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Alleged mobbed-up cop killer goes to trial

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Opening arguments began for a gangster accused of gunning down a Sheepshead Bay cop in 1997 — a bloodthirsty mobster that was incredibly good at covering up his tracks, federal prosecutors explained as they outlined their case against Thomas “Tommy Shots” Gioeli.

“Gioeli literally got away with murder for years because, as professional killers, that was their speciality,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Cristina Posa told the anonymous jury on Monday in her opening arguments, claiming that Gioeli and his associates gunned down Police Officer Ralph Dols in Sheepshead Bay back in 1997 after he married a fellow mobster’s ex-wife.

Prosecutors claim that Gioeli and associate Dino “Little Dino” Saracino, who is being tried alongside the 59-year-old suspect, killed Dols after opening fire on the off-duty cop as he left the apartment he shared with Kimberly Kennaugh, the ex-wife of then-Colombo acting boss Joel Cacace.

Cacace ordered the hit against Dols — even though he was a NYPD housing cop — because he felt disrespected that his ex-wife was sleeping with a police officer, Posa told the jury.

Gioeli is facing life in prison for killing six people, including Dols. Saracino is accused of murdering Dols and two others.

Former members of Gioeli’s crew of killers are expected to testify against their former boss as the trial proceeds this week.

Yet Gioeli’s attorneys claim that the evidence against their client is thin at best.

The FBI is desperate to pin something on Gioeli and has begun working with a cooperating witness with every reason to lie, defense attorney Carl Herman told the jury.

All drawn out

Three federal judges charged with redrawing Brooklyn’s congressional lines issued their court-drawn revisions on Monday, finishing a redistricting process that they said took a federal lawsuit to kick into high gear.

“New York has been willing to let even the last minute pass and to abdicate the whole of its redistricting power to a reluctant federal court,” the judges wrote as they handed in their final revisions, which still need to be reviewed by the Justice Department to make sure they don’t disenfranchise minority voters.

The judges said they were stunned by the realization that it took them less than a month to put together redistricting maps that the state legislature “have been unable, or unwilling, to provide New York State voters in more than a year.”

With congressional primaries being moved up to June 26, and with the Assembly and the state Senate failing to hammer out a congressional redistricting map they can both be satisfied with, a coalition of voters and political watchdog groups sued Albany in federal court, claiming that the partisan politics being played at the state capitol was violating voters’ civil rights.

Brooklyn federal Judge Dora Irizarry sided with the voters, ordering that a U.S. Magistrate Judge Roanne Mann determine just how the lines are drawn.

Mann handed over his revised maps to the three judge panel last week, who reviewed and approved his new district lines — a day before they were due.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit were happy that the federal judges took charge of the situation, according to their attorneys Richard Mancino and Daniel Burnstein.

Judge Mann’s maps changed Brooklyn’s congressional landscape quite a bit: it expanded Republican Rep. Michael Grimm’s district further into Southern Brooklyn and ensured that Democrat Ed Towns’s district would stretch from Canarsie into Bergen Beach, Mill Basin, and Marine Park.

The changes also booted Republican Rep. Bob Turner, who won disgraced Rep. Anthony Weiner’s seat in a surprise upset last year, out of the borough.

Reach reporter Thomas Tracy at ttracy@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2525.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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