- Associated Press - Friday, March 13, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) - A former electrician convicted more than a decade ago of murdering his girlfriend’s multimillionaire husband argued Friday that he should get a new trial.

Attorney Richard Mischel told a New York appeals court that Daniel Pelosi’s conviction in the bludgeoning death of Ted Ammon was tainted by prosecutorial misconduct and the release of secret grand jury material.

The sensational 2001 case attracted national headlines and prompted a made-for-television movie; after the killing, the Long Island construction worker married Ammon’s wife, Generosa, and later moved into the home where Ammon was killed.

Pelosi is serving a 25-year sentence.

Mischel alleged that Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Janet Albertson prejudiced the jury by demonizing Pelosi because of a “personal animus” for him after it was revealed that Pelosi had threatened Albertson and her children. Pelosi later pleaded guilty to making the threats.



Mischel contended the prosecutor’s hostility toward Pelosi influenced her questioning, and that she had “baited” Pelosi when he took the witness stand in his own defense.

“This was nothing short of a mugging, a courtroom mugging,” Mischel said. Albertson did not immediately respond to a request for comment through the DA’s office, but Assistant District Attorney Thomas Costello, who is handling the appeals case, said she was “well within the bounds of prosecutorial conduct.”

Mischel also argued that prosecutors should not have released the testimony of two witnesses who testified before the grand jury.

Ammon, who made his fortune working on corporate takeovers in the 1980s and ‘90s, ran the private equity firm Chancery Lane Capital and was chairman of Jazz at Lincoln Center. He had homes in London and Manhattan, along with the Long Island mansion where he was killed.

Pelosi disregarded the advice of his attorneys to testify in his own defense, offering up what Albertson later called “disastrous testimony.”

Pelosi claimed he was 40 miles away, driving around with a buddy looking to buy beer, at the time Ammon was slain. Jurors said after the verdict that Pelosi came off like a con man.

Pelosi was having an affair with Ammon’s estranged wife, Generosa, at the time of the murder. They were introduced a year earlier when he was hired to work on a renovation project at her Manhattan townhouse.

The 52-year-old victim was struck more than 30 times in the head with a blunt object and suffered numerous broken bones and stun gun injuries. Prosecutors said Pelosi killed the millionaire because he was upset over Generosa Ammon’s share of a $46 million divorce settlement. Pelosi testified they both believed Ammon was hiding a fortune worth hundreds of millions.

