Abramoff statement sought for slaying trial

Associated Press
Published March 25, 2006

FORT LAUDERDALE - Former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his ex-partner in the ill-fated SunCruz Casinos deal will likely be subpoenaed to give statements in the case against three men charged with killing the gambling fleet's former owner.

According to court documents, the lawyer for murder defendant Anthony "Big Tony" Moscatiello wants to question Abramoff and Adam Kidan about the 2001 mob-style slaying of Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis. Broward Circuit Judge Michael Kaplan approved the request for subpoenas, though none have been issued.

Boulis was ambushed in his car by a gunman on a Fort Lauderdale street a few months after Abramoff and Kidan bought the SunCruz fleet from him. Boulis was feuding with Kidan, claiming he had reneged on parts of the deal.

Abramoff and Kidan are scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday in federal court after pleading guilty earlier this year to fraud charges stemming from the purchase. As part of their plea deals, they are required to cooperate with prosecutors in any state or federal investigation. Through their attorneys, both men have repeatedly denied any role in or knowledge of the Boulis slaying. Abramoff, once a prominent Republican lobbyist and fundraiser, has also pleaded guilty to federal charges in a Washington corruption investigation and agreed to assist prosecutors in that case.

Moscatiello attorney Dave Bogenschutz said in an interview Friday that testimony from Abramoff and Kidan is critical in showing the bitter feelings and power struggle that followed their purchase of SunCruz from Boulis in September 2000. He said Abramoff has never been implicated in the slaying.

"He knows the inside workings of SunCruz Casinos," Bogenschutz said, adding that it was not certain Abramoff would testify in person at trial. "It depends on what he says."

The chief prosecutor in the case, Brian Cavanagh, said his office had not intended to call Abramoff as a witness in part because he would be given immunity from prosecution for anything he says under those conditions. Cavanagh also said Kidan has not been cleared as a suspect in the Boulis slaying.

Moscatiello, 67, who allegedly has ties to New York's Gambino crime family, worked as a consultant for Kidan at SunCruz. He is charged along with Anthony "Little Tony" Ferrari, 49, and James "Pudgy" Fiorillo, 28, in the Boulis killing. All three could face the death penalty if convicted.