1990's in exchange for weekly payments. Most of the victims had been talking to the authorities, prosecutors said, and thus were a threat to Mr. Scarpa.

When Mr. Clements read of the indictment, he said he was surprised. At the same time, he recalled the words that he and Mr. Flax had swapped, years ago, when the gun case, as he put it, "went away."

It was an old-time adage on those who break the law, a general theory of recidivist crime. "If someone's a bad actor, we'll get him again," he remembered telling Mr. Flax.

Thanks to Alan Feuer

Don Mafia: the relentless pursuit of prominence

I will occasionally feature articles on hip-hop/rap stars who are looking to create an image based upon a particular mafiosa from the past. It is always interesting to examine the mafia's influence on pop-culture and vice versa.

It may well be that the image of the Mafia don, romanticised both in media (The Sopranos) and in real life (the flashy rise and fall of NYC Mafioso John Gotti) is having a deeper than suspected impact here.

Along comes the artist Don Mafia, formerly known as Gringo (you may remember the track Slam Bam), whose Mafia House production has gained attention recently through his link with top DJ Beenie Man.

Well the DJ is now seeking his career further and has wholly adopted the Mafia ethos -with he says, an explanation. "The name really speaks to a 'Mafia mentality' which you need in this business, that is, you have to be relentless in establishing your thing and going for what you know is right," Mafia explained.

Since last February, the 'musical Mafioso' has been on a schedule -mostly recordings - that would 'rub out' lesser beings, but the Don asserts that he cannot afford to be too comfortable. "I have to keep working. Is long time I'm in this business now, and I understand - through all the drama and the fight I been through - what I need to do at this stage."

The same applies in his lyrics, which he says, have matured from his early days as a "counteraction specialist" "I not in the counteraction thing again. A guy want to hate me, then him go ahead. I have to come different now and just focus on my thing and the company, cause no matter where else I've been or whatever else I been doing, I always have to come back to music."

Regarding his better-known partner, Don Mafia has nothing but praise. "I know Beeneie Man from King Jammys'. He saw him work a show one day at Fort Clarence and from that the association start." The association has seen the Don writing hit tunes for the Doctor, beginning with Straight Prison and including many more.

Among his own trove of current singles is Born A Man. The former Apositolic churchgoer and member of his devotional team at Decarteret College is also getting busier on the performing front, appearing at shows big and small around the island.

"The reason why I can't sit still is that I always thinking of new things, I always have new ideas. As a Mafia you always have to be a few steps ahead of the game."

Giannoulias Laying Low After Bank Loan To Mobster - Family Bank Loaned Money To Operator Of Call Girl Ring

Friends of ours: Michael Giorango

Questions about loans to a convicted mobster are dominating the race for Illinois state treasurer. Alexi Giannoulias is laying low while studying the millions in loans his family’s bank made to the operator of a national call girl ring.

Christine Radogno is the Republican candidate for state treasurer. A veteran of the General Assembly, she faults her Democratic opponent for the confusing twists and turns he's taken trying to explain how he came to do business with a mob-connected ex-convict.

"You need someone who, one, knows what's going on, and, two, has the experience to handle the job," she said. "And I think both of those things are lacking based on what we've seen from the latest press release."

Alexi Giannoulias won a hotly contested Democratic primary for state treasurer last month by campaigning, in part, on the financial expertise he said he gained as a top banking executive.

Both before and after the election, Giannoulias claimed to know little or nothing about $15.4 million in loans his family's privately owned Broadway Bank granted to Michael Giorango, who's been convicted of running gambling and prostitution rings.

Of those mob-connected enterprises, Giannoulias said in a prepared statement: "What they did was wrong...inexcusable. If I had known...I do not believe...we would have approved those loans. (But) there was nothing illegal. I admit...I mishandled some questions."

His most prominent supporter, Sen. Barack Obama, wants answers, but is still on board. "I continue to believe Alexi is a person of good character and his experience will serve him in good stead as treasurer," Obama said.

Sen. Obama told CBS 2's Mike Flannery that he's advised Giannoulias that he needs to be sure the public statements he makes are accurate.

An aide to the candidate said Giannoulias is going to avoid making any public statements for the next week and will study his bank's loan portfolio, something Sen. Radogno finds very strange, since Giannoulias supposedly has been overseeing those very same loans for sometime now.

