The Brotherhoods: The True Story of Two Cops Who Murdered fo

Re: The Brotherhoods: The True Story of Two Cops Who Murdere

Postby admin » Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:28 am



On June 5, 2006, the sentencing hearing for Caracappa and Eppolito was held in Judge Weinstein's court. [1] Before sentencing, relatives of their victims presented statements. Leah Greenwald went first. Israel Greenwald's wife described the devastation Caracappa and Eppolito had inflicted on their lives. "What happened to us was like a chain reaction," she said. "Husband and father missing, confusion and chaos, emotional stress, weakness, pain, nightmares, feelings of abandonment, loss of income, hard labor, loss of time, loss of joy, pain, pain, and pain." Her husband was only thirty-four when he vanished, she said, leaving his wife and their eight- and ten-year-old daughters with no explanation for his disappearance. Thrown into poverty, the Greenwalds had lived in a series of apartments in Brooklyn, one only two blocks away from Israel Greenwald's unmarked grave on Nostrand Avenue. "My daughters wanted to know why I wasn't doing more to find their beloved father," she said. Michal Greenwald, the elder daughter, now a beautiful young woman, recounted the deprivation of life without a father. "For thirty thousand dollars?" she asked Caracappa and Eppolito. "Is that what his life was worth?" The Greenwalds had been enveloped by pity and fear, she said. "You thought you could get away with it and you almost did. You made sure this story would stay hidden and forgotten. And it was. But you underestimated the power of a child's innocent prayer."

The two former detectives looked directly and intently at Michal Greenwald, as if to drink in her sorrow and anger, not as a sign of remorse but as part of their continuing performance as honest officers of the law now wrongfully convicted. Caracappa appeared toughened by his time in prison, and remained silent. Eppolito had grown a goatee -- facial hair Cutler had instructed him to shave off before trial.

The final gathering of the people whose lives had been caught in the destructive force of Caracappa and Eppolito was both melancholy and angry. The grief of the victims' families and the denials of Caracappa and Eppolito created palpable hostility in the courtroom. Danielle Lino, the twenty-eight-year-old daughter of Eddie Lino, dressed entirely in black. Betty Hydell, led through the back of the building to avoid the photographers in front of the courthouse, was wearing large black sunglasses to hide her eyes as she quietly wept. On the left side of the court, reserved for law enforcement, sat Joe Ponzi and Bobby Intartaglio. Oldham was in the public gallery, in the back row sitting by himself, eyes wet.

"When I came to the Major Case Squad I wanted to work for victims, not drug dealers ripped off by police impersonators," Oldham recalled. "I had no idea I would be chasing down cops preying on the people they were paid to protect. The families had a right to be angry -- law enforcement betrayed them. The criminal justice system had been perverted. In the end, we got Caracappa and Eppolito, police impersonators who were true policemen. The system succeeded, despite itself."

The defense had submitted letters imploring the judge to overturn the jury's verdict, a prospect that seemed extremely unlikely. A Nevada couple, a doctor and nurse who were acquaintances of the Caracappas and Eppolitos in Las Vegas, wrote to Judge Weinstein to express shock and dismay. "Stephen was an extremely decent friend and neighbor and avid race-walker, bike racer, and sometimes weightlifter," the letter said. "Hardly a habitue of the Las Vegas nightlife, he was usually to be seen only when he was exercising or socializing in the small compound where we all lived. " A letter from an NYPD officer was entered into the record registering his desire to see the conviction reversed. "I know firsthand the elements that are needed to be pieced together before taking a man's freedom," the officer wrote. "When I am interviewing an alleged victim I look for facts, I look for evidence, I look for witnesses."

Eppolito's younger daughter, Deanna, wrote to beg Weinstein to let her father return home. "My father is the most hardworking, dedicated man to his family and friends that God ever put on earth," she wrote. "Anyone who walks the beat in NYC knows the legend of Louis Eppolito -- the cop and detective." Finally, predictably, the ever desperate Gaspipe Casso wrote in support of his former collaborators, declaring the verdict to be based on "misleading evidence" and "purely mistaken identities by government witnesses." Casso quickly turned to the true subject of his mercy plea: Gaspipe Casso. "Your Honor, I can assure you that I am in no way the monstrous person the government had their witnesses portray me to be."

Since the arrest, Oldham had speculated that Eppolito was likely to flip and turn on Caracappa. Cooperating would provide Eppolito no personal benefit. Confessing would mean he would spend the rest of his life in prison, disgraced as a policeman and as a man. He would no longer be his daughter's "hero." "But Eppolito might be able to save his son's life. Tony Eppolito was a young man with no criminal history. Judging from the evidence on the surveillance tapes in Las Vegas, the son's motivation in making the drug deal was to please his father. Like so many sons, the younger Eppolito had been caught up in the self-serving fantasies of his father. I figured Eppolito would spare his son the wages of his own sins. I know I would have. Tony Eppolito would soon face trial on federal charges of selling narcotics. His father was determined to clear his name, no matter how hopeless the cause or the price to be paid by his son."


Within weeks of his conviction, Eppolito fired Bruce Cutler and claimed his representation had been incompetent. The willingness to turn on others that had made Kaplan nervous about relying on Eppolito emerged as his plight became truly hopeless. To the surprise of many, Caracappa soon followed suit. Statements made during the trial about their enduring faith in the two famous defense attorneys now became accusation and character assassination. Claiming ineffective assistance of counsel was a common tactic for convicts who had run out of options -- Kaplan himself had launched the same proceeding against Judd Burstein and others who defended him in the marijuana case.

Eppolito was now represented by an attorney named Joseph Bondy, whose specialty was getting lesser sentences for convicted defendants. Federal sentencing guidelines were voluminous, prescribing the mitigating and exacerbating factors to be considered by a judge when imposing punishment. Bondy marketed himself as an expert at constructing the life story of an accused in order to best impress the judge that the convict was the victim of a difficult childhood, mental illness, or substance addiction. Bondy called himself a "humanizer." The child of mild-mannered Bronx schoolteachers, Bondy had aspired to be a mob lawyer since early in life. For a time, he had even rented the same small corner office in a building on Broadway opposite City Hall that Bruce Cutler had once occupied. Bondy was still relatively unknown, and Eppolito was by far the highest-profile client he had ever taken on.

At the sentencing hearing, Bondy would not have the chance to tell the tale of a repentant Louis Eppolito, raised by an abusive and murderous father; Eppolito had displayed no regret for his crimes. The entire case, Eppolito maintained, was a concoction by Gaspipe Casso and Burton Kaplan. The crimes his client was convicted of couldn't be worse, Bondy admitted to Judge Weinstein. Bondy then said that Judge Weinstein himself had expressed skepticism about the strength of the government's case.

"Your Honor has pointed out that this was a thin case, with barely enough evidence to go to a jury," Bondy said.

Weinstein interrupted Bondy. "No," he said, curtly. "The only issue from the outset was with respect to the statute of limitations. There has been no doubt and there is no doubt that the murders and other crimes were proven beyond a reasonable doubt. That has never been an issue."

Bondy was taken aback. Confusion about the substance of the accusations and the legal questions about the statute of limitations had plagued the trial from the onset. Weinstein had finally clarified the matter from the bench. Guilt had been determined, decisively and overwhelmingly, leaving only the legal question of RICO statutory limitations.

