AmericanMafia.com

Feature Articles


June 2006

Partners In Crime: The Mafia Cops

By J. R. de Szigethy


Part Sixteen: A Tale of Two Brothers

     One of the reasons there are several people with book and/or movie deals to chronicle the saga of the "Mafia Cops" is the fact that this story continues to unravel with new and unforeseeable plot twists. The latest stunning turn in this story involves actions taken by convicted Mafia Cop Lou Eppolito’s young son Anthony that could potentially seal the Fate of both himself and his father as well.

     It was Eppolito’s other son, Lou Eppolito, Jr., who provided the first twist to this saga, by joining AmericanMafia.com shortly after his father’s arrest. Those who are born into an American Mafia family are expected by their fathers to always repeat the delusional mantra that the "Mafia does not exist." Only very rarely does someone related to a crime family come along who has the courage to denounce the Mafia as a journalist. Rick Porrello is one such, the grandson of a former Underboss of the Cleveland Mafia Family who chronicled his family history in his first book: THE RISE AND FALL OF THE CLEVELAND MAFIA.: CORN SUGAR AND BLOOD

     Breaking the Mafia’s ‘omerta,’ or ‘code of silence,’ can be a very dangerous step. One recent example has been the Media reports of death threats against John Gotti Jr. While details of the threats have not been made public, one theory regarding the threats is that "Junior" violated "omerta" by acknowledging the Mafia does exist in 1999 when he declared that he was quitting his life in an organized crime syndicate. Federal Prosecutors will soon place Gotti Jr. on trial a third time for his alleged role in the kidnapping and assault on Curtis Sliwa, alleging Gotti’s claim of withdrawal from the Mob is a ruse in order to escape conviction based upon existing statute of limitations in regards to racketeering.

     Mafia scion Lou Eppolito, Jr. was warned when he agreed to report against the Mafia that such a venture could put him at risk. Undaunted, Lou Jr. forged ahead, covering his father’s case with this reporter in Parts 3-14 of this series. One stated goal of Eppolito Jr.’s in becoming a journalist has been his desire to gain an understanding of the inner workings of the American Judicial system and how he might use such knowledge to prevent his brother Anthony from going to prison. Young Anthony Eppolito, along with his friend Guido Bravatti, were arrested in March, 2005, charged with drug trafficking along with the Mafia Cops, Lou Eppolito and Steven Caracappa. Lou Jr. decided at that point that should his brother be convicted, he would exercise his right to ask the Judge at Sentencing for leniency.

     Earlier this year, Anthony Eppolito attended the murder, bribery, and racketeering trial of his father in Brooklyn Federal Court, along with his mother Fran and sisters Andrea and Deanna. Lou Jr. also attended, along with this reporter and Lou’s life partner, Rob Gortner. Also in attendance were family and friends of some of the 8 people Eppolito would be convicted of murdering. During the trial, Court Officers and FBI agents kept a watchful eye on everyone, concerned that some sort of untoward event might break out in a trial that had become something of a Media circus. The expected pandemonium finally occurred on June 5th during Sentencing, when one of Eppolito’s living victims, Barry Gibbs, stood up and yelled at Eppolito, who had framed Gibbs for a murder he did not commit, for which he spent 19 years in prison. Judge Weinstein ordered Gibbs ejected from the Courtroom, while many observers on hand applauded Gibbs. Most of those were family and friends of the murder victims, some of whom made impassioned ‘victim impact’ statements to the Court seeking the imposition of the maximum sentence of Life without Parole. Judge Weinstein ordered just that but delayed imposition of the Sentence until deciding on an Appeal to be heard in his Courtroom on June 23, in which the new lawyers for the Mafia Cops will seek a new trial on several issues, most notably their claim of ineffective representation by the original lawyers, Bruce Cutler and Ed Hayes.

     AmericanMafia.com has now learned of a sensational development in this case that has yet to be reported. This new twist involves actions taken in recent months by Anthony Eppolito. While his brother had been chronicling the trial of his father at AmericanMafia.com, Anthony and his indicted co-conspirator Guido Bravatti were posting shocking and disturbing information about themselves at the website MySpace.com. This website, owned by the parent company of the New York Post, is a free website that allows people to "network" with their friends and associates in the promotion of their professional and personal goals. Any person who can log on with a computer can sign up for free and upload their photographs and biographical information, which is linked to those of their friends who are also subscribed to the website.

     In the background of Anthony Eppolito’s MySpace.com webpage is a scene from one of the "Godfather" movies, in which a member of organized crime kisses the hand of Godfather Corleone. Among the ‘blogs’ are one in which Anthony marks the First Anniversary of the "life-changing" event last year - that of his arrest by agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Anthony writes in one biographical posting that he has become "famous for becoming infamous." Anthony’s webpage also features photographs of himself and his friends enjoying themselves on the party circuit in Las Vegas, and displays his father’s now-discredited book, "Mafia Cop," with the added proclamation praising his father and partner in crime Steven Caracappa.

     These postings for all the world to see on the Internet accomplish several things. For one, the words of Eppolito and his apparent cashing in on the infamy of his father’s crimes - as well as the one he himself is under indictment for - offers a treasure trove of information to criminologists, psychologists, and FBI Profilers seeking to understand the inner workings of one of the most notorious criminals in American history; that of Anthony’s father, Lou Eppolito. If Anthony is anything like his father, then the self-portrait Anthony has painted of himself on the Internet will be of interest to such professionals.

     Should young Eppolito be convicted, at sentencing Federal Prosecutors in the case can offer into evidence the photographs and information Eppolito has publicly posted about himself, claiming such postings betray a person who shows no remorse for the crime he has been accused of, revels in his ‘15 minutes of fame,’ and takes reckless actions without considering the potential consequences. So disturbing is the Internet portrait it is likely that no one can find the words to persuade the Judge to not impose the maximum sentence under law, even the impassioned plea of a man who very much wants to see his brother get a second chance at life.

     Finally, what Eppolito and Bravatti have done is to hand on a silver platter the photographs and information about many of their associates to Federal agents involved in an on-going drug trafficking investigation. Those people and everyone connected to them will be investigated, potentially leading to other arrests. When Anthony Eppolito was arrested last year, Federal Prosecutors agreed to his being released on his own recognizance. That decision may provide dividends down the road as Anthony’s drug trafficking charge comes to trial later this year.

EPILOGUE

     At a previous Hearing, Judge Weinstein admitted it is likely that the convictions against the Mafia Cops may be thrown out on Appeal due to a lack of evidence tying the entire case together in regards to statute of limitations regarding racketeering. At a Hearing scheduled for June 23, the new lawyers for the Mafia Cops will ask Judge Weinstein to vacate the convictions and order a new trial. According to Media reports, testifying for a new trial will be two private investigators who worked on the original Defense team, as well as Andrea Eppolito, the Mafia Cop’s daughter, who is expected to offer evidence in support of the new Defense team’s allegations of ineffective representation on the part of the original criminal lawyers.

     While the legal ploys of the Mafia Cops’ new lawyers may present a second opportunity for them to reverse their convictions, it could also allow Federal Prosecutors a second opportunity to bring in a new witness who could testify as to crimes committed by themselves and one or both of the Mafia Cops during a time frame that could settle once and for all the statute of limitations issue. Such a witness could in theory be procured as a consequence of the on-going investigation of Anthony Eppolito, Guido Bravatti, and their associates.

     Thus, the Prosecutors in this case may tacitly hope that Judge Weinstein does in fact order a new trial, and the ultimate Fate of the Mafia Cops may be the result of the actions of one of former Detective Eppolito’s sons; not Lou Eppolito, Jr., but rather young Tony.

To be continued

Related Features:

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part Fifteen: GUILTY!
http://www.americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_346.html

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part Fourteen: ‘Courtroom of Sorrow’
http://www.americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_341.html

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part Thirteen: The Dueling Mob Turncoats
http://www.americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_335.html

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part Twelve: The Revenge of Janie McCormick
http://www.americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_332.html

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part Eleven: Christmas for the ‘Mafia Cops’
http://www.americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_330.html

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part Ten: The Media Wars
http://www.americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_324.html

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part Nine: The Wrong Man
http://www.americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_321.html

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part Eight: Yet Another Murder, Another Warning
http://www.americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_319.html

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part Seven: The NYPD’s ‘Other’ Mafia Cop: Steve Gardell
http://www.americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_313.html

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part Six: Another Murder, Another Warning
http://www.americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_311.html

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part Five: A Troubled Prosecution
http://www.americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_307.html

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part Four: Judge Grants Bail
http://www.americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_306.html

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part Three: The Emergence of 'Crystal Meth'
http://www.americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_303.html

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part Two: The Cop Who Loved Snakes
http://www.americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_300.html

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part One: Mafia Cops Indicted
http://www.americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_297.html


J. R. de Szigethy can be reached at:
writer10021@aol.com

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