FT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – The defense table in the Konstantinos “Gus” Boulis murder trial was a little less crowded on Thursday.
Anthony “Little Tony” Ferrari was the only defendant at the table with his lawyer. On Thursday, Broward Circuit Judge Ilona Holmes declared a mistrial for his co-defendant Anthony “Big Tony” Moscatiello. His attorney, David Bogenshutz, is battling a lingering illness and couldn’t continue with the trial.
Prosecutors say they will retry Moscatiello at a later date.
Ferrari and Moscatiello are accused of masterminding Boulis’ mob style murder. Boulis, who founded Miami Subs, was in the middle of a messy power struggle to regain control of the SunCruz Casino fleet which he had sold a few months earlier to New York businessman Adam Kidan and former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Both were later convicted of fraud in that $147.5 million transaction.
Kidan testified that theyhad continual problems with Boulis about the way they were running things.
“It was a progression of events, from the (SunCruz sale) closing on forward, that kept happening,” Kidan said, adding that at one point Boulis leaped over a desk and attempted to stab him with a pen. Kidan also said Abramoff told him Boulis had threatened to have Kidan killed at one meeting.
Kidan said he reached out to Moscatiello, whom he had known in New York, for security and protection, and that Moscatiello brought in Ferrari. But Kidan has said he had no inkling that they would allegedly have Boulis killed and was shocked to learn about the slaying while on an overseas trip with Abramoff.
“I was very shaken,” Kidan said. “Anytime you know someone who loses their life in that manner, whether you like him or not, it’s rattling.”
Moscatiello, reputedly tied to New York’s Gambino crime family, gave the orders that led to Boulis’ killing to ensure he’d continue receiving thousands of dollars as a SunCruz consultant.
In February 2001 Boulis was in his BMW on a Ft. Lauderdale street when a car pulled in front of him and stopped. When Boulis stopped, the hit man drove up alongside in a black Mustang and fired several shots from a handgun.
Kidan testified Friday afternoon that he paid Ferrari tens of thousands of dollars for security and protection. Kidan says he was worried about his safety because of the problems with Boulis.
A few days after Boulis was fatally shot, Kidan said Ferrari came to meet him at his home and admitted to involvement in the killing as the two talked on an apartment balcony.
“He said that it was unfortunate. It really wasn’t supposed to happen that way, but it’s done, and there’s nothing you can do about it,” Kidan testified.
Then Ferrari looked directly at him and said, “‘If you ever tell anyone about what happened, I will kill you and I’ll kill your family,'” Kidan testified. “I sat there speechless and the conversation ended.”
Kidan testified Friday that he also met after Boulis died with Moscatiello, 75, and that “Big Tony” said much the same thing as Ferrari.
Both Moscatiello and Ferrari have denied any involvement.
Friday morning James “Pudgy” Fiorillo returned to the stand. At one point the proceeding came to a screeching halt over one word, a word which had been banned from use at the trial.
When Fiorillo replied to a question “that might be a polygraph question, your honor,” Holmes sent the jury out of the courtroom and then chastised him.
“If you blurt that word out again, I’m going to take action. Swift and appropriate action, do you understand me,” she asked Fiorili.
“Yes,” was his response.
Since the reliability of a polygraph is not recognized in Florida courts, he was told not to use that word.
The judge then went a step further.
“Nothing in your answers should ever relate to the word polygraph from this moment forward. In fact, I’m going to help you out. I’m going to write you a note and we’re going to tape it right there near that tissue box,” she told Fiorillo.
Fiorillo had previously testified that he was involved in surveillance of Boulis and helped get rid of evidence, including the black Mustang and .380-caliber handgun used by the hit man.
The actual hit man, John Gurino, was an associate of Moscatiello. He died after being shot in a dispute with a Boca Raton delicatessen owner.
Ferrari faces the death penalty if convicted.
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)