Judge in ‘Mafia Cops’ Trial Received Angry Letters After Decision
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A federal judge in Brooklyn received a smattering of angry letters after he reversed a jury’s conviction in June and ruled in favor of the “mafia cops,” two men who allegedly murdered for the mob while serving as detectives.
The judge, Jack Weinstein, earlier had said that the crimes the men, Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa, were accused of may have been the worst ever tried in the federal courthouse in Brooklyn.
It thus follows that Judge Weinstein, one of New York’s most famous federal trial judges, certainly could not have expected any fan mail when he threw out the convictions on a statute of limitations technicality.
Not all of the mail was negative. Judge Weinstein yesterday placed an unusual letter of thanks in the case file. The letter came from a mother on the eve of her son’s trial in a different courthouse before a different judge. The mother is Victoria Gotti Sr. Her son, John Gotti Jr., is now on trial in court in federal court in Manhattan.
The eight-line note, written last month, represents a strange convergence of two of this year’s highest profile mob cases.
She writes: “Those two men, Epolitta and Carracappa need to thank their lucky stars for your wisdom and fairness.”
In her typed letter, Mrs. Gotti considers less the fate of Messrs. Eppolito and Caracappa, who remain in jail on drug charges, than she does her son’s fate.
“I am a person that was totally, totally disillusioned with the justice system, you have restored my hope that my own son may have a second chance, or should I say a second chance at life,” Mrs. Gotti wrote.
In federal court in Manhattan yesterday before Judge Shira Scheindlin, a jury was being selected to try Gotti on charges that he ordered two 1992 attacks on a talk show radio figure, Curtis Sliwa. It is Gotti’s third trial on the charges following two deadlocked juries. Gotti’s father, Gambino crime boss John Gotti, died in prison on a racketeering conviction.
Legal observers ascribed different motives to the unusual letter.
“She wants her son just like she wanted her husband and she just doesn’t want to lose another John Gotti to crime,” the attorney who represented Mr. Caracappa at trial, Edward Hayes, said. “She is just desperately finding some way to be heard.”
Bruce Cutler, the longtime defense attorney of the elder John Gotti and the lawyer for Mr. Eppolito, said: “She is strong-willed and opinionated and she felt a kinship with a judge who was doing something that he felt was right.”