"Does the defendant wish to make a statement?" the judge asked Eppolito.

"Yes, sir," Eppolito said.

The press was seated in the jury box. After trial, jury charge, and finally conviction, the only audience left for Eppolito to attempt to convince was the court of public opinion -- and that meant the media. Sitting in the two rows of leather swivel seats used by the jury during the trial, reporters from the major dailies, news radio, and local television channels listened as Eppolito began his appeal. He spoke in the present tense, as if he were still a member of the NYPD.

"I have been a police officer for twenty two and a half years," Eppolito said. "I know the feelings that every single family had here today. I handled as a detective many, many homicides and I know how they feel from inside their guts. Sometimes I'm the one that goes to the house and knocks on the door and tells them there has been a death in the family." Eppolito paused. He looked around the court, arms outstretched pleadingly. "I don't know what I'm allowed to do or what I'm allowed to say. Of course, it comes from my heart. I would invite the Greenwalds, the Linos, the Hydells to come and visit me in jail, let me tell them the story. I was not allowed to do that. I had no opportunity to do that."

"I don't want to hear that," Weinstein warned angrily.

"If I was afforded the opportunity to talk to these families, if it was okay, if they wanted to sit with me and ask me and I could prove to them, I think I would prove to them I didn't hurt anybody ever. My first seventeen years as a police officer I went to work with broken fingers, broken hands, stab wounds. I never missed a day's work. It is when I had my first heart attack I couldn't work. After I had my heart attack I started writing and I could find out I was able to write and tell a story."

In the gallery, a man rose. Barry Gibbs was wearing dark sunglasses, a Hawaiian shirt, and a turquoise necklace.

"Remember me?" Gibbs shouted. "Remember, Mr. Eppolito?"

Eppolito and everyone in the court turned to Gibbs.

"Remove him," Weinstein ordered the marshals.

"You framed me!" Gibbs yelled. "Do you remember what you did to me? Barry Gibbs! Do you remember? I had a family, too. You remember what you did to my family? You don't remember what you did to my family and to me? Remember what you did to me? Me! Do you remember?"

Gibbs was led out of the court by marshals. Eppolito addressed the gallery, as if he was before a theatrical audience. "As far as Mr. Gibbs was concerned, he also was afforded the same opportunity I was and he went before a jury and he had a very good attorney who fought for him."

In Mafia Cop, Eppolito wrote of clandestine meetings with mobsters. He wrote of socializing with organized crime figures, in deliberate and flagrant disregard of NYPD rules. For years he admired the values of organized crime, praising the mafia on national television. In court he now claimed such events had never occurred, and that he had never held such views. Where was a photograph of Eppolito in a social club or bar? he asked. Where were the phone taps? Explanations for Eppolito's conviction tumbled out. The entire case had been constructed on a false premise, he said, based on a frame concocted by Kaplan and Casso. Once investigators had decided the guilt of Caracappa and Eppolito, facts had been forced to fit the theory. "When they lock on to something, like I did as a detective, it stays there. Selectively they said what they want. It was selective and I'll prove it to the court on a later date," he claimed.

Eppolito continued, "I worked hard, I had three children, married to the same lady all these years. I never ever, ever did anything ever that I would have to embarrass my children. Yet in the last two years, when this all broke, I was willing to go to the government, sit there and have them ask me any questions they could. I was willing to take my polygraph test. I took the so-called DNA test. Anything that was asked of me I did. I just was not able to sit down and present a case because I found it was so flawed to me. I was a detective, I wasn't a guy who worked on a truck, I know how these things are. I worked cases with the government. I worked cases with the state. I worked cases with the city. I have been before judges and I have said to them there is no reason for me to lie.

"I didn't need $30,000 to harm Mr. Greenwald. I never heard Mr. Greenwald's name in my life. When they mentioned it when we were incarcerated in Las Vegas, I said, 'I never heard of a person like that, I never heard of the human being, I never heard of these times.' They said, 'Oh, you spoke to this guy.' I never had access to them. I never had access to files or who it was. When I heard this I said to people, 'This is coming down on me because of who I am, who I was, not because of what I've done.' I've always maintained my honesty, my integrity. I tried so hard. But I said to the government show me a piece of paper, a picture of me in a bar, in a club. Where did I meet an organized crime figure? Where was my phone? My phone was open, I was in the phone book.

"I have a family. I would feel the same way these people do. I could feel the hate and the sorrow. Your Honor, I've always felt that's why I became a cop. I had to live down my father. My father was a member of the Gambino crime family. I was already crucified with the name before I had an opportunity. I turned my back on organized crime so much, I just turned my back on it. I had no respect for them. I had no liking for them. I turned down every opportunity to speak to me. I was never associated or around them. The one thing that I was so proud of as a human being, whether it is in jail or home or whether it is anywhere -- the one thing that I have to go to my grave with -- is I was one hell of a cop.

"I've always maintained my honesty, my integrity," Eppolito continued, his voice increasing in urgency. "I tried so hard. I apologize for having to speak for the first time until all this happened. I can hold my head up high. I never done any of this. To Mrs. Hydell, Otto Heidel's daughter, Mrs. Lino, and Mrs. Greenwald, please call the judge. If I can't convince you I'm innocent, I will apologize. I didn't do any of these crimes at all."

Eppolito sat before a silent courtroom.

Weinstein asked Caracappa if he had anything to say to the court. Caracappa half stood.

"My lawyer will speak for me," he said, sitting again.

Daniel Nobel, the attorney appointed by the court to represent Caracappa, noted that no one from Caracappa's family was present. "Your Honor, there are no members of his family here today, not because they don't want to be, but because they could accurately anticipate the atmosphere of the courtroom today."

Nobel referred to the letters submitted by Caracappa to the court. "Members of the family and individuals who have known Mr. Caracappa over the last fifteen years expressed the same thing, Your Honor," Nobel said. "They knew this man well, they knew him in varying circumstances over a long period of time. They knew him in a way that the kind of secrets that have been alluded to here just could not have been."

Prosecutor Robert Henoch then addressed the court. "The government's position is that a sentence of life imprisonment is the only sentence that will satisfy the statutory objectives of sentencing under the United States Code," he said. "In this case, Your Honor, it is the only sentence that will serve justice and it is our position that it is the correct sentence and it is the sentence we're asking Your Honor to impose." Henoch continued, "Caracappa and Eppolito are unremorseful and unrepentant. An overwhelming case was amassed by the investigators."

Judge Weinstein needed no time to reach his conclusion. He issued a sentence of life in prison. In addition, the government would be entitled to seize $1 million in assets, effectively bankrupting Caracappa and Eppolito. "It's hard to visualize a more heinous offense," Judge Weinstein said. "The characteristics of the defendants are revealed by the nature of their crimes. A heavy sentence is required to promote respect for the law and to deter the conduct of people in a like position. It is needed to deter conduct of the defendants as late as 2005 and 2006. It is necessary to protect the public from further crime by these defendants. No crime has come before this court with a similar severity."

There was one catch. Imposition of the sentence would have to await the outcome of the motion to overturn the conviction based on the statute of limitations and the alleged incompetency of Bruce Cutler and Eddie Hayes. A hearing on the matter was scheduled for June. Caracappa and Eppolito would remain in custody until the motion had been decided.


