Abramoff, ex-partner could give statements in Boulis murder case


Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - 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 murdering 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 County Circuit Judge Michael Kaplan approved the request for subpoenas, which haven't been issued yet.

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. Abramoff and Kidan are scheduled to be sentenced next Wednesday in federal court after pleading guilty earlier this year to fraud charges stemming from the purchase.

The SunCruz purchase is "at the heart" of the murder case, Moscatiello attorney Dave Bogenschutz said in court papers.

As part of their federal plea deals, Abramoff and Kidan are both 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. Those lawyers did not return telephone calls or e-mails seeking comment Friday.

Moscatiello, 67, allegedly has ties to New York's Gambino crime family and worked as a consultant for Kidan at SunCruz. He is charged along with Anthony "Little Tony" Ferrari, 49, and 28-year-old James "Pudgy" Fiorillo in the Boulis killing. All three have pleaded not guilty and could face the death penalty if convicted.

Kaplan was scheduled to hear testimony Friday on a motion by Moscatiello and Fiorillo claiming that the prosecution's case isn't strong enough to warrant keeping them in custody without bail. Ferrari has not joined in that motion.

One former associate of Ferrari's testified in an earlier bond hearing that he was approached by Ferrari and Moscatiello about killing Boulis in 2000, but that he did not do so. Investigators have also testified that records show that cell phones belonging to Ferrari and Fiorillo were within 500 feet of the Boulis murder scene moments after the killing and that one was used to call Moscatiello.

Kidan paid companies linked to Moscatiello about $145,000 while he ran SunCruz. Prosecutors have said they believe Boulis was slain in a battle for control of the gambling fleet because those payments might dry up.

Abramoff, once a prominent Republican lobbyist and political fundraiser, has also pleaded guilty to federal charges in a Washington corruption investigation and agreed to assist prosecutors in that case.

Abramoff and Kidan face prison sentences of just over seven years in the Florida fraud case, but that could be reduced if prosecutors are satisfied with their level of cooperation. The judge overseeing that case has indicated he will not order the pair to report immediately to prison after they are sentenced.