Thanks to Mike Flannery

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Mandalay Hopes "Mafia Cop" Produces Another Hit

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


Mandalay Pictures has turned last week's national news headlines into a project titled "Mafia Cop", a film based on the life of highly decorated NYPD detective Louis Eppolito, who was found guilty, along with Steven Caracappa, of participating in eight murders, two attempted murders, one murder conspiracy, money laundering, obstruction of justice and drug distribution.

Mandalay has Eppolito's life rights as well as film rights to the book the highly decorated imprisoned detective penned with Bob Drury about his life . The case is being labelled as one of the worst police corruption scandals in New York's history and detailed accounts on the stand showed the men often used their power to commit crimes while feeding police intelligence to Mafia underboss Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso.

Eppolito also has more than a dozen acting credits on his resume including Martin Scorsese's "GoodFellas". Scribe Dan Gordon ("The Hurricane") who attended the three-week trial will pen the screenplay

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Two Decades Later, Family Sees Justice in New York 'Mafia Cops' Case

Friends of ours: Lucchese Crime Family, Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, Gambino Crime Family, Jimmy Hydell, Eddie Lino
Friends of mine: Louis Eppolito, Stephen Caracappa

In 1986, an unassuming jeweler named Israel Greenwald was secretly shot dead inside a Brooklyn garage and buried on the spot. His family had no clue he was executed _ or that two police detectives doubling as hit men for the Mafia were involved.

The family finally found a measure of peace on Thursday while on hand for guilty verdicts against Louis Eppolito and Steven Caracappa, the so-called "Mafia Cops". "Finally, justice has been served," Greenwald's 28-year-old daughter, Lea, told reporters outside a Brooklyn courtroom.

The convictions - which came two decades after the ex-detectives committed their first murder on orders from Luchese underboss Anthony ''Gaspipe'' Casso - closed perhaps the most astonishing police corruption case in city history.

"There has never been, in the history of the NYPD, an officer convicted of being a hit man for the mob," said Tom Reppetto, co-author of "American Mafia" and "NYPD," a department history.

"There's cases of police misconduct, but going to work for organized crime? Wow." The federal jury in Brooklyn deliberated for two days in the case against Eppolito and Caracappa, who spent a combined 44 years on the force and once worked as partners. The pair, who were immediately jailed after the verdict, face up to life in prison.

Neither defendant betrayed any emotion during the 10 minutes where the jury forewoman replied "proven" 70 times to the racketeering acts.

Eppolito, 57, whose father was a member of the Gambino crime family, and Caracappa, 64, were respected city detectives who moonlighted as hired killers for Casso between 1986 and 1990. In two of the slayings, they used their police credentials to make traffic stops that ended with the driver killed.

In another instance, the pair kidnapped a man suspected in an attempted mob hit against Casso and turned him over to the underboss. Casso, a remorseless mobster responsible for 36 slayings, reportedly tortured and killed Jimmy Hydell in September 1986.

The most shocking murder involved bad information provided by the detectives about another suspect in the Casso murder attempt. The tip led to the mistaken-identity murder of an innocent man killed as his mother washed the dishes following a Christmas Day family dinner.

U.S. District Court Judge Jack B. Weinstein immediately revoked the defendants' $5 million bail pending their May 22 sentencing.

Hayes and Eppolito's attorney, Bruce Cutler, said they would appeal. "It's an appearance of justice, but it's not justice," Cutler told reporters outside court.

Prosecutors charged that the two used their positions as crime fighters to aid the crime family - at a price of $4,000 a month. Their salary increased when the detectives personally handled the killing, authorities said; they earned $65,000 for the slaying of mobster Eddie Lino during a phony traffic stop.

It was one of two slayings where the pair was directly involved.

A witness testified that Caracappa was present during the February 1986 slaying of Greenwald, who was allegedly cooperating with federal authorities. Jurors heard testimony from a parking lot attendant who described publicly for the first time how Eppolito stood guard while he was forced to dig a grave for the victim or face a bullet himself.

Another key prosecution witness was Burton Kaplan, an acknowledged drug dealer who spent four days on the stand linking the pair to an assortment of murders between 1986 and 1990. Kaplan testified that he served as a middleman between Casso and the detectives.

Before the defendants were led away to jail, Eppolito calmly removed his tie, belt and a gold chain from his bulky frame and handed them to one of his daughters. Left behindon the defense table were wrapping paper from Caracappa's Life Savers, a blank verdict sheet, some court transcripts and a fortune from a fortune cookie.

It read: "Wisdom is the principal thing."

Thanks to Tom Hays

Monday, April 10, 2006

Stephen Caracappa


Stephen Caracappa is former policemen from New York City who retired in 1980. In 2005, Caracappa and his former partner, Louis Eppolito, were charged with carrying out various crimes, including murder, on behalf of the Lucchese Crime Family during the 1980's while they were still NYPD detectives. The media has dubbed the pair the "Mafia Cops".

Both men, who were lifelong friends, moved to Las Vegas following their retirement.

In 1994, Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, a member of the Lucchese crime family, became an informant and first brought the authority's attention to Caracappa and Eppolito. Amongst other things he alleged that, in 1986, the two policemen kidnapped and murdered a member of the Gambino family named James Hydell on the orders of rival mobsters.

After a long investigation, both Caracappa and Eppolito were arrested in March 2005 and charged with racketeering, obstruction of justice and eight counts of murder, including that of James Hydell. They are also accused of conspiring to murder Sammy Gravano, the famous informant who helped put John Gotti behind bars.

Caracappa and Eppolito were convicted in April of 2006. On June 30th, the Judge in that case threw out the murder convictions and granted the two a new trial on money laundering and drug charges.

Chicago Syndicate Articles with Stephen Caracappa

Mafia Cops Request Bail
Mafia Detectives Risks Mafia Cops Case
Mafia Cops Judge to Rule on Bail After Vacation Cruise
Mother of Mafia Cops Victim Pleads with Mayor Bloomberg
Convictions Tossed in "Mafia Cops" Case
Judge Throws Out Murder Conviction in Mafia Cops Case

Mafia Cop Trial Defense Was "Excellent" Judge Says
Mafia Cop Testifies It's True He's a Liar
Yet Another Chapter in Mafia Cops Case
Private Eye Who Investigated Mafia Cops Attacked
A Family Torn Apart by Mafia Cops
Bruce Lost His Bite
Last Shot for "Mafia Cops": Lawyers Did It
The Badge Still Shines
Mafia Cops to Face Life Term
Mafia Cops Face Life in Prison at Sentencing
Kin of "Mafia Cops" Victims Sue NYPD
Mop Cop Will Make Case for Poor Defense
Judge: Basis for Appeal in 'Mafia Cops' Trial
It's Splitsville!
Mob Cop's Daughter Begs Judge: Free Dad
Mafia Cop's Bizarre Nondefense
After Conviction "Mafia Cop" Insists It was a Perfect Frame
Mafia Cop Raped Me, Gal Says
Mandalay Hopes "Mafia Cop" Produces Another Hit
Two Decades Later, Family Sees Justice in New York 'Mafia Cops' Case
He's Got Courage of Clients' Convictions
NYPD Detectives Convicted of Mob Murders
"Mafia Cops" Convicted of Murder
Defense in "Mafia Cops" Trial Closes in a Blaze of Name-Calling
Closing Arguments Begin in Colorful 'Mafia Cops' Trial
Key Witness to be Recalled in Trial of 2 'Mafia Cops'
Judge Denies Mistrial for "Mafia Cops"
In Mob Trial, a Spotlight on a Rogue
Time for "Mafia Cop" to Honor his Family
Man Says "Mafia Cops" Ordered Him to Dig Grave
'Mafia cops' trial has new sidebar
Mama Gets Her shot at 'Mob cops'
Drug Dealer Testifies That He Met Accused 'Mafia Cops' in Cemetery
Police Accused of Mafia Ties Head to Trial
Trial Begins of NY Cops Charged as Mafia Hit Men
Real Dons Steal Sopranos Limelight
Bad Cops First, Then Mob Cops?
Dramatic mob trials still fill the seats
Detectives Who Broke "Mafia Cops" Case Won't Testify At Trial
'Mafia Cops' prosecutors drop two murders
Murdered man's mother files $150M suit against city, 'Mafia Cops'
Alleged mob cop's wife arrested for tax evasion
Alleged Mafia Cop Speaks Out
"Mafia" Cop Had a Mole
New charges for 'Mafia cops'
OMERTA WANTED FROM 'MOB' LAWYERS
Will DNA testing clear the "Mafia Cops"?
'MAFIA COP' LIVID OVER MURDER-FRAME ACCUSATION
'Mafia Cops' lawyers demanding witness information
Did cops double as mob hit men?

He's Got Courage of Clients' Convictions

Friends of mine: Stephen Caracappa, Louis Eppolito

It was barely an hour after the jury came back in Brooklyn, carrying a verdict no defense attorney ever wants to hear. And Edward Hayes obviously wasn't enjoying this one.

His client, Stephen Caracappa, was one of the alleged "Mafia cops. " Caracappa had just been convicted in a racketeering conspiracy that included carrying out multiple hits for the mob.

"You lose a big case, and you feel awful," Hayes was saying, back now at his law office in midtown. "And then you win big cases, and you feel great. That's the life I've chosen. I worked like an animal. I did a good job for the guy. In this line of work, you're supposed to put the government to the test. I feel like I did that. Unfortunately, the jury convicted anyway. "

Even the greatest lawyers lose cases. If a lawyer says he's never lost one, don't even think of hiring him. He can't be trusted. He's already lying to you. But that's not Ed Hayes' way. He'll face the music, all of it, even on the toughest of days. And he wasn't hiding now.

It's a story and an ethos he's revealed in an eye-popping tell-all, "Mouthpiece: A Life in - and Sometimes Just Outside - the Law." From an abusive upbringing in working-class Queens. To a mind-expanding time at the University of Virginia and Columbia Law. To a stint as a homicide prosecutor in the Bronx. To a law career representing the likes of Lizzie Grubman, Sean Combs, Daniel Libeskind and the Andy Warhol estate. Ed Hayes is the quintessential behind-the-scenes New York power player and the first-call mop-up man in 10021.

At one time or another, he has been a source for most of the newspaper columnists in New York - and a lawyer for at least half of them, now including Jared Paul Stern, the alleged "Page Six" extortionist at the New York Post. He's a rare combination: fop and tough guy, well-connected and street-smart, a genuine Irish knock-around who can still sit down to dinner with Anna Wintour and Si Newhouse. Of course, his pal Tom Wolfe wrote the introduction to the book. But here was the ultimate test for Hayes, who's been touted and toasted plenty in the nine weeks since "Mouthpiece" came out. Would he still be a stand-up guy when the chips were down? Or would he suddenly slink away and hide?

I'm here to report that Ed Hayes did not slink. In fact, he sounded downright gracious, given all that had just occurred.

"You had very good prosecutors," he said of the Brooklyn-based team that pursued Caracappa and co-defendant Louis Eppolito. "The case was very well-investigated. They came up with stuff, like my client took a day off the day someone was murdered. And the jurors totally believed the main government witness, Burt Kaplan," an undeniable bad guy who ratted out the two ex-cops.

Just as ardently - even more so - Hayes stood by his freshly convicted client. "I really don't believe he did it, and I'm happy to represent him," Hayes said. "I never saw any indication that he would do this sort of thing. And where was the motive? You understand what I'm saying? He didn't need money. His wife made a very good living. He made a good living. Why take this kind of risk? I didn't see it. "

What Hayes did see was another stand-up guy. "He's got a lovely wife," the "Mouthpiece" lawyer said of his latest client. "He's very close to her. It's gonna be pretty grim.

"He is a very strong guy who takes very good care of his emotions. He's very careful about that. He showed some emotion after the verdict. But he is a very strong guy. He said, 'Eddie, don't worry. It'll be OK. I said to myself, 'Jesus, this guy is worried about me, and last night is his last free night.

Thanks to Ellis Henican

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Louis Eppolito



Louis Eppolito is former policemen from New York City who retired in 1980. In 2005, Eppolito and his former partner, Stephen Caracappa, were charged with carrying out various crimes, including murder, on behalf of the Lucchese Crime Family during the 1980's while they were still NYPD detectives.

Both men, who were lifelong friends, moved to Las Vegas following their retirement.

During his retirement, Eppoltio had a minor career as an actor, with small roles in movies including Predator 2 and the gangster film Goodfellas. Some of Eppolito's family members had been in the Mafia, including his father who was with the Gambino Crime Family, and, in 1992, he wrote a book, "Mafia Cop: The Story of an Honest Cop Whose Family Was the Mob" in which he spoke of his attempts to avoid being dragged into the criminal life.

In 1994, Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, a member of the Lucchese crime family, became an informant and first brought the authority's attention to Eppolito and Caracappa. Amongst other things he alleged that, in 1986, the two policemen kidnapped and murdered a member of the Gambino family named James Hydell on the orders of rival mobsters.

After a long investigation, both Eppolito and Caracappa were arrested in March 2005 and charged with racketeering, obstruction of justice and eight counts of murder, including that of James Hydell. They are also accused of conspiring to murder Sammy Gravano, the famous informant who helped put John Gotti behind bars.

Eppolito and Caracappa were convicted in April of 2006. On June 30th, the Judge in that case threw out the murder convictions and granted the two a new trial on money laundering and drug charges.

Chicago Syndicate Articles with Louis Eppolito

Mafia Cops Request Bail
Mafia Detectives Risks Mafia Cops Case
Mafia Cops Judge to Rule on Bail After Vacation Cruise
Mother of Mafia Cops Victim Pleads with Mayor Bloomberg
Convictions Tossed in "Mafia Cops" Case
Judge Throws Out Murder Conviction in Mafia Cops Case
Mafia Cop Trial Defense Was "Excellent" Judge Says
Mafia Cop Testifies It's True He's a Liar
Yet Another Chapter in Mafia Cops Case
Private Eye Who Investigated Mafia Cops Attacked
A Family Torn Apart by Mafia Cops
Bruce Lost His Bite
Last Shot for "Mafia Cops": Lawyers Did It
The Badge Still Shines
Mafia Cops to Face Life Term
Mafia Cops Face Life in Prison at Sentencing
Kin of "Mafia Cops" Victims Sue NYPD
After a Trial, The Tables are Turned on a Defense Lawyer
Mop Cop Will Make Case for Poor Defense
Judge: Basis for Appeal in 'Mafia Cops' Trial
It's Splitsville!
Mob Cop's Daughter Begs Judge: Free Dad
Mafia Cop's Bizarre Nondefense
After Conviction "Mafia Cop" Insists It was a Perfect Frame
Mafia Cop Raped Me, Gal Says
Mandalay Hopes "Mafia Cop" Produces Another Hit
Two Decades Later, Family Sees Justice in New York 'Mafia Cops' Case
He's Got Courage of Clients' Convictions
NYPD Detectives Convicted of Mob Murders
"Mafia Cops" Convicted of Murder
Defense in "Mafia Cops" Trial Closes in a Blaze of Name-Calling
Closing Arguments Begin in Colorful 'Mafia Cops' Trial
Key Witness to be Recalled in Trial of 2 'Mafia Cops'
Judge Denies Mistrial for "Mafia Cops"
In Mob Trial, a Spotlight on a Rogue
Time for "Mafia Cop" to Honor his Family
Man Says "Mafia Cops" Ordered Him to Dig Grave
'Mafia cops' trial has new sidebar
Mama Gets Her shot at 'Mob cops'
Drug Dealer Testifies That He Met Accused 'Mafia Cops' in Cemetery
Police Accused of Mafia Ties Head to Trial
Trial Begins of NY Cops Charged as Mafia Hit Men
Real Dons Steal Sopranos Limelight
Bad Cops First, Then Mob Cops?
Dramatic mob trials still fill the seats
Detectives Who Broke "Mafia Cops" Case Won't Testify At Trial
'Mafia Cops' prosecutors drop two murders
Murdered man's mother files $150M suit against city, 'Mafia Cops'
Alleged mob cop's wife arrested for tax evasion
Alleged Mafia Cop Speaks Out
"Mafia" Cop Had a Mole
New charges for 'Mafia cops'
OMERTA WANTED FROM 'MOB' LAWYERS
Will DNA testing clear the "Mafia Cops"?
'MAFIA COP' LIVID OVER MURDER-FRAME ACCUSATION
'Mafia Cops' lawyers demanding witness information
Did cops double as mob hit men?

Anti-Mafia Judge and Thriller Writer: the Double Life of Gianrico Carofiglio


The La Motta Chair in Italian Studies at Seton Hall University cordially invites you to a book signing and presentation for "Involuntary Witness," an exciting new thriller by Gianrico Carofiglio, Tuesday, April 25, 2006 at 5:30 PM at Casa Italiana (133 Fairview Avenue, South Orange, New Jersey). Admission is free and open to the public. Reservations a must.

With a compelling prosecutorial style, Carofiglio writes crisp, ironical novels that are as much love stories and philosophical treatises as they are legal thrillers. The characters of "local" criminals are depicted with brisk, sparing prose that recalls Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck as well as such contemporary mystery writers as Lawrence Block and Joe R. Lansdale.

The featured presentation, Involuntary Witness, is not only a perfectly paced legal thriller, it is also a powerful attack on racism. When a Senegalese pedlar, Abdou Thiam, is accused of kidnapping and murdering a nine-year-old boy, Francesco Rubino, it looks as though the verdict is a foregone conclusion. The boy disappeared one afternoon while playing soccer on his own in front of his grandparents' villa in the popular seaside resort of Monopoli, to the south of Bari. Two days later his body was found down a well, twelve miles north, in the countryside near Polignano. The local police have gathered the evidence and rounded up some witnesses, including a local barman who says he saw the pedlar at the scene. All fingers seem to point to Abdou Thiam. Defense lawyer Guido Guerrieri is called in to fight this hopeless case and he soon realizes he has a mammoth task on his hands. Faced with small-town racism fueled by recent immigration from Africa, Guido attempts to exploit the esoteric workings of the Italian courts. Gradually he finds a way through the judicial process, and bit by bit he cleverly turns the case in his favor.

A bestseller in Italy, Involuntary Witness has won several important literary awards, including Marisa Rusconi, Rhegium Julii and Fortunato Seminara prizes.

Gianrico Carofiglio, born in 1961, is an anti-Mafia judge in the southern Italian city of Bari. He has been responsible for some of the most important indictments in the region involving organized crime, political corruption and the traffic in human beings. Involuntary Witness is his debut novel and is now the basis for a television series in Italy.

This presentation is the first of a mini-series dedicated to the "Italian Mystery", in collaboration with The Italian Cultural Institute in New York City, The Vice-Consulate of Italy for New Jersey, Seton Hall University (The La Motta Chair Lecture Series), Casa Italiana in South Orange and The Center for Italian and Italian-American Culture

Friday, April 07, 2006

NYPD Detectives Convicted of Mob Murders

Friends of ours: Lucchese Crime Family, Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, John Gotti, Gambino Crime Family, Jimmy Hydell, Nicholas Guido
Friends of mine: Loui Eppolito, Steven Caracappa


Two highly decorated former detectives were convicted Thursday of moonlighting as hitmen for the mob in one of the most sensational cases of police corruption in New York history.

Louis Eppolito, 57, and Steven Caracappa, 64, could get life in prison for their roles in eight murders committed between 1986 and 1990 while they were simultaneously on the payroll of both the NYPD and Luchese crime family underboss Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso.

Federal prosecutor Daniel Wenner described the case as "the bloodiest, most violent betrayal of the badge this city has ever seen." Prosecutors said the two men carried out two hits themselves — in one case after pulling a mobster over in a phony traffic stop — and delivered up some of the other victims to the Mafia to be killed.

The defendants rubbed their faces and stared at the federal jury upon hearing the verdict, reached after two days of deliberations. Eppolito's family wept. The defendants' $5 million bail was revoked and they were led off to jail to await sentencing May 22.

The men's lawyers said they will appeal. "It's an appearance of justice, but it's not justice," said Bruce Cutler, who once represented John Gotti and put on a thundering defense of the two former officers, claiming the government's mob witnesses were lying to save their necks.

Prosecutors said the two used their law enforcement positions to help the Mafia at a price of $4,000 per month — more if they personally handled a killing. They earned $65,000 for the phony traffic stop slaying, prosecutors said. The two officers also supplied Casso with inside information on law enforcement interest in the mob, prosecutors said. Casso was said to have referred to the two men as his "crystal ball."

They were convicted of charges that included racketeering conspiracy, witness tampering, witness retaliation and obstruction of justice.

Caracappa, who retired in 1992, helped establish the city police department's unit for Mafia murder investigations. Eppolito, the son of a Gambino crime family member, was a much-praised street cop, although there were suggestions that some of his arrests resulted from tips from mobsters.

In his autobiography, Mafia Cop, he portrayed himself as an honest cop from a crooked family. Eppolito also played a bit part in the mob movie GoodFellas. After retiring in 1990, he unsuccessfully tried his hand at Hollywood scriptwriting.

The former detectives, who retired to homes on the same block in Las Vegas, insisted on their innocence from the time of their arrests in March 2005. But neither took the stand at their trial.

The key prosecution witness was Burton Kaplan, a drug dealer who spent four days on the stand linking the pair to an assortment of murders. Kaplan testified that he served as middleman between Casso and the detectives.

Casso, known as one of the most brutal mobsters in the city, is suspected of involvement in 36 murders himself. Both sides considered calling him as a witness but ultimately decided Casso came with too much baggage.

According to testimony, the detectives "arrested" a mobster named Jimmy Hydell in 1986, but instead delivered him to Casso for torture and execution.

That same year, the pair furnished the underboss with information on where to find Nicholas Guido, a mobster involved in a planned hit on Casso. Their inaccurate tip led to an innocent man with the same name, who was killed after Christmas dinner at his mother's house.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

"Mafia Cops" Convicted of Murder

Friends of ours: Lucchese Crime Family, Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, Gambino Crime Family, Eddie Lino, Nicholas Guido, Jimmy Hydell
Friends of mine: Louis Eppolito, Steven Caracappa

Two decorated former New York City police detectives were convicted Thursday of murder while on the payroll of a Mafia underboss in one of the most astounding police corruption cases in city history.

The federal jury deliberated for two days in the case against Louis Eppolito and Steven Caracappa, who spent a combined 44 years on the force and once worked as partners.

They face up to life in prison.

Eppolito, 57, and Caracappa, 64, were accused of leading a double life for years: respected city detectives who moonlighted as hired killers for Luchese crime family underboss Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Wenner described the case against the so-called "Mafia cops" as "the bloodiest, most violent betrayal of the badge this city has ever seen."

The defendants showed no visible reaction, while Eppolito's family wept as the verdict was read.

The men were accused in eight murders, with prosecutors charging that the two used their positions as crime fighters to aid the crime family -- at a price of $4,000 a month.

Their salary increased when the detectives personally handled the killing, authorities said; they earned $65,000 for the slaying of a mobster during a phony traffic stop.

Casso also referred to the pair as his "crystal ball," providing inside information on law enforcement interest in the mob world, authorities said. Caracappa, who retired in 1992, helped establish the city police department's office for Mafia murder probes.

Eppolito, the son of a Gambino crime family member, was a much-praised street cop -- although there were suggestions that some of his arrests followed tips provided by mobsters. The contrast between his police work and his "family" life was detailed in his autobiography, "Mafia Cop."

Eppolito also played a bit part in the classic mob movie "GoodFellas." After retiring in 1990, he unsuccessfully tried his hand at Hollywood script writing.

Since their March 2005 arrests, the men have said they are innocent. But neither one took the stand to refute charges in the trial that began March 13.

The key prosecution witness was Burton Kaplan, an acknowledged drug dealer who spent four days on the stand linking the pair to an assortment of murders between 1986 and 1990. Kaplan testified that he served as middleman between Casso and the detectives.

Casso, known as one of the most brutal mobsters in the city, was reportedly involved in 36 murders himself.

Both sides considered calling him as a witness, but ultimately decided Casso came with too much baggage -- even after he wrote a letter from prison insisting the detectives were innocent of several crimes.

The details of the alleged killing spree were chilling. The detectives allegedly "arrested" a mobster named Jimmy Hydell in 1986, but instead delivered him to Casso for torture and execution.

That same year, the pair allegedly furnished the underboss with information to locate Nicholas Guido, a mobster involved in a planned hit on Casso. Their inaccurate tip led to the slaying of an innocent man who was having Christmas dinner at his mother's house.

The detectives also were charged with killing Gambino family member Eddie Lino during what began as a routine traffic stop, and finished with Caracappa allegedly shooting the mobster.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Defense in "Mafia Cops" Trial Closes in a Blaze of Name-Calling

Friends of ours: Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso
Friends of mine: Louis Eppolito, Stephen Caracappa

After three weeks of testimony about gunshot wounds and buried bodies, about capos and whispered orders, the defense in the "Mafia cops" trial rested Tuesday morning with the image of a gnome.

"Franzone is a gnome," attorney Bruce Cutler said of a key government witness against his client, a retired New York City Police detective named Louis Eppolito. "A gnome," he said, "is defined as one of a race of dwarf-like creatures who lives underground and guards treasure hoards…. He's a creep and a lowlife and a liar."

It was a fitting end to a trial that has provided a three-week tour through Brooklyn's criminal underworld. Eppolito and his onetime partner, Stephen Caracappa, who retired from the force in the early 1990s, are accused of assisting a Luchese crime family underboss and participating in killings and racketeering.

Jurors will begin deliberations in the case today. Eppolito and Caracappa face the possibility of life in prison if convicted.

Prosecutor Daniel Wenner has called the case "one of the bloodiest and most violent betrayals of the badge this city has ever seen."

With little physical evidence, the government has built its case on the testimony of a series of shady figures — made men, felons, errand boys, stool pigeons — who testified that the two cops crossed over into their world.

The government's star witness was Burton Kaplan, 72, who is serving a 27-year sentence for drug dealing. Kaplan — a querulous, arthritic man — described himself as so ill-equipped for violence that when he was asked to ferry a corpse to Connecticut, he was "scared to death" and trembled the whole way.

Kaplan, a Jew, knew he could never be a made man, but he was well-connected. He introduced Eppolito and Caracappa to Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, a Luchese underboss who began paying them a $4,000-a-month retainer to pass on police intelligence, Kaplan testified.

The prosecution also called Steven Corso, a New York accountant who moved to Las Vegas in 2002 after being convicted of embezzling almost $6 million. Corso made a deal with the government and became a one-man sting operation. It was in Nevada that he crossed paths with Eppolito, who had moved west to become a screenwriter. Last year, Corso said, he offered to introduce Eppolito to a group of movie industry players, telling him, "They're Hollywood punks — some of 'em are famous." When the contacts wanted methamphetamine, Corso testified, Eppolito offered to supply the drugs.

Then last week, the jury heard from Peter Franzone, 56, a Flatbush tow-truck driver. He described a February afternoon in 1986 when Eppolito's cousin, Frank Santora Jr., strode into his garage with two other men while Eppolito stood watch outside. Twenty minutes later, Santora led Franzone into the garage, where he showed him a body and handed him a shovel, he testified.

"Frankie told me I gotta help bury the body because I'm an accessory, and if I didn't help him, he would kill me," Franzone said. He did not report the crime until last year — when he was approached by prosecutors — because, he said, "Who would believe me?"

In closing arguments, Cutler and Caracappa's lawyer, Edward Hayes, heaped disdain on the government's witnesses.

By the 1980s, Hayes said, "the Mafia's over. What are you left with? Informants. Casso is an escapee from the Bronx Zoo." As for Corso, Cutler called him a "sophisticated, unctuous, polished, lowlife thief." But chief prosecutor Robert Henoch said Cutler and Hayes had failed to explain why Eppolito and Caracappa had relationships with criminals like Kaplan in the first place. Why, he asked, would someone like Kaplan be able to describe Eppolito's basement, or Caracappa's pet cat?

"The truth is not always pretty, but the truth is always perfect," he said, addressing one of the defense attorneys. "You're the best lawyer in America, but you can't explain that away."

Thanks to Ellen Barry

Closing Arguments Begin in Colorful 'Mafia Cops' Trial

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

Two ex-police detectives betrayed their badges by becoming hired guns for the Mafia, a prosecutor said Monday during closing arguments at their federal racketeering trial.

Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa "led double lives," helping unleash a wave of violence that left eight people dead, prosecutor Daniel Wenner told the jury. "They gathered and sold information to the mob. They kidnapped for the mob. They murdered for the mob," Wenner said. The prosecutor described the case as "the bloodiest, most violent betrayal of the badge this city has ever seen."

Caracappa's lawyer, Edward Hayes, countered by accusing the government of using the testimony of a convicted drug dealer, a gangster and an embezzler to frame an honest crime fighter. The witnesses "have conned people their whole lives," he said. The decorated detective "has no vices," Hayes said. "He doesn't have a secret life. ... What would possibly motivate him to betray everything? Nothing."

Authorities allege Eppolito, 57, and Caracappa, 64, were involved in eight slayings between 1986 and 1990 while on the payroll both of the New York Police Department and Luchese crime family underboss Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso.

The "Mafia Cops" are accused of accepting $4,000 a month to help Casso silence informants and rub out rivals.

The partners retired to Las Vegas in the early 1990s but were arrested a year ago because of new evidence. It included the eyewitness account of a tow truck driver who managed a parking garage where a jeweler was executed in 1986 after running afoul of the Luchese family. The driver testified last week that he was forced to dig the jeweler's grave while Eppolito stood guard.

During three weeks of testimony, the jury also heard allegations that the partners gunned down a Gambino family captain, Eddie Lino, in 1990 after pulling over his car in a phony traffic stop.

Another victim had the misfortune of having the same name as a mobster involved in a botched hit on Casso; when the underboss wanted revenge, the detectives allegedly provided an address for the wrong Nicholas Guido, who was killed outside his home in 1986.

Defense attorneys have argued that the five-year statute of limitations has expired on the most serious crimes. Prosecutors say the killings were part of a conspiracy that lasted through a 2005 drug deal with FBI informant Steven Corso.

Eppolito's lawyer was to give his closing argument on Tuesday.

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