No longer representing their former clients but themselves, Eddie Hayes and Bruce Cutler reacted with outrage to the accusations. "I showed him what kind of man I am, and he showed me what kind of man he is," Hayes said in an interview in his midtown office. Hayes had taken the case because he thought it would be easy to win -- the evidence appeared flimsy and the conspiracy improbable. But then he had encountered the phenomenon of Burton Kaplan on the witness stand -- followed by the onslaught of evidence gathered by the cadre. "You can fight through a certain amount of evidence, but after a while it becomes impossible," Hayes said. "The weight is too great. Steve taking a day off when Israel Greenwald was killed, the phone numbers of Steve and Louie in Kaplan's phone book, after all the facts pile up you can't convince a jury that the whole thing is unreliable." Hayes took consolation in the fact that the New York Times had quoted a juror saying Hayes's performance in court had been "extraordinary."

"To accuse a fighter of walking away from a fight, that is what is so insulting," Cutler told the Washington Post. "This is the most offensive thing that has ever happened to me in my life." Bondy was a "guttersnipe lawyer," Cutler said, and Eppolito just another convict looking for someone to blame. "Desperate men make desperate allegations in desperate times," Cutler said to the New York papers.

The competency hearing was held in early June. In the slow-motion train wreck that the case had become, Bondy's brief seemed little more than a forlorn footnote. Assisted by his own young female blond aide-decamp attorney, Bondy would not be denied his moment in the spotlight, even if it meant ridiculing his former role model, Bruce Cutler, and disregarding the basic civilities of the fraternity of the criminal bar. "Defense counsel spent the majority of Mr. Eppolito's closing argument speaking about himself, including the fact that he lost over fourteen pounds during the trial, loved Brooklyn as a borough of bridges and churches, and was an admirer of the great Indian Chief Crazy Horse." Bondy's lengthy legal memorandum portrayed a dysfunctional relationship between Cutler and his client. "Counsel consistently refused to read Mr. Eppolito's notes, listen to his comments, or otherwise allow him to participate meaningfully in his own defense." Cutler had also failed to interview Casso or call him as a witness.

Bondy had the opportunity to put Eppolito's desperate revisionist theories before the court. He then called his only witness.

"Louis Eppolito calls Louis Eppolito," Bondy declared.

Eppolito took the stand, dressed in a suit and tie, a convicted murderer swearing to tell the truth upon pain of perjury charges -- small disincentive given his pending life sentence. From the witness stand, Eppolito described how he had learned of the allegations made by Casso and had come to engage Bruce Cutler. In March 1994, he testified, his co-author for Mafia Cop, journalist Bob Drury, had called him to ask if he would be willing to talk to mob reporter Jerry Capeci.

"I said yes," Eppolito said. "Jerry got on the phone and asked me if I ever heard of or knew a person named Anthony Casso. I told him I heard the name but I don't know him, I never met him. He says, 'Would you be surprised if I told you that he was a member of the Luchese crime family, he was now testifying on the government's behalf, and he had mentioned that you were a killer of Eddie Lino?' I thought it was a joke. I says, 'You're kidding me, right?' He says, 'No.' I says, 'I don't even know who Eddie Lino is, I never met the man, I don't know who he is.' He says, 'Did you do that killing with Steve Caracappa?' I says, 'Steve?' I says, 'That's insane.' Steve and I didn't even work together, we have not worked together, at that time, since 1979."

Eppolito testified that he hung up and made two calls. First he called Caracappa. Next he called Bruce Cutler. Eppolito had known Cutler since the mid-seventies, when Cutler was a prosecutor for the Brooklyn DA. Despite the tabloid headlines in 1994, Cutler had managed to assist Eppolito in avoiding any criminal charges in the matter for more than a decade -- a fact omitted in Bondy's questioning. After Eppolito was arrested in front of Piero's in Las Vegas, he had engaged Cutler once again -- telling his wife Cutler was "the only man who could save me." When the two men met at the MDC in New York City to plan Eppolito's defense, Cutler began to question his client about specific facts, asking particularly if he knew Burton Kaplan. "I knew the man," Eppolito testified. "I knew him and I had a relationship with him. I would buy my clothes from him. I says, 'What does Burt Kaplan have to do with this case?' He says, 'He's one of the main witnesses against you.' I says, 'This is nonsense. I know the man. I buy my clothes from him.' I says, 'Bruce, I got to take the stand.' I says, 'I see what's going on here, I know what's going on now.'"

Developing the defense before trial, Cutler told Eppolito he would have him testify, if it seemed necessary, but he had in mind another approach. Cutler told Eppolito that there was a good chance of success because of RICO's time limitations. The suggestion upset Eppolito, he testified. "I have to apologize the way I say it, but I said to Mr. Cutler, 'I don't give a damn about the statute of limitations. They're telling me that I killed people, that I kidnapped people. I never did any of that. I want to clear myself from every single charge here. I'm not just worried about getting off on some legal technicalities.'''

Eppolito testified that Cutler refused to let him testify, under the threat of no longer representing him. Eppolito said he was terrified Cutler would quit if he demanded to take the stand. When the defense was called to present its list of witnesses, Eppolito claimed he had physically expressed his exasperation at not being able to give evidence. "I had my two hands and I hit the table and I says, 'I'm not going to allow this to happen. I have people who I wanted to testify for me and I want to take that stand. I'm the only one that could tell the truth about what is being told about me.'''

"What was the response of Mr. Cutler at that time?" Bondy asked.

"'You're not, you're not taking that stand,''' Eppolito said. "He gave me a story. He says to me, 'They can ask you any questions they want.' I says, 'I don't care what they ask me, I don't care where they go, I don't care what they say.'"

Eppolito said he was convinced that if he testified he could have countered the prosecution's evidence. Why then, with his life on the line, did he not demand to testify?

"I was afraid," Eppolito said.

"Afraid of what?" Bondy asked.

"I was afraid of the judge."

During the trial, Eppolito had repeatedly boasted to reporters that nothing and no one had ever scared him. Now Eppolito claimed he would rather face conviction on multiple racketeering murder counts than risk raising the ire of an eighty-four-year-old judge. Eppolito explained that his fear stemmed from the day that he had been late for court because he had been trapped in traffic. "When I got in, I had run the block and I was nervous and sweaty, and the judge said, 'Marshal, arrest him. His bail is revoked.' At that time I was -- I was scared. I didn't want to attempt to ask the judge, and I didn't know what to do."

"Eppolito kept stammering apologies to the judge while he testified," Oldham recalled. "He couldn't look at Weinstein. Even when he was saying he was sorry he couldn't look at him. It was clear to me that much of what he said in his book about his father beating him had a huge impact on Louis. He beat people down as a cop, but he was fearful of authority. He wanted to be someone in authority -- and when he was, he abused that authority. Shit rolls downhill. Eppolito had choices in life, as does everyone, but Fat the Gangster left lasting scars on him. He was the playground bully caught out. He was plainly petrified -- and I don't blame him for that. But it was like none of what had happened had actually happened. It was intensely depressing. Eppolito had to know what he had done.

