A man originally accused of conspiring to kill Miami Subs founder Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis 12 years ago took the stand Tuesday, saying it was he who disposed of the murder weapon and naming for the first time the alleged driver of the stopped car that kept Boulis still long enough for the shooter to do his work.
James "Pudgy" Fiorillo testified for more than six hours Tuesday, keeping up his end of a plea agreement that required him to provide evidence against former co-defendants Anthony "Big Tony" Moscatiello and Anthony "Little Tony" Ferrari. Moscatiello and Ferrari are accused of arranging Boulis' murder in the midst of a power struggle over the SunCruz Casino boat fleet in early 2001.
Fiorillo was once believed to be the gunman, but prosecutors later accused him only of spying on Boulis and reporting his movements to Ferrari the night of the murder.
According to earlier witnesses, Boulis, 51, had a business meeting at his Fort Lauderdale office until just after 9 p.m. on Feb. 6, 2001. As he drove away from that meeting, Boulis was blocked on South Miami Road by the car in front of him, which stopped for no apparent reason. A black Mustang traveling in the opposite direction pulled up alongside Boulis, and the driver fired four shots, one of which was fatal.
Fiorillo's testimony filled in some of the details for the jury. He admitted that the Mustang was the car he frequently drove at the time, though it was owned by Ferrari. He said he watched Boulis leave his office and used his cellphone's "walkie-talkie" setting to notify Ferrari, who was nearby. As he drove away from the scene, Fiorillo said he saw three cars – the first was driven by Ferrari's girlfriend, a hairdresser Fiorillo identified as Pina Diminno. Behind her, he said, was Boulis. And behind Boulis was Ferrari, driving a red Volkswagen Jetta, Fiorillo said.
The Jetta was nowhere to be seen just moments later, when the actual shooting took place. Robert Puskarich, who testified last week, said he was behind Boulis' car when the shots rang out. He remembered seeing a red Jetta nearby as he drove away from the scene.
The day after the shooting, Fiorillo said Ferrari asked him to get rid of the gun. Fiorillo said he threw it off a bridge in Miami.
After he pleaded guilty in 2012 to conspiracy to commit murder, Fiorillo said, he tried to get Ferrari's former girlfriend, Diminno, to admit in a recorded phone conversation that she participated in the crime. But Diminno admitted nothing.
Broward Circuit Judge Ilona Holmes said Diminno, who has not been charged, lives in Canada and refuses to talk about the case with investigators. Canadian officials have not helped Florida prosecutors because of Canada's aversion to capital punishment, Holmes said.
Moscatiello and Ferrari face the death penalty if convicted.
Eight days into the trial, Fiorillo was the first witness to place Ferrari at the scene of the crime. Moscatiello, according to prosecutors, was the one who decided Boulis needed to die, but was not in South Florida on Feb. 6, 2001.
Moscatiello had been hired months earlier by businessman Adam Kidan, who with Washington D.C. lobbyist Jack Abramoff bought SunCruz from Boulis in a fraudulent $145 million deal. Boulis, who retained minority ownership in the company, had been hounding Kidan for payments, and the relationship between the two men allegedly degenerated into physical violence.
In pre-trial hearings, Kidan has testified that he hired Moscatiello for protection, believing Moscatiello to be connected to the Gambino crime family in New York. But Moscatiello, according to prosecutors, saw Kidan and SunCruz as a continuous income stream, and Boulis was a threat to that income.
Prosecutors do not believe Kidan or Abramoff played any role in the murder of Boulis. Kidan is expected to testify later this week.
Defense lawyer David Bogenschutz, who represents Moscatiello, began his cross-examination of Fiorillo late Tuesday afternoon, getting the witness to say he entered a guilty plea even though he never discussed murdering Boulis with either Ferrari or Moscatiello.
Fiorillo admitted taking the plea deal to get out of jail.
Cross-examination is scheduled to continue Wednesday.
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