Anthony "Little Tony" Ferrari coldly plotted with a mob-connected associate to have a prominent South Florida businessman killed so money would keep flowing their way from a fleet of lucrative gambling ships, a prosecutor told jurors Thursday in a closing argument.
Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis had sold SunCruz Casinos and the new owners had lined up contracts with Ferrari and Anthony "Big Tony" Moscatiello, who witnesses testified was a captain in New York's Gambino crime family. With Boulis trying to regain control, Assistant State Attorney Gregg Rossman said the two Tonys decided to have him eliminated.
"Mr. Moscatiello decided he wasn't leaving. This was his retirement," Rossman said. "They wanted control of the company."
After closing arguments concluded Thursday, jurors began deliberating at 4:30 p.m. They quit for the day after less than two hours and will resume Friday.
Jurors have been sequestered since testimony began Sept. 30.
Ferrari, 56, could get the death penalty if convicted, even though he did not pull the trigger the night of Feb. 6, 2001, when Boulis was fatally shot in his car on a Fort Lauderdale street. Other witnesses testified that the killer was mob hit man John "J.J." Gurino, who they said was brought in by Moscatiello for the job.
"He's just as guilty as sin," prosecutor Brian Cavanagh told jurors about Ferrari.
Cavanagh also reminded the jury what the witnesses said on the stand. Many of the witnesses that testified against Ferrari are criminals.
"Plots hatched in hell don't have angels for witnesses," Cavanagh said.
Cavanagh even delivered some of his closing argument from the witness stand, where on Wednesday Ferrari testified – against his attorney's wishes.
Ferrari blamed everything on those witnesses testifying against him. He got very heated during questioning and even said he was on the victim's side.
"No one is speaking for Mr. Boulis, but me up here," Ferrari testified.
Prosecutor Gregg Rossman was shocked. In his argument, he told jurors, "The man who plotted and arranged Mr. Boulis' murder has the nerve to take the witness stand and say 'I'm speaking for Gus Boulis.'"
The defense said Ferrari knew people who were involved, but wasn't part of the planning. Many of the witnesses who testified against Ferrari said he not only hired people to kill Boulis, he also hired people to kill anyone who knew about the Boulis murder. The defense did not believe those witnesses.
"All these people came with deals," Ferrari's attorney Chris Grillo said. "These liars, these murderers, drug dealers, drug users, bad people, terrible people. People that should be in prison."
Moscatiello, 75, is also charged with murder but was granted a mistrial earlier this month when his attorney became ill. Prosecutors intend to retry Moscatiello, and he too could get the death penalty. He has pleaded not guilty.
Rossman said the evidence showed that the new operator of SunCruz, businessman Adam Kidan, brought Moscatiello into the business because of the protection and connections his purported Gambino ties afforded. Ferrari had been telling people he was the main Gambino contact in South Florida, according to trial testimony.
Ultimately, Rossman said, the decision to involve Moscatiello, and by extension Ferrari, led to Boulis' death.
"Gus Boulis was killed because Adam Kidan reached out to Anthony Moscatiello," Rossman told jurors.
Kidan was not charged in the Boulis slaying, testifying in the trial he had nothing to do with it and that the two Tonys confessed to him separately. Kidan and his former SunCruz partner, ex-Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, both served federal prison time for fraud in the $147.5 million SunCruz purchase.
Boulis, 51 when he died, had risen to prominence years earlier by founding the successful Miami Subs restaurant chain before turning to the SunCruz business. The U.S. government was forcing him to sell because, as a Greek immigrant without U.S. citizenship, he could not legally sail the ships under the U.S. flag.
Testifying in his own defense, Ferrari denied involvement in Boulis' death and blamed Kidan. He claimed that a former defendant in the case, James "Pudgy" Fiorillo, confessed to him that he actually shot Boulis to death, not the hit man.
That discrepancy is one of many inconsistencies in the case that should lead jurors to acquit Ferrari, his attorney Christopher Grillo said in a closing argument.
"Again I ask you, who is the shooter? Shouldn't we at least know that? Shouldn't they be required to prove Mr. Ferrari's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt by saying who shot Mr. Boulis?" Grillo said.
Fiorillo, who did odd jobs and errands for Ferrari, pleaded guilty to murder conspiracy earlier and testified against Ferrari and Moscatiello. He said he did not kill Boulis but was involved in the plot, including throwing the murder weapon off a bridge and getting rid of the car the killer used.
Another convicted killer testified that Ferrari offered him money to kill Fiorillo and two others who knew about the plot, but he didn't go through with it because Moscatiello and Ferrari "didn't have their act together." Gurino, the alleged hit man, was later shot to death in a dispute with a Boca Raton deli owner who is now in prison.
Yet another admitted mob killer, Peter "Bud" Zuccaro, testified that Moscatiello offered him $100,000 to kill Boulis but he refused because under his moral code murder was only permissible for "principle" and not money.
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