"Caracappa by contrast didn't say anything. He didn't look at Eppolito, the judge, or the gallery. Caracappa wasn't going to ruin his chances for a retrial by taking the stand. Everything Eppolito said on the stand could be used against him if there was another trial. Eppolito was just hammering one last nail into his own coffin. Caracappa was no such fool. Caracappa wasn't going to create a record of lying under oath. If Eppolito went far enough, there was the chance that Caracappa could move to demand a separate trial to avoid being tainted by prejudicial and inflammatory statements made by Eppolito. To the bitter end, when he had been tried, convicted, and sentenced, Caracappa stayed quiet and played the system. Letting Eppolito hang himself might work to Caracappa's advantage."

As Eppolito's explanations grew less believable, so did his attacks on Cutler's judgment. Eppolito testified that Cutler had not allowed him to participate in creating his own defense. At lunch at the Plaza Diner during the trial, Eppolito said, Cutler refused to talk to him, saying that he prepared for court by remaining focused. Eppolito said he wanted to call Casso as a witness after his last-ditch attempted intervention in the trial, against the advice of Cutler. "All of a sudden there's a letter saying we didn't do it," Eppolito claimed, incorrectly, of Casso's letter. "Well, is this man psychotic only when the government says he's a psychotic, or is he crazy all the time? For three years he says I did it, now he says I didn't. Bring him on the stand and let him tell the story. If he's a liar, he's a liar. I'm not afraid of what he was going to say. I was never afraid of anybody in my life. I'm not afraid of being confronted. Just because you say it don't mean it's the truth."

On cross-examination, Henoch mowed down Eppolito's proclamations. Eppolito had spent twelve years as a detective in Bensonhurst and Flatbush, but he claimed to have no knowledge of the location of the parking lot on Nostrand Avenue, or to have ever kept a car there, or to have met Peter Franzone, or the two other men who had said they knew Eppolito from the lot. For decades Eppolito had claimed to be the eleventh most decorated cop in the history of the NYPD, but now he allowed that was a "fallacy." The two Medals of Honor he had won were only "honorable mentions," not the actual awards, he allowed under questioning. Eppolito agreed that Cutler had won many victories before trial, including getting the judge to agree to exclude prejudicial evidence the government had sought to introduce -- like the allegation Eppolito had sold mug shots, robbed corner stores in the seventies, and accepted a bribe from Sammy the Bull Gravano not to investigate the murder of Frank Fiala in the Six-Two Precinct.

On the stand, Eppolito admitted that Kaplan had come to the home of his girlfriend, Cabrini Cama.

"Had you testified you were prepared to offer an explanation as to why you met covertly with Mr. Kaplan in Miss Cama's apartment?" Henoch asked.


"And it was because you were buying jeans from Mr. Kaplan?"

"Buying suits and I was buying shirts. It was almost impossible to get -- I couldn't go to Macy's or Sears. I was a 20 shirt, a 54 jacket, a 36 pants."

"And the one guy you could buy suits from in Brooklyn was a Luchese family associate closely associated with Anthony Casso?"

"No, he's the one guy that would switch the pants with the jacket. I would get a smaller pants with a bigger jacket."

Henoch turned to Mafia Cop. Eppolito said the original manuscript titled "The Man in the Middle" had been changed and edited. Henoch read Eppolito excerpts from the book. One involved taking the prisoner named Bugs and dunking his head repeatedly in a bucket filled with ammonia while Eppolito was partners with Caracappa. Eppolito claimed the quote was taken out of context.

"You bragged about basically torturing a suspect?" Henoch asked.


"Knowing that that is not lawful for you to do so?"

"Never happened," Eppolito testified.

"Assuming for the sake of argument you were asked about that in front of the jury, how do you think that would have played out for them?"

"I think if I told them the truth and what happened, I think they would have been fine with it."

Henoch read another passage. The incident described in Mafia Cop involved Detective Eppolito being insulted by a wiseguy. He went into his locker in the precinct house, the book said, grabbed his (illegal) sawed-off, double-barreled shotgun, and went to a mob social club in search of "Frankie Carbone." Henoch read, "I spotted Frankie sitting at a card table, walked up behind him, stuck the barrel in his mouth, and ordered him to his feet. 'Bye motherfucker' was all I said and he lost his whole insides. As I backed him into a wall I watched the stain in his pants get bigger and bigger. Suddenly I knew what it felt like to be my father. I was walking like a wiseguy, talking like a wiseguy, the power surge was comparable to what I felt at times as a cop yet somehow different, as if the police worked on AC current and the Mafia on DC."

"You're not allowed to do that as a cop, fair to say?" Henoch asked. "That would not be something lawful?"

"Who said I'm not allowed to do that?" Eppolito asked.

Henoch read another section from Mafia Cop, where Eppolito threatened to murder a man, leave his body in the trunk of a car to rot, and then find it and lead the NYPD investigation into the homicide himself.

"You thought that that was okay for a jury to know, in a case where you were being accused of being corrupt, and accused of abusing your police power, that you actually admitted doing that in a book you wrote?" Henoch asked.

"It actually happened, yeah. I would tell the jury the truth. I was a tough guy. It was the seventies. That is what the procedures were."

"You told him you were going to kill him and put him in a trunk?"

"That's just talk."

Eppolito seemed to believe that declaring himself a liar was somehow exculpatory. All a judge and jury needed to do was tease apart the lies that were only lies, Eppolito apparently proposed, and lies that were lies. He applied the same line of reasoning to all the mobster conniving and bragging caught on tape in Las Vegas in 2004 and 2005. Eppolito wasn't a "real, real gangster," he told the court, despite the audio evidence of him telling Corso precisely that. Eppolito was only playing a part for Corso's benefit. Caracappa and Eppolito took Steven Corso for a chump, Eppolito said. Corso lapped up the tough-guy talk and the New York gangster act.

"Mr. Caracappa was helping me make Corso feel like he was more important than what he was," Eppolito testified. "He liked being around tough guys and wiseguys, and I ate it up. I tried to pull him into me. I wanted him to invest in my films."

Eppolito's testimony was a bewildered mix of mob melodrama, deception, and unconscious confession. The scams he ran writing screenplays, charging large sums to write unproducible drivel, was an honest business, he said. He tried to explain how it worked, with a crooked smile. The money he was paid by people who hired him to write their life stories was not really "paid" to him. It was only a sum given to him against the future windfall the subject would receive when the script was sold to Hollywood. Eppolito kept the money, of course, but this did not mean he was being "paid." Eppolito also testified that he used the prospect of dating his daughter as yet another lure for Corso. The threats of violence he related to Corso, including taking up a hatchet to murder a recalcitrant tradesman, were true or false depending on the circumstances, Eppolito testified.

"Is it fair to say that you lie about anything if it would benefit you?" Henoch asked.

Eppolito appeared delighted by the question, as if he could finally state a self-evident truth. "As long as it will help me get my movies made."

