The Staten Island man accused of murdering Gambino crime boss Frank Cali in March acted in a delusional state, believing that he was going to make a citizen’s arrest of Cali as part of some plan to save the American way of life, his attorney stated in court filings Friday.
Defense attorney Robert Gottlieb made the claims in a motion for discovery in the murder case against Anthony Comello, 24, who is accused of gunning down Cali outside his Staten Island home March 13.
Gottlieb had already served notice to the court that he planned to use a mental illness defense in the case. The new filings give prosecutors notice of the issue of self-defense.
“Mr. Comello grew to believe that several well-known politicians and celebrities were actually members of the Deep State and were actively trying to bring about the destruction of America,” Gottlieb stated in court papers filed in state Supreme Court in Staten Island.
Gottlieb explained in his filing that the “Deep State referred to a global cabal, a concept espoused by 'QAnon',” which the attorney described as a conspiratorial fringe right-wing political group that Comello supported.
But Comello’s support of QAnon developed in a delusional obsession that led him to believe he would be protected by President Donald Trump, Gottlieb said.
Organized crime figures like Cali were believed by Comello to part of the destructive Deep State, and as a result, Comello decided to make a citizen’s arrest of Cali on March 13 outside his Hilltop Terrace home, Gottlieb stated in his filings.
Comello brought handcuffs and planned to restrain Cali until authorities arrived, but an argument ensued in which Comello became afraid for his life after Cali made a “furtive” gesture, court filings stated
In self-defense, Comello reached into his car, took out a gun and shot Cali, according to Gottlieb’s court papers.