FORT LAUDERDALE. Fla. - James "Pudgy" Fiorillo, an admitted murder conspirator turned star prosecution witness, testified Tuesday that he got rid of the gun and car used in the killing of a high-profile businessman on orders of another man standing trial for the gangland-style slaying.
Fiorillo told a jury that he threw a .380-caliber handgun off a Miami Beach bridge and took a Ford Mustang to a local garage, but not before finding an empty shell casing inside the car. Fiorillo said he was acting under the direction of Anthony "Little Tony" Ferrari, for whom he worked doing a variety of odd jobs and errands.
The day after the fatal shooting of businessman Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis, Fiorillo said Ferrari handed him a paper bag containing the gun and told him to get the Mustang parked near a local hospital. Fiorillo said Ferrari instructed him to get rid of the weapon.
"I was going over a bridge in the Mustang," Fiorillo testified. "I just pulled off to the side and threw it (the gun) in there, as far and as deep as I could."
He added that he gave the shell casing to the garage owner where he brought the Mustang, and the casing of unknown caliber was tossed in the trash.
Fiorillo also testified that he helped Ferrari conduct surveillance on Boulis the night of Feb. 6, 2001 when he was slain, tipping off his boss when Boulis left his office that night. Moments later, other witnesses have testified, the BMW Boulis was driving was blocked by a car in front and then he was ambushed by an alleged mob hit man in a Mustang and armed with a .380-caliber handgun.
Before the shooting, Fiorillo said he saw a red Volkswagen Jetta belonging to Ferrari near Boulis' office, along with a Mazda belonging to a woman named Pina Diminno, whom he described as the girlfriend of the married Ferrari. A motorist who witnessed the slaying said he saw a red Jetta driven by a woman pass him from behind moments after the fatal shots were fired.
Later that night, Fiorillo joined Ferrari back at his Miami Beach condominium and they turned on local TV news. One story was about an unidentified man who had crashed his BMW on a busy downtown Fort Lauderdale street.
Fiorillo testified that Ferrari turned to him and said, "That was our boy, the one we were looking for." Then, Fiorillo said, Ferrari made a phone call and said, "It seems like our boy had an accident." Prosecutors have said phone records show the call was to the New York home of reputed Gambino crime family member Anthony "Big Tony" Moscatiello, the other defendant on trial.
Fiorillo, 35, was originally indicted along with the two Tonys in the Boulis slaying, but last year he pleaded guilty to murder conspiracy and agreed to testify against them in exchange for a sentence of the six years he already spent in jail. If he testifies falsely, Fiorillo said he could get 30 years.
Moscatiello, 75, and the 56-year-old Ferrari face the death penalty if convicted.
A few days after Boulis was slain, Fiorillo said he and Ferrari met Moscatiello at Miami Beach's famed Fontainebleau Hotel. There, Fiorillo said Moscatiello told him that "I needed to leave or disappear until Tiffany's 18th birthday," referring to Ferrari's then-infant daughter. Fiorillo went to New York, again meeting with Moscatiello, and then to Toronto, Canada for several weeks but grew tired of the Ontario winter.
"I hated it. It was too cold and I got sick," Fiorillo said, recounting how he eventually wound up back in Miami.
The Ferrari girlfriend, Diminno, also went to Toronto with him, Fiorillo said. Circuit Judge Ilona Holmes said outside the jury's presence that she is a Canadian citizen and has refused to leave her home country to participate in the Florida case. The judge said Canada's government has been unwilling to produce her as a witness because of its opposition to the death penalty. She has not been charged with any crime.
"Canada is not interested in securing her as a witness because the death penalty is on the table," Holmes said.
Boulis, who was 51 when he died, founded the Miami Subs restaurant chain and operated the SunCruz Casinos gambling fleet. Prosecutors have said he was killed during a power struggle that erupted after he sold SunCruz in 2000 to New York businessman Adam Kidan and his partner, former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Boulis had kept a 10 percent stake and hoped to regain control of the lucrative fleet.
Kidan and Abramoff pleaded guilty to fraud in the $147.5 million SunCruz deal and both did stretches in federal prison. Kidan is expected to testify later in the Boulis murder trial and Abramoff is on the defense witness list. Abramoff also was the main figure in a Washington bribery scandal that resulted in 21 convictions on various corruption charges.
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