"Down the rabbit hole and through the looking glass," Alan Feuer wrote in the New York Times, describing the hearings in Judge Weinstein's court. The ironies and fantasies and surrealities rapidly mounted. Caracappa and Eppolito were conning Corso by exploiting his fascination with the mafia, according to Eppolito, even while Corso tempted the pair to their ruination with a con. Caracappa's lawyer claimed that the government had turned Eppolito into the most effective witness and potent weapon against Caracappa. "The more Eppolito testified, the more it became clear that Cutler was absolutely right in refusing to put Eppolito on the stand," Oldham recalled. "Eppolito would have been the best witness the prosecution could have hoped for."
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Re: The Brotherhoods: The True Story of Two Cops Who Murdere

Postby admin » Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:28 am



Henoch, meanwhile, was placed in the odd position of defending his former adversaries, Cutler and Hayes, in order to protect the hard-won verdict. The next witness was Bruce Cutler -- a defense attorney defending himself. Before Cutler took the stand, Judge Weinstein warned Bondy that by calling his own former attorney Eppolito was waiving his protection against self-incrimination in any future proceeding, including any prior crimes he had committed. Bondy agreed.

On the stand, Cutler recited his prodigious professional qualifications. During more than twenty-five years on the bar, he had been involved in many of the biggest criminal cases in the country, including his famously successful representation of John Gotti.

"I've been fortunate," Cutler said.

Bondy asked if Cutler had ever made a mistake during a trial. "Trial work is an art, not a science," Cutler replied. "You improvise, adapt, overcome. There's nobody like me."

Bondy asked about Cutler's cross-examination of Al D'Arco. Judge Weinstein had halted the questioning with Cutler in full oratorical flight. "You lost control," Bondy said.

"I never lose control," Cutler said. "My intention as a defense lawyer, always, is to pulverize the government's case. My goal is to pulverize and eviscerate."

"Did you attempt to put on a defense case?" Bondy asked.

"That's my defense: attack. Most of my cases, after the government's witnesses are eviscerated, I sum up and I win."

The case against Caracappa and Eppolito involved the worst crimes Cutler had ever encountered. "If I thought Lou was involved in any of them, I never would have represented him," Cutler said.

Cutler allowed that Henoch had surprised him with his tactics by truncating the case. Not calling Fat Pete Chiodo and proscribing D'Arco's testimony largely took the subject of the mafia out of the trial. "The government had Kaplan with his fake hair and his fake teeth and his lies," Cutler said. He had never heard of Burt Kaplan before Caracappa and Eppolito were arrested. He expected Kaplan to be one of many witnesses. "Not that he was going to be the sine qua non of the case," Cutler testified.

Bondy asked why Cutler had gone to lunch with the reporter from the New Yorker instead of attending the meeting in which Cutler's co-counsel and Eppolito had the phone call with Casso. "I didn't want to hear this devil, this Tasmanian Devil's voice," Cutler said. "I knew he had been dangling the Hydell body in front of the government. At the end of the call Lou thanked him and it bothered me."

"I don't want to hear anymore about Casso," Judge Weinstein said. "It is clear that any responsible attorney would not call Casso."

Bondy waded through the record of the trial attempting to show Cutler's poor decision making as an attorney. Cutler explained that he had to be careful not to "open the door" to character evidence, given Eppolito's repeated racist remarks and recounted tales of violence. As ineffective and pompous as Cutler's speechifying may have seemed at the trial, under Bondy's questioning a logic to Cutler's seemingly fevered defense emerged. After Eppolito's testimony, Cutler seemed downright reasonable.

"There was a day, Mr. Bondy, when lawyers worked together," Cutler said. He turned to Judge Weinstein. "Are you going to have lunch today, judge?" he asked. "It's the only thing I want."

Lunch was taken.

Upon resumption of the proceedings, Bondy raised the subject of Cutler's relationship with Eppolito.

"I had a little chat with him before trial," Cutler said. "Act like a man. Dress properly. Shave that goatee. I don't hold hands. I don't play footsie. I don't need you to help me. I'm helping you. Things were all right with Lou, but I sensed I couldn't console him or hold his hand and I think he needed it."

Cutler testified about his refusal to deal with Eppolito in the Plaza Diner, where he ate breakfast ("a half a cup of coffee, a banana, and some orange juice") at a separate table from Eppolito and family. The subject of Eppolito taking the stand had never come up, Cutler said, except for perhaps once.

"I've got to protect Lou above all else because he doesn't protect himself," Cutler said. "After dissecting the evidence, including Lou's book, I'm not sure I'm strong enough, but if I could have, I would have tackled him -- not literally, figuratively."

"Did you ever consider calling William Oldham or Tommy Dades?" Bondy asked.

"I had no intention of calling either as a defense witness," Cutler replied.

Weinstein interjected. "The defendant's excuse for not bringing his desire to testify to the attention of the court is ludicrous," Weinstein observed. "The defendant's immorality and lack of credibility lead the court to ignore his testimony on any point. The defendant received an excellent defense."

Eddie Hayes was next, but he was nowhere to be found. The court learned that Hayes had traveled to Florida to visit his eighty-two-year-old mother but was expected momentarily. While the court waited, Bondy read excerpts from Hayes's memoir, Mouthpiece, regarding his dealings with the NYPD and long friendship with Cutler. Hayes arrived dressed in a pink-and-white-striped polo shirt and wearing a characteristic grin. Bondy had called Hayes and so began the direct examination. Hayes testified that he and Cutler had known each other for thirty years. Bondy wanted to know if Hayes recollected Eppolito's efforts to be allowed to take the stand in his own defense. Hayes did not.

"You never heard Mr. Eppolito insist on testifying?" Bondy asked.

"Never," Hayes replied.

The proceedings descended into farce as Bondy continued to call witnesses in the hope of convincing the court of Eppolito's desire to testify despite Weinstein's explicit refutation of the argument. Weinstein continued to give Bondy room to create a record for a possible appeal, but the judge's skepticism was readily apparent. Eppolito's daughter, Andrea, his foremost spokesperson and advocate, swore that her father had banged the steering wheel in frustration driving away from the court after the telephone call with Casso. "He won't take a fucking phone call," she said her father said of Cutler. "He won't read my notes."

While Bondy seemed convinced he was gaining a legal advantage, Daniel Nobel was more realistic. Caracappa's attorney had informed his client that there was little likelihood the convictions would be overturned. The Daily News reported, "Nobel said outside court that he had advised his client there was' a snowball's chance in hell' of Weinstein throwing out the verdict."

On Caracappa's behalf, Nobel re-called Eddie Hayes, now testifying against his former client. As Nobel tried to cast doubt on Hayes's command of the intricacies of RICO, Hayes corrected and clarified Nobel's own characterizations of the law. Nobel asked Hayes why he did not place the statute of limitations argument more forcefully before the jury. Hayes replied that it was not a good strategy to tell the jury that the two defendants were guilty of a string of horrific crimes while they were NYPD detectives but should be acquitted because the charges had come too late. Nobel imagined an opening statement that Hayes might have given to a jury. Nobel imagined himself giving such an opening, bellowing to a nonexistent jury about the statute of limitations and the need to not convict even if they were guilty.

"It would take some nerve to make that argument before a jury, especially with former detective defendants," Hayes said.

"I would not expect a counsel of such eminence to make such an opening," Weinstein said. "It's absurd."


