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Federal judge delays trial for NYPD officer in murder-for-hire case

Suspended NYPD Officer Valerie Cincinelli has been held

Suspended NYPD Officer Valerie Cincinelli has been held since her arrest in May 2019. She is shown when she appeared in matrimonial court on June 12, 2019 in Mineola. Credit: Newsday File/Howard Schnapp

A federal judge Thursday delayed the start of the trial for an NYPD officer, accused of plotting to kill her estranged husband and the teenage daughter of her boyfriend, because her attorney said he needed more time to review recently handed over material.

Jury selection in the trial of Valerie Cincinelli, 35, of Oceanside, was scheduled to start on April 20 but U.S. District Judge Sandra Feuerstein put it off after the defendant’s lawyer, James Kousouros, asked for more time. Feuerstein did not set a new date for jury selection in federal district court in Central Islip.

Kousouros said he had only recently received from the government massive cellphone records of Cincinelli’s estranged husband and the key government witness in the case, the boyfriend whose teenage daughter was the other target of the plot. The boyfriend’s cellphone alone contained 90,000 texts and other images, Kousouros said.

After a brief review of the boyfriend’s messages, Kousouros said he had come across “a wealth of Brady and Giglio material“ — evidence that could both help his client’s case and impugn the boyfriend's testimony.

The single example Kousouros gave from the material involved a statement by the boyfriend that matched a previous defense argument — that Cincinelli gave the boyfriend $7,000 to buy gold coins, not to pay for a hit man as the government alleges.

Feuerstein said she would give Kousouros until April 7 to review the new material, and then hold a status conference on the case.

Cincinelli was arrested in May and pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder-for-hire and one count of obstruction of justice. She has been held without bond as a danger to the community.

She appeared in court dressed in navy prison clothing, and showed no emotion except to nod occasionally in agreement with her attorney's remarks.

Kousouros said afterward, “We’re pleased that the court gave us additional time to review the [new] evidence.”

A number of Cincinelli’s relatives, who were in court, declined to comment afterward.

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