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Judge sets trial date for NYPD officer in alleged murder-for-hire plot

NYPD Officer Valerie Cincinelli appears in court in

NYPD Officer Valerie Cincinelli appears in court in Mineola on June 12. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A federal judge Tuesday set April 20 for the trial of a veteran NYPD officer from Long Island accused of plotting to kill both her estranged husband and the teenage daughter of her boyfriend.

The trial of Officer Valerie Cincinelli, 35, of Oceanside, should take two weeks, Eastern District federal prosecutors Catherine Mirabile and Lara Treinis Gatz told U.S. District Judge Sandra Feuerstein at the federal court in Central Islip.

Cincinelli, dressed in prison blues, sat composed and showed no emotion through the brief hearing.  

Federal prosecutors have said that Cincinelli had “a volatile” relationship with both her husband, with whom she was going through a divorce, and the boyfriend, who originally agreed to hire a hit man to carry out the murder plot, but then backed out, reported her to authorities and cooperated in a subsequent investigation.

Prosecutors said Cincinelli was unhappy about having to share her pension with the estranged husband, and believed the boyfriend was spending too much time with and lavishing too much money on his daughter.

But James Kousouros, the attorney for Cincinelli, who has pleaded not guilty, said she had been close to a divorce agreement with her husband, and that the government was misinterpreting text messages and taped recorded phone calls with the boyfriend as indications of a murder plot, rather than her frustrations with both the husband and the boyfriend.

Cincinelli, a member of the NYPD for 12 years, also has been charged with obstruction for attempting to interfere with the investigation into the alleged murder plot. She has been held without bond since her arrest in May.

Cincinelli, who has been suspended without pay, is most likely to remain in custody through the trial because Feuerstein ruled last week that she would not release Cincinelli on bond, saying that she was a danger both to the purported victims of the plot and to the community.

In her ruling against granting bond to Cincinelli, Feuerstein wrote that in a psychological evaluation the judge ordered, Cincinelli showed a “lack of impulse control and remorse and … defensiveness,” as well as “her alleged [obstructive] conduct in destroying or attempting to destroy evidence before her arrest."

Kousouros had said his client should be released on a substantial bail package, along with having her father, a retired NYPD lieutenant, move in with her.

Prosecutors have said that, in text messages to the boyfriend, Cincinelli complained about his buying the teen daughter “Ugg’s and Louis viutton [sic] handbags … must be nice … Wish I had one … Maybe it’s real like the Michael Kors ones you bought her.” In addition, Cincinelli complained about his paying for the daughter's “Sephora make up” and “fake nails every week.”

In one of the taped recordings the boyfriend also made as part of his cooperation, Cincinelli supposedly said the hit man should kill her estranged husband near his Holtsville place of work, saying, "it would not look suspicious because the murder would take place in ‘the hood’ or ‘the ghetto.' ”

In another, the boyfriend told Cincinelli that in the case of killing the teen, the hit man “did not want to carry out the murder near a school, [Cincinelli] responded ‘[r]un her the [expletive deleted] over, how about that.’ ”

Kousouros has said the materials “show nothing more than a woman venting her frustration at [the boyfriend’s] repeated lying regarding her money and where it was spent.”

After the hearing, Kousouros said that: “We are going to prepare for trial and look forward to her vindication.”

A number of Cincinelli’s relatives who were in the courtroom declined to comment afterward, as did Mirabile and Treinis Gatz.

Cincinelli faces up to 10 years in prison on conviction for each of the two counts of murder for hire; as well as 20 years on the obstruction charge.

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