On Friday, June 30, 2006, a sleepy afternoon at the federal courthouse, Judge Jack Weinstein issued a seventy-seven page judgment in the case of the United States v. Stephen Caracappa and Louis Eppolito. The legal determination was one of the most important in Weinstein's distinguished career. The publicity it would attract would be vast. It was an opportunity for the veteran judge, friend of Bobby Kennedy and lifelong New York liberal, to make a statement that would reach the largest possible audience. The "mafia cops" case was suddenly back in the headlines.

"The evidence presented at trial overwhelmingly established the defendants' participation in a large number of heinous and violent crimes, including eight murders," Weinstein began. "While serving as New York City police detectives, the defendants used their badges not in service of the public, but in aid of organized crime. They kidnapped, murdered, and assisted kidnappers and murderers, all the while sworn to protect the public against such crimes."

Judge Weinstein reviewed the factual history of the case. In reciting the underlying criminal acts in detail he created a record that the guilt of Caracappa and Eppolito had been proven beyond reasonable doubt. There were two sets of criminal conduct, Weinstein wrote. From 1986 until the early nineties, Caracappa and Eppolito had been "employed" by Gaspipe Casso through his agent Burton Kaplan. These offenses constituted "the New York acts." The crimes related to money laundering and narcotics trafficking, which transpired in Las Vegas in 2004 and 2005, were "the Nevada acts." The "thin" connection between these two acts had caused Weinstein concern from the outset, he wrote. For a RICO case to fall within the time limits of the law, the two acts had to form a single "pattern." But the necessity of a trial, for the defendants to clear their name or the government to prove its case, had overcome Weinstein's misgivings about the statute of limitations.

"The government's overwhelming case was skillfully presented with credible witnesses and supporting interlocking documents and other proof of each of the racketeering acts charged," Weinstein wrote. Kaplan had testified convincingly and methodically about the formation of the conspiracy and the New York acts, he said.

"Although co-conspirator Anthony Casso did not testify at the trial, he was a constant ethereal presence," Weinstein wrote. "At no time did either party indicate that it desired to call Casso. His unreliability, capriciousness, and potential danger as a witness who could turn toward either side as quickly as a weathervane on a blustery day was well-known to all." Cutler's decision not to call Casso as a witness was not only strategically sound, but wise, noted the judge. "Calling Casso would have been an unmitigated disaster," Weinstein said. "Up until the final days of the trial, Casso had done nothing but implicate the defendants, even making eleventh-hour attempts to assist the government."

The claim of inadequate representation was baseless, said the judge. "While there may be disagreement as to the value of the sometimes baroque style of these two attorneys, they were clearly skilled, dedicated to their clients, and enormously hardworking." As for Eppolito's claim that he was denied the right to testify in his own defense, this was also dismissed by the judge. Eppolito had been a police officer for more than twenty years. The notion that he didn't know he could assert his right to take the stand was risible. Regardless, even if he had testified the verdict would not have been changed.

"On the contrary, Eppolito's testimony at the hearing made it overwhelmingly clear that his testimony at the trial would have proven a disaster to himself and his co-defendant. In addition to describing himself, under oath, as a man who would lie to get what he wanted, Eppolito gave numerous examples of times when he had lied or embellished in order to further his career or image. He discussed his own racism at great length, volunteering a long list of racial slurs that he said he often used; admitted to having placed a sawed-off shotgun in the mouth of a man who had insulted his mother, expressing disbelief when the prosecutor asked him whether he knew such an act was illegal; and confessed to having removed files from the police department without permission. On cross-examination, he repeatedly volunteered more self-damaging information than was necessary to answer the prosecution's questions. As for his testimony regarding the crimes with which he was charged, it appears that, aside from a general denial of involvement, Eppolito had little to say. Although Eppolito claimed that he had told his counsel that he could refute the charges against him, his testimony at the hearing gave no indication that was the case."

Repeatedly stressing the guilt of Caracappa and Eppolito, Judge Weinstein then put the case back in the news around the world. Throughout the judgment Weinstein drew a bright-line distinction between facts and the law. In the verdict, the jury had been asked as a matter of fact if the statute of limitations requirement had been met by the prosecution. The jury found, as fact, that the conspiracy was ongoing and satisfied the statute of limitations rule.

Weinstein disagreed, as a matter of law.

It was not an unprecedented move for the judge. Weinstein had done the same thing during the trial of Vincent "Chin" Gigante in 1997. The jury found Gigante guilty of conspiring to murder John Gotti. Despite the jury's verdict, Weinstein overturned the conviction on the grounds that it was time-barred under RICO. In this new judgment, he quoted himself in the Gigante case. "Conspiracy theory provides federal prosecutors with a powerful flail to unseat criminals, a weapon so effective that many potential state prosecutions are shifted to federal court by frustrated district attorneys. Yet its very effectiveness requires care that it is not utilized to commit injustice."

The trial of Caracappa and Eppolito involved crimes that dated back twenty years. But it was taking place in a contemporary context. The trial attracted enormous interest. Front pages were commanded, Hollywood movies contemplated, books prepared for publication. The eighty-fouryear- old Weinstein, in what would probably be his last judgment in a case of such public magnitude, turned to the broadest notions of justice. Those who knew him well and those who had closely watched him during the trial felt a sense that he had known all along where the case was heading. Judge Weinstein attempted to thread the needle. The public good of the trial and conviction of the cops had been achieved. Weinstein now turned to the limitation of the government's power.

The government's case stretched the conspiracy law to the breaking point, Weinstein wrote. Decades-old crimes could not be joined with three completely unrelated criminal acts committed years later in another geographical area and under different circumstances. The evidence was insufficient to support the jury's verdict.

"It will undoubtedly appear peculiar to many people that heinous criminals such as the defendants, having been found guilty on overwhelming evidence of the most despicable crimes of violence and treachery, should go unwhipped of justice. Yet our Constitution, statutes, and morality require that we be ruled by law, not by vindictiveness or the advantages of the moment. If we are to be ruled by the law, we must be limited by its protections. As Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes reminded us, it is a 'less evil that some criminals should escape than that the government should play an ignoble part.' Even during the great emergency of the Civil War, the court rejected the theory that the rule of law could be twisted to meet the exigencies of the moment. In 1866, the Supreme Court wrote, 'The constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace, and covers with the shield for its protection all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances. No doctrine, involving more pernicious consequences, was ever invented by the wit of man than that any of its provisions can be suspended during any of the great exigencies of government.' And, as John Locke declared in his Second Treatise of Government -- and as the events of the last century have illustrated -- 'wherever Law ends, Tyranny begins.'''

Weinstein ended with a literary quotation, a touch of eclat at the end of a case that had from the first revolved around the written word. The reference was from A Man for All Seasons. The play was produced on Broadway in 1961, the dawn of the golden age of liberal democracy in America, when the Kennedy administration was dubbed "Camelot" after the court of King Arthur and the Broadway play of the same name. A Man for All Seasons was a play about ancient concerns. The subject was Henry VIII and his desire to be made head of the Church in order to grant himself a divorce. Sir Thomas More, friend of the king but chancellor of England, must decide whether to grant the king's request. Faced with overwhelming power, More stood by the law and refused to accept the king's claim to the Church. The dialogue quoted by Weinstein is written in a style both antique and modern.

"What would you do?" More asks the zealot William Roper. "Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?"

"I'd cut down every law in England to do that!" Roper exclaims.

