A Florida man pleaded guilty in federal court in Brooklyn yesterday to plotting the murder in 2012 of a federal judge and a federal prosecutor on Long Island.
Dejvid Mirkovic, 38, of West Palm Beach, Fla., admitted to planning the murder of Central Islip U.S. District Judge Joseph Bianco and prosecutor Lara Treinis Gatz with accused co-conspirator Joseph Romano of Levittown, who had been sentenced to 15 years in prison by Bianco in a coin-fraud case.
Mirkovic, an ex-Marine who ran a coin telemarketing business in Florida, served as an intermediary for Romano, and allegedly paid more than $20,000 to an undercover agent posing as a hit man.
Mirkovic faces up to life in prison. Federal sentencing guidelines call for a term of between 292 months and 30 years.
"I agreed with another individual to kill a federal judge and a federal prosecutor on account of their performance of official duties," Mirkovic told U.S. District Judge John Keenan. "To accomplish this, I traveled between Florida and Long Island on several occasions."
Susan Kellman, Mirkovic's lawyer, said he was a "hardworking" guy and a married father with one son who became embroiled in the plot because of the overbearing influence of Romano, a neighbor in Florida.
"Romano is a powerful guy, a strong guy, and my client is a bit of a wuss," she said. "They were friends and he looked up to him."
Mirkovic's sentencing was set for June 19. Kellman said his plea deal does not include cooperation with the government.
Romano, 50, was tried and convicted in 2010 of bilking 1,500 victims around the country out of $40 million by using high-pressure tactics to sell collectible coins at inflated prices.
His murder-conspiracy trial is currently scheduled for May 20. But his lawyer this week asked for an adjournment, and also asked for a psychiatric exam of Romano's competency to stand trial, citing a "steadily deteriorating situation."
Romano is being held at a federal lockup in Brooklyn.