Feature Articles

November 2005

Partners In Crime: The Mafia Cops

By J. R. de Szigethy and Lou Eppolito, Jr.

Part Ten: The Media Wars

     The battle over the hearts and minds of the potential jury pool that will decide the Fate of the �Mafia Cops� has heated up; Federal Prosecutors in Brooklyn are seeking a gag order to be imposed on the Mafia Cops� criminal lawyers Bruce Cutler and Ed Hayes, who now have their own cable television program, �The Cutler and Hayes Show,� which appears on Court TV.

     The upcoming trial of reputed �Mafia Cops� Steven Caracappa and Lou Eppolito Sr. promises to be something of a �Media circus,� yet, oddly, this latest development only received notable play in Newsday. The Long Island-based daily reported that Federal Prosecutors had filed a brief with Brooklyn Federal Judge Jack Weinstein asking that a gag order be placed on the two flamboyant criminal attorneys, citing instances in which the two utilized the Media, including their new TV show, to make statements that would likely prejudice the potential jury pool against the government�s case against their clients. That the story did not receive more play in New York�s Media market is even more remarkable given that Bruce Cutler was once sanctioned for violating a gag order issued by a Judge regarding his defense of former Gambino Family Godfather John Gotti.

     This request for a gag order could not have come at a worse time for Cutler and Hayes and their accused clients. In recent weeks, potential jurors in the New York City area have been bombarded with the following negative information about the Mafia Cops:

     *Defendants Caracappa and Eppolito were charged with a 10th murder, that of an as-yet unidentified victim who was killed in 1987.

     *New Yorker Andy Gibbs was released from prison after Drug Enforcement Administration agents found evidence inside Eppolito�s opulent Las Vegas home that indicated Eppolito had framed Gibbs for the murder of a Brooklyn woman. Gibbs, a member of the Hebrew faith, has been championed by members of New York City�s Jewish community.

     *NBC twice ran a new episode of the program �Law and Order,� which was clearly based on the allegations against the Mafia Cops. Millions of Americans nationwide viewed this program, which ominously ended with the offspring of one of the accused cops turning against their father. Accused former Detective Eppolito is under indictment on drug charges along with his youngest son, Anthony.

     A gag order issued by the Judge in this case would deprive Cutler and Hayes from the public forum provided to them by Court TV, as well as their other contacts in the Media, to counter the ever-growing negative publicity regarding the allegations against their clients. To date, both attorneys have utilized their own public-relations skills to their clients� advantage, and Eppolito has mugged for the cameras, showing off the ankle bracelet that was a condition of his release on bail under house arrest, and his daughter Andrea played to the Media outside the Federal Courthouse, portraying her father as a champion of women and children.

     Such a portrayal will be challenged outside the same Federal Courthouse once the trial begins by former Casino hostess Janie McCormick, who has vowed to utilize the Media attention on the case to press her claim that Eppolito took $45,000 of her money - her life savings - after promising to write the book about her life as a companion to the infamous 1960s� �Rat Pack� of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford. McCormick will portray Eppolito, who championed himself in his book "Mafia Cop" as a protector of women who had their purses snatched by thugs, as someone who literally �snatched her purse.�

     That is, of course, if there is a trial in Brooklyn. Cutler and Hayes have now filed their �Motion to Dismiss� the charges against the two �Mafia Cops,� on grounds that the Indictment is faulty due to statute of limitation laws regarding the murder charges that go back more than 5 years since commission. Should Judge Weinstein issue such a determination - and he has indicated previously that he may well in fact do so - then the trial reverts to the drug trafficking case that would play out in Federal Court in Las Vegas. That trial would deal with the alleged trafficking of �crystal meth� by the two Mafia Cops and Eppolito�s son Anthony.

     If that transpires, then the �Media Circus� that many had planned to take place in Brooklyn will instead occur in Las Vegas. That town is Janie McCormick�s home turf, and the location where she was allegedly ripped-off by former Detective Eppolito might just well turn out to be the better fitting venue for the final chapter in her story that begins with her glory days with the �Rat Pack� under the brilliant Nevada sun.

To be continued

Related Features:

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part Nine: The Wrong Man

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part Eight: Yet Another Murder, Another Warning

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part Seven: The NYPD�s �Other� Mafia Cop: Steve Gardell

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part Six: Another Murder, Another Warning

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part Five: A Troubled Prosecution

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part Four: Judge Grants Bail

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part Three: The Emergence of 'Crystal Meth'

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part Two: The Cop Who Loved Snakes

Partners in Crime: The Mafia Cops
Part One: Mafia Cops Indicted

J. R. de Szigethy can be reached at:

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