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No second trial for Daniel Pelosi in murder of Theodore Ammon

Daniel Pelosi, left, is escorted by his attorney

Daniel Pelosi, left, is escorted by his attorney into criminal court in Riverhead on Tuesday, March 23, 2004. Credit: AP / Ed Betz

There will be no second trial for Daniel Pelosi, Long Island's most infamous handyman, after an appellate court ruled Wednesday that his conviction for bludgeoning his lover's wealthy husband to death was proper.

Pelosi, now 51, was convicted of killing financier Theodore Ammon, 52, at Ammon's East Hampton beach home in October 2001 after a trial that got worldwide attention. Ammon was killed just before his divorce from Generosa Ammon -- Pelosi's lover -- was to be finalized. She inherited his $85 million estate and married Pelosi three months later, but died of breast cancer before his trial.

Pelosi's appellate attorney, Richard Mischel, argued to the Appellate Division Second Department that his client was deprived of a fair trial by Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Janet Albertson. Mischel said Albertson, now chief of her office's homicide bureau, overstepped the bounds of allowable courtroom behavior with her aggressive cross-examination of Pelosi and her acidic closing argument to the jury in 2004.

Mischel said Albertson baited Pelosi and portrayed him to the jury as a sadist who took pleasure in torturing Ammon with a stun gun before clubbing him to death in his bedroom.

The court said Albertson did nothing wrong.

"Most of the challenged conduct was not improper and, under the circumstances of this case, the cumulative effect of any improper conduct did not deprive the defendant of a fair trial," the decision said.

The circumstances of the case included death threats by Pelosi against Albertson and her children. Mischel had argued that Albertson should have given up the case. But Justice Joseph Maltese pointedly asked Mischel during oral arguments in March if defendants should be allowed to disqualify prosecutors they don't like by threatening them.

Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota praised the ruling.

"I am pleased that the Appellate Division agreed with the jury that Daniel Pelosi murdered Ted Ammon," he said in a statement. "Moreover, the court completely rejected all of the defendant's arguments on appeal and determined his trial was fair in all respects."

Mischel did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday evening.

He had also argued to the Appellate Division that there was not enough evidence to convict Pelosi.

The court, however, wrote, "We are satisfied that the verdict of guilt was not against the weight of the evidence."

Pelosi is serving 271/2 years to life in prison for the murder and attempted witness intimidation.

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