A defense lawyer urged jurors in the cop-killing trial of Long Island mobster Joel Cacace to reject as "pure speculation" the prosecution theory that he acted out of jealousy over the NYPD officer's marriage to his ex-wife, in summations Monday.
"That is made up out of whole cloth," lawyer Susan Kellman argued. "They have no evidence."
Cacace, 72, of Deer Park, a ponytailed former Colombo family consigliere, is accused of ordering the 1997 ambush of Officer Ralph Dols outside his Brooklyn apartment just after he and Cacace's ex-wife Kim Kennaugh had a baby girl.
Prosecutors in the two-week trial in federal court in Brooklyn relied on testimony from two informants, Dino Calabro and Joe Competiello, who said they carried out the hit after their boss, Colombo captain Tommy Gioeli of Farmingdale, told them Cacace ordered it.
But there was no direct evidence of Cacace's involvement, no witness who heard him complain about the marriage and no testimony about any arguments with his ex-wife, said Kellman, who argued prosecutors hoped an anti-mob bias would fill the gaps.
"The government wants you to go back and say, 'Organized crime, organized crime, organized crime, Colombo family, Colombo family, consigliere,' " she said. "There's a different standard of proof for these guys."
But Competiello and Calabro didn't know Dols and had no reason to kill him except for an order, said prosecutors, who argued that Cacace's motive was a reasonable surmise based on his age, his status in the crime family and mob hostility to police.
"There is no other explanation for why Ralph Dols was killed by men who did not even know who he was," prosecutor James Gatta said. "Doesn't it make sense that a man like Joel Cacace would find it unacceptable that his ex-wife married a man in his 20s, started a family with a police officer?"
Gatta also told the jury that men who rose to Cacace's rank got there by being careful, and said it was unreasonable for the defense to suggest the government needed to have Cacace explicitly acknowledging guilt on tape or to a witness.
"You know that's not the way these guys operate," he said. "They're secretive."
Calabro and Competiello testified last year against Gioeli and Dino Saracino, a third alleged member of the team that executed Dols. The jury returned racketeering convictions, but found that their claims about the Dols killing were not proven.
Kellman said they were falsely implicating Cacace to improve their chance of leniency.
"Nobody is saying these guys weren't involved in the shooting of Dols," she said. "But they had every reason to point the finger at a figure higher up in the Colombo crime family."
Jury deliberations are expected to begin Tuesday.