Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

More delays expected in Gus Boulis murder trial

The trial of three men accused of orchestrating the 2001 slaying of Miami Subs and SunCruz founder Gus Boulis is headed for another delay.
Defense lawyers are pressing once again to depose disgraced Washington, D.C., lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and now want to question his father as well, to see what they know about the gangland-style hit that left Boulis shot and dying in his car on a Fort Lauderdale street on Feb. 6, 2001.
Anthony "Big Tony" Moscatiello, Anthony "Little Tony" Ferrari and James Fiorillo, all of whom have been connected to the Gambino crime family, were arrested six years ago and face the death penalty if convicted. For now, Moscatiello is out on $500,000 bail. Bail was set for the other two defendants as well, but they were unable to post the amount and remain in the Broward Main Jail.
At a recent court hearing, Broward Circuit Judge Ilona Holmes, who inherited the case from a previous judge, told lawyers on both sides that her patience was wearing thin. She had said repeatedly that she wants to get the trial under way by this fall, but no date has been scheduled.
"I've already had two birthdays with this case on my calendar," Holmes said. "I don't want to celebrate another one and still be waiting."
But lawyers for the three defendants say a recently disclosed FBI summary of interviews conducted in 2003 with a key prosecution witness hints that someone else carried out the Boulis murder.
In the FBI summary, turned over to defense lawyers and prosecutors late last month, Adam Kidan says he believed Frank Abramoff, father of Jack, had organized crime connections and offered to have Boulis "taken care of" while the sale of the SunCruz floating casino fleet was going sour.
Kidan and Jack Abramoff partnered to buy SunCruz from Boulis for $147.5 million in late 2000 but reneged on payments soon after the deal was final. Both men were later convicted of fraud over the deal.
Boulis was suing to regain control of the business when he was killed.
Neither Kidan nor Abramoff has been accused of involvement in Boulis' murder. Kidan has maintained for years that he hired Moscatiello, now 71, for protection because of his mob connections and because Kidan feared Boulis would become violent. But Kidan says he never wanted his business rival killed.
Frank Abramoff's alleged offer — and its alleged dismissal by Kidan — piqued the interest of David Bogenschutz, Moscatiello's lawyer. Defense lawyers had expressed interest in deposing Abramoff before, but they said the FBI summary raises new questions only the Abramoffs can answer.
"We didn't have these documents before," Bogenschutz said.
Attorney H. Dohn Williams, who represents Fiorillo, said he, too, wants to question the Abramoffs. Several messages left for Ferrari's lawyer, Christopher Grillo, were not returned.
Abbe Lowell, attorney for the Abramoffs, said he had not heard about the FBI summary nor seen any request from defense lawyers to depose his clients. He said he would respond "if and when that occurs."
Prosecutor Brian Cavanagh said he believes the Abramoffs had nothing to do with Boulis' death, but he can understand why defense lawyers would want to look into it. "They have a right to investigate their case," Cavanagh said. "They perceive things differently than we do."
In June, Kidan was questioned under oath by two of the three defense lawyers. He still needs to face Bogenschutz, who said he was sick when Kidan was brought to Broward from out of state.
Bogenschutz and Williams say they expect to point the finger at Kidan. "He's the one who had the most to gain from Gus Boulis' death," Bogenschutz said.
Prosecutors have said they believe Moscatiello, Ferrari and Fiorillo had Boulis killed without Kidan's knowledge, then pressured Kidan to continue paying protection money.
Interviews with two other crucial witnesses are scheduled for this month. They are Dwayne Nicholson, a bodyguard who told investigators Moscatiello tried to hire him to kill Boulis, and Ralph Liotta, who is serving a 12-year prison term for manslaughter in the 2003 shooting death of mobster John Gurino. Prosecutors believe Gurino was the triggerman in the Boulis murder.
Given all the additional scheduling constraints for more evidence-gathering, the trial apparently won't start until early next year, lawyers said.



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