"Oh?" More asks. "And when the law was down, and the Devil turned round on you, where would you hide, Roper, all the laws being flat? This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast -- man's laws, not God's -- and if you cut them down -- and you're just the man to do it -- do you really think you could stand straight upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil the benefit of law, for my own safety's sake."

Weinstein concluded that the sanctity of law and justice transcended the guilt of Caracappa and Eppolito. In the age of the government's war on terror, the rule of law was in peril, Weinstein intimated. In such a time of danger, the government had to be watched to see that it did not stretch the meaning of words and statutes to suit its purposes, no matter how just the cause appeared.

In the end, Judge Weinstein held, the devil himself must be granted the benefits of the rule of law, as should Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa.

The verdict was overturned.


The government immediately announced it would appeal the ruling, an action that would take months. As the fall turned to winter in 2006, the fates of Caracappa and Eppolito hung in legal limbo. Their convictions had been vacated, yet they were guilty of murder. The evidence said so. A jury said so. The esteemed judge said so.

No longer convicted of any crimes, Caracappa and Eppolito would remain in prison pending the outcome of the government's appeal. Bail was denied by Judge Weinstein. "Defendants have a high incentive to flee, given that they have been publicly shamed -- and as a result, will be ostracized -- after a trial at which they were proven guilty of heinous criminal acts," Weinstein wrote.

Eppolito continued to maintain his innocence. Granting an interview to Daily News reporter Greg B. Smith, he said, "I thought this was all a very well-thought-out plan. It was a perfect frame. There's no more perfect frame than this."

Caracappa remained silent.

In public statements, the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office announced that if Caracappa and Eppolito were eventually found to have no criminal liability in federal court, New York state authorities would pursue murder and kidnapping charges against the two former NYPD detectives. In the state, there was no statute of limitations on murder and kidnapping prosecutions. For those who had followed the case and were convinced of the guilt of Caracappa and Eppolito, this news was welcome and reassuring: if convicted on state charges, Stephen Caracappa and Louis Eppolito, both aged beyond their years, would nearly certainly spend the rest of their lives behind bars.

Housed in the same cell, the first fissure in their relationship appeared during the hearing where bail was denied, when Caracappa asked that he be taken out of his cell with Eppolito and permitted to live in the general prison population. Caracappa did not say if the request was to escape the monotony of twenty-three-hour-a-day lockdown, or to finally rid himself of his association with Louis Eppolito, aka Mafia Cop.

After the guilty verdicts were announced, Oldham was invited to speak to a group of retired NYPD detectives. Known as the Knights of the Round Table, the group met once a month to talk about old times and listen to true-crime cop stories from the present and the past. The meeting to which Oldham was invited was held at Pete's Tavern, an old pub in Gramercy Park in Manhattan known for its literary history and the hundreds of signed pictures of sports and entertainment figures that covered its walls.

As Oldham donned a dark blue shirt and suit he felt weary. The wear and tear on him from the case showed in his eyes, and like many ex-cops, he was having difficulty adjusting to retirement. As he dressed, he wondered about the nature of the invitation. He had grown so used to people telling him that they didn't want to hear about the case that he had been a little taken aback by the interest from the detectives' group. The invitation had come from a retired police captain named John McMahon. Now in his late sixties, McMahon was gregarious and energetic, and had become a defense attorney after leaving the police department.

Oldham kissed his daughters good-bye and headed for his car. The drive to Gramercy Park was short, and he approached the meeting not knowing what to expect. Despite the victory, the prosecution of Caracappa and Eppolito had not been a popular cause inside many circles in the NYPD, both active duty and retired. "A lot of guys thought the whole case made the department look bad. Some thought criminals shouldn't be used to testify against cops. Most didn't want to know too much. An entire generation of law enforcement had been fooled by Caracappa and Eppolito. Men who had dedicated their lives to saving lives and catching criminals had two killers walking among them. That generation was dying, too. Kenny McCabe, a legend, had passed away that winter. Other guys were getting sick or old."

Pete's Tavern was a step or two up from the usual police haunts -- it served an excellent steak, a good red wine. Oldham had worked as Jacques Chirac's bodyguard on a visit to Pete's in the late eighties when Chirac was mayor of Paris before he became president of France. When Oldham arrived he saw that the tavern had not changed much in nearly twenty years, which was not surprising, as it had opened in 1864.

The lunch meeting was held in a room upstairs from the main bar. Two dozen retired NYPD detectives had gathered. Prime rib and roasted potatoes were served. Oldham had never belonged to an organization like the Knights of the Round Table. In the NYPD he had been an outsider from the beginning. He did not expect a hero's welcome, nor did he expect open resentment and anger. When Oldham entered, a former Major Case colleague got to his feet and walked out. Oldham wasn't shocked. He and the former colleague had never gotten along in a department where people often clashed, rivalries arose, and disagreements about guilt and innocence were commonplace. The reaction of the others surprised Oldham -- the last twist in a case that had contained so many.

"Few of the cops in the room wanted to confront the fact that two of their fellow detectives were killers. Eppolito maybe. But Steve Caracappa? A first-grade detective and stand-up guy? Caracappa had been convicted by a jury of his peers of murdering, kidnapping, selling crystal meth -- and selling out his friends, partners, and society. The evidence had been declared overwhelming by the most experienced judge in the country. For some of the cops in Pete's Tavern it was easier -- less painful -- to fall back on the old assumptions and excuses, the ones that created the problem in the first place. The general sentiment was that the feds were cop haters. That Burt Kaplan was a liar. One old guy said he'd heard that I was a bum and that Steve and Louie were innocent. That attitude was exactly what Caracappa and Eppolito had preyed upon. Detectives supposedly trained to not make assumptions were incapable of imagining two of their own capable of murder. It contradicted their way of seeing the world, and themselves. They didn't want to know the facts.

"I knew that some detectives had taken the time to familiarize themselves with the case. Detective Chuck Siriano, who served with Caracappa and me in the Major Case Squad, had read the entire transcript of Kaplan's testimony. Chuck saw how convincing Kaplan's evidence was -- the detail, the texture, the command of facts. Chuck lay awake for nights playing back events in his mind -- the shooting of Dominic Costa, the times that he had been out on surveillance and Caracappa knew of his whereabouts, the time he was certain wiseguys had followed him on his way home. It was torture thinking about the betrayal. I knew the feeling.

"As the hostility in the room rose, I started to get angry. I couldn't help wondering what the hell these detectives wanted. For Caracappa and Eppolito to get away with murder so the reputation of the NYPD wouldn't be dirtied? For Israel Greenwald to still lay buried under a concrete slab on Nostrand Avenue so they could eat their meat and potatoes at Pete's Tavern in peace? I was tired of being told by my brother detectives that they didn't want to hear about the case. They should have been applauding the work of the cadre. A bunch of old New York City detectives -- men just like them -- went out and made one of the best cases in years. Not the young, clean-cut federal agents who couldn't find their way home without a map. Old guys like me who drink too much and don't follow the rules but run their cases to the ground-detectives who want to know the truth, no matter where it leads, no matter how hard it is to take."

While others couldn't contain their hostility, Oldham's host, retired captain John McMahon, remained a gentleman throughout. "I told the men that I would stay until the last of them left, if anyone wanted to talk about the case," Oldham remembered. "Some guys stayed. They wanted to hear the story of Louie and Steve. I told them how it began. I told them how I got to the Major Case Squad by nearly getting killed by a police impersonator in the Three-Four. How I wanted to be a go-to detective, like Caracappa. How I knew there was something wrong with Caracappa the first time I met him."



1. As Eppolito and Caracappa awaited their sentencing hearing, the very man who had triggered the chain of events that led to their murderous conspiracy with Luchese underboss Gaspipe Casso was himself arrested and charged with loan-sharking, extortion, and drug dealing. Twenty years earlier, Mickey Boy Paradiso had taken out a contract on Casso, hiring Jimmy Hydell and his incompetent crew for the hit-a failed gambit that provoked Casso's revenge and the killing spree that cascaded decades forward in time. Jerry Capeci's "Gangland" column of May 25, 2006, reported the indictment of Paradiso, the Gambino gangster who had once smacked John Gotti in the face during an argument and lived to tell the tale. "I'll kill him, I'll cut his fucking throat," Paradiso was caught saying on an FBI tape. "When I get mad I'm a different person. I don't rationalize."
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Re: The Brotherhoods: The True Story of Two Cops Who Murdere

Postby admin » Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:29 am


Writing a big, sprawling tale such as this requires the help of a multitude. We are grateful for the assistance of people drawn from the many walks of the world of organized crime in New York City -- gangsters, detectives, federal agents, defense attorneys, prosecutors, reporters. We would like to thank, in particular, Detectives Stefano Braccini, George Slater, Mike Connelly, Joseph Keenan, and Chuck Siriano for their insights and memories. Without DEA Special Agent Eileen Dinnan there would have been no case. Retired Special Agent Patrick Colgan enabled us to re-create the world of cooperators from the perspective of the FBI. Brooklyn DA Chief Investigator Joe Ponzi not only helped break the case, he helped make this book. We would like to recognize the contributions of three of the best detective investigators, Tommy Dades, Bobby Intartaglio, and George Terra.

The fingerprints of Zoe Alsop, ace researcher and now intrepid reporter, are on every page of this book. Her commitment was complete, no matter how difficult the challenges, and so are our gratitude and admiration.

Former Colombo capo Big Sal Miciotta shared an enormous amount of his hard-earned wisdom about the ways of wiseguys. No one knows the underworld better. Janie McCormick generously trusted us with a small part of her story, in the hope it will help others. Jerry Capeci's "Gangland" ( and Selwyn Raab's Five Families were invaluable resources. Three reporters covering the trial were unfailingly generous with their time and notebooks: John Marzulli of the New York Daily News, Zach Haberman of the New York Post, and Alan Feuer of the New York Times. Legendary New York City journalist Jimmy Breslin was a source of wisdom and amusement. Professor Jefferey Morris helped provide a portrait of Judge Jack Weinstein. Steve Wick, the Newsday reporter who played a role in keeping the case alive, was kind enough to let us recount the story he originally broke. Seamus Conlan, great photojournalist and friend, provided enormous assistance in compiling the images for this book.

Defense attorney Eddie Hayes, a New York City original, understood the value of the written word and a good story. Gerry Labush, Esq., aided us in an early and critical phase and we are grateful for his efforts. Elizabeth McNamara and Peter Karanjia of Davis, Wright & Tremaine provided outstanding legal representation and review. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Henoch was generous with his time and beyond all expectation in his effort to assist in ensuring this account is as accurate and comprehensive as possible.

Jody Hotchkiss, literary agent and all around good guy, was a steady hand throughout the voyage, and Gay Salisbury ably managed the launch. Extraordinary efforts were made by extraordinary people at Scribner. We are grateful for the attention, enthusiasm, and professionalism of Carolyn Reidy, Susan Moldow, Nan Graham, John Fulbrook, Emily Remes, Suzanne Balaban, and Caroline Walker. Karen Thompson, Paul Whitlach, Katy Sprinkel, Erich Hobbing, and Kathleen Rizzo gave their all to turn the manuscript into a book on deadline and we thank them for their hard work.

Our editor, Colin Harrison, deserves more thanks than an acknowledgment can provide. This book was commissioned by Colin, himself an accomplished novelist, and he guided it through every stage of development from conception to delivery. The Brotherhoods truly is his baby. Whatever merits it might have are due to his vision and passion. The shortcomings are all ours.

G. L. writes, "1 would like to thank the excellent editors 1have had the good fortune to work with over the years-Paul Tough, Anne Collins, Jim Nelson, Barbara Jones, John Gillies, Vera Titunik, and the irreplaceable and much missed Art Cooper and Barbara Epstein. To that number 1now add Colin Harrison, who took a big risk and dared me to write my first book. Paul McHugh, Merrily Weisbord, and Murray Sayle, mentors each in their own fashion, gave the invaluable gift of believing in me. To my friends Elyce and Andy Arons, Andrea Moss and Norm Magnusson, Srinivas Krishna, Charlie Foran, Scott Anderson, Tara Farrell -- and the many others who helped maintain my sense of humor and perspective -- 1 am in your debt. 1 was raised to love words and books and for that 1 thank my loving mother, Mary, my writer father, Bruce, and Pam Lawson and Ted Wood. Lorraine and Chandran Kaimal were the best help a son-in-law could ask for. Zoe became my friend through this book and for that 1am thankful. To William Oldham, collaborator and great detective, I thank you for your story. My deepest gratitude goes to my three great loves for their sacrifices, strength, and sweet smiles -- Maya, Lucy, Anna."

W. D. O. writes, "First, I want to thank our editor, Colin Harrison, a sweetheart. My agent, Jody Hotchkiss, a real guy in an otherwise strange business. Thank you to myoId partners, without whom I am only half my self, 51A Dan Kumor, Detective George Slater (retired), Detective Mike Connolly (retired), Detective John Ross (retired), and you Steph. Kelly Moore, a one and only. John and Laura. My friends Willie Rashbaum, Allen Towbin, Bim (Gilbert Oakley), and Maureen Walsh and others. Thank you to Bacon and Paula, you helped me live. Dave Lubitz, I don't know why. Guy Lawson, a truly talented writer and now a good friend. Zoe Alsop, who pushed us down the path when we needed it. My mother, Nan. Andrea, thank you for the beautiful children and the good times. I hope all is well."


1. Courtesy of William Oldham

2. Courtesy of William Oldham

3. From Mafia Cop by Louis Eppolito

4. From Mafia Cop by Louis Eppolito

5. From Mafia Cop by Louis Eppolito

6. From Mafia Cop by Louis Eppolito

7-19. Courtesy of the U.S. Attorney's Office

20. Ramin Talaie/The New York Times/Redux

21-33. Courtesy of the U.S. Attorney's Office

34. Bryan Smith/New York Daily News

35. Ron Antonelli/New York Daily News

36. Photo by Ken Schles


Guy Lawson is an award-winning investigative journalist whose articles on war, crime, culture, and law have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, GQ, Harper's, and many other publications.

William Oldham is a decorated twenty-year veteran of the NYPD and a retired investigator for the U.S. Department of Justice. He is the president of Cadre Investigations, a private investigative agency in New York City.
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