Saturday, March 25, 2006

Abramoff Has Ties To Slaying Case

Abramoff May Be Subpoenaed in Slaying Case
Mar 24 1:52 PM US/Eastern

By CURT ANDERSONAssociated Press Writer

A judge has approved subpoenas for former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and an ex-business partner to answer questions about the mob-style slaying of the owner of a gambling fleet they bought.
Abramoff and Adam Kidan have insisted, through their attorneys, that they know nothing about the slaying of Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis, who was ambushed in his car by a gunman in Fort Lauderdale a few months after the pair bought SunCruz Casinos from him.

A lawyer for Anthony "Big Tony" Moscatiello, one of three men charged in the 2001 slaying, wants to question Abramoff and Kidan, according to court documents. Circuit Judge Michael Kaplan approved the request Thursday, but the subpoenas had not been issued by Friday morning.

The SunCruz purchase is "at the heart" of the murder case, Moscatiello attorney Dave Bogenschutz said in court papers.

Abramoff and Kidan are not charged in the slaying but are scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday in federal court after pleading guilty earlier this year to fraud charges stemming from the purchase. Their lawyers did not return telephone calls or e-mails seeking comment Friday.

Abramoff, once a prominent Republican lobbyist and political fundraiser, has also pleaded guilty to federal charges in a Washington corruption investigation that threatens several powerful members of Congress and their staff members.

As part of their federal plea deals, Abramoff and Kidan are required to cooperate with prosecutors in any state or federal investigation.

Moscatiello, 67, allegedly has ties to New York's Gambino crime family and worked as a consultant for Kidan at SunCruz.

Kidan paid companies linked to Moscatiello about $145,000 while he ran SunCruz. Prosecutors have said they believe Boulis was slain in a battle for control of the gambling fleet out of concern that those payments might dry up.

Moscatiello is charged along with Anthony "Little Tony" Ferrari, 49, and 28-year-old James "Pudgy" Fiorillo in the Boulis killing. All three have pleaded not guilty and could face the death penalty if convicted.

Investigators have testified that records show that cell phones belonging to Ferrari and Fiorillo were within 500 feet of the Boulis murder scene moments after the killing and that one was used to call Moscatiello.

Kaplan was scheduled to hear testimony Friday on a motion by Moscatiello and Fiorillo claiming the prosecution's case isn't strong enough to warrant keeping them in custody without bail. Ferrari has not joined in that motion.

Abramoff and Kidan face prison sentences of just more than seven years in the Florida fraud case. They admitted fabricating a fake wire transfer to make it appear they were putting a sizable chunk of their own money into the $147.5 million purchase of the gambling fleet.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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