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Showing posts with label Jimmy Eppolito. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jimmy Eppolito. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Final Chapter for The "Mafia Cops"

I like a mob story as well as the next guy, but "The Godfather" this ain't.

Still, somebody has to sweep up after the elephants in the "Mafia Cops" parade. So give me the broom and step aside.

On Tuesday morning, a prudent jury returned a guilty verdict in the federal drug trial of Anthony Eppolito and Guido Bravatti. It was the quintessentially understated ending to one of the loudest organized crime investigations in recent history: the successful prosecution of the infamous "Mafia Cops," Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa, who were convicted of betraying their NYPD badges and acting as informants and hit men for New York's Lucchese organized crime family. In all, they had a hand in eight murders, including the Nov. 6, 1990, shooting death of Gambino family capo Eddie Lino, a job they pulled personally on behalf of Lucchese underboss Anthony Casso.

The elder Eppolito, a rotund and affable fellow who retired to Las Vegas in the early 1990s and pursued a career as a movie actor and screenwriter, received life plus 100 years. Caracappa, who moved in across the street from his former police partner and worked for a time as a private investigator and women's prison employee, was sentenced to life plus 80 years.

Upon sentencing, the ice-cold Caracappa didn't flinch. He said simply, "I am innocent of these charges."

Eppolito, always auditioning, gave something of a soliloquy. "I'm a big boy," he said. "I'm not a child. The federal government can take my life. But they can't take my soul, they can't take my dignity. I never hurt anybody. ... I never did any of this."

Senior Federal Judge Jack Weinstein, a veteran of many bloody mob trials, called the Mafia Cops case "the most heinous series of crimes ever tried in this courthouse."

At last count, a half dozen books have been written about the Mafia Cops and their crimes, not including Eppolito's own paperback autobiography, "Mafia Cop: The Story of an Honest Cop Whose Family was the Mob." Eppolito's father, uncle and cousin were mobsters, but in his book he claimed to have broken the chain of criminal behavior.

Instead, Louis Eppolito helped extend it to another generation by implicating his son Anthony in his rotten life. It's a safe bet no one will be writing a book about this pathetic excuse for a mob case.

Fast forward to this past week in U.S. District Judge Philip Pro's courtroom, where defense attorneys Richard Schonfeld, on behalf of Anthony Eppolito, and Assistant Federal Public Defender Shari Kaufman attempted to persuade a jury their clients were entrapped by the FBI and DEA through its use of undercover informant Stephen Corso.

The defense attorneys worked this case about as well as they could given the problem with the evidence. (The problem was it incriminated their clients and didn't come close to proving entrapment. On the contrary, the defendants appeared only too willing to provide drugs, guns and women.)

Judge Pro took extra care to severely limit any mention of defendant Eppolito's more notorious father and the Mafia Cops case in general. Trouble is, this is a case with plenty of incriminating surveillance tape, which was collected hour after hour by Corso during the investigation.

At one point, perhaps sensing that Corso was getting the cold shoulder from the government, courthouse sources say the defense team sought to interview the insider witness. After the request was granted by Judge Pro, Schonfeld changed his mind and Corso remained a courthouse ghost.

Schonfeld and Kaufman started like pitbulls, ended like house cats. No wonder neither feels like talking. I hear their clients were offered sweet pretrial deals.

The case might have developed into something worth writing about had the small mountain of damaging discovery material associated with the investigation surfaced in the court record. Sources say it contains voluminous recordings of local organized crime figures and their eclectic circle of friends from the business and legal communities.

One gregarious fellow beyond worrying about the government's inquiry is telemarketer and ex-fighter Joey Roach, who died recently. Roach was tight with local Lucchese crime family man John Conti. And now my cleanup is complete. This is what I've been reduced to in the pursuit of a good mob story -- a mundane drug dealing case.

Forget "The Godfather."

This isn't even "The Godson" material.

Thanks to John L. Smith

Monday, July 23, 2007

Mafia Cop to Remain in Vegs Jail Until Tax Charges Trial

Friends of ours: Ralph Eppolito, James Eppolito, Gambino Crime Family
Friends of mine: Louis Eppolito, Stephen Caracappa

A former New York police detective dubbed the "mafia cop" must remain in custody pending his trial in Las Vegas on tax charges, a judge ruled Thursday.

Mafia Cop to Remain in Vegs Jail Until Tax Charges TrialLouis Eppolito, 57, stood before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen in a black-and-white-striped inmate uniform as she declared him a danger to the community and a flight risk. Eppolito's wife, two daughters and son attended the Las Vegas hearing but declined to comment afterward.

Eppolito and another former New York detective, 64-year-old Stephen Caracappa, are accused of working for the Luchese crime family while serving as officers with the New York City Police Department.

Last year, a New York jury found the pair guilty of participating in at least eight mob-related killings, but a federal judge later dismissed the racketeering case after determining that the statute of limitations had run out. However, Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Johnson said Thursday, the judge also found that prosecutors had an "overwhelming case" against the pair.

Detention for both defendants already has been ordered in the New York case pending a government appeal of the dismissal. Johnson said he expects the state of New York to prosecute Eppolito and Caracappa on murder charges if the federal government fails with its appeal.

The two detectives retired in the early 1990s and moved to Las Vegas, where they were arrested in March 2005.

A federal grand jury in Las Vegas indicted Eppolito and his wife, Frances, in January 2006 on three counts of filing a false income tax return. Their trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 24 before U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt.

The couple's son, Anthony, has been charged with distributing methamphetamine. His trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 24 before U.S. District judge Philip Pro.

Prosecutors have said Louis Eppolito, who appeared briefly in a dozen movies, grew up in a family closely linked with organized crime.

His father, Ralph, was a Gambino family soldier, and his uncle, Jimmy, was a Gambino captain.

Louis Eppolito's 1992 autobiography, "Mafia Cop: the Story of an Honest Cop Whose Family Was the Mob," details his police career and his Mafia connections.

Thanks to Carri Geer Thevenot

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Mrs. Gotti Praises 'Mafia Cops" Judge

Friends of ours: John "Junior" Gotti, John "Dapper Don" Gotti, Gambino Crime Family, Ralph "Fat the Gangster" Eppolito, Jimmy "The Clam" Eppolito
Friends of mine:
Louis Eppolito, Stephen Caracappa

Brooklyn Federal Judge Jack Weinstein has a new unexpected fan: Victoria Gotti.
The matriarch of the Gotti clan wrote a letter to Weinstein, praising him for showing a "tremendous amount of courage" in knocking out the convictions of the "Mafia cops."

"I am a person that was totally, totally disillusioned with the justice system," Victoria Gotti wrote in an undated letter to Weinstein. "You have restored my hope that my own son may have a chance, or should I say a second chance at life."

The letter was entered into a court file yesterday.

Gotti has been silent since attending each day of her son John A. (Junior) Gotti's trial this winter, when he scored his second mistrial. Then she attacked a government witness who testified against her son, and defended her late husband, John (Dapper Don) Gotti, amid allegations that he'd fathered a love child.

She's expected back in court later this week for opening statements in a racketeering conspiracy case that centers on claims that Gotti, 42, ordered the assault on radio host Curtis Sliwa in 1992. "With two hung juries and a third trial in August, I am beyond [despondent]," Gotti said. "I continue to hope for a better day for him."

Mafia CopsLast month, Weinstein tossed out the federal murder convictions of Mafia cops Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa. In April a jury found that the former NYPD detectives participated in eight gangland slayings while still on the job. Weinstein ruled that the statute of limitations on the racketeering conspiracy had expired.

She began the letter by saying: "I want to applaud you on your decision in regard to the Eppolito and Caracappa case, it takes a tremendous amount of courage to do what you did."

"Those two men, Eppolito and Caracappa need to thank their lucky stars for your wisdom and fairness," Gotti wrote.

There happens to be a Gambino family connection with Eppolito: Two of his relatives, Ralph (Fat the Gangster) Eppolito and Jimmy (The Clam) Eppolito were Gambino family members.

Thanks to Thomas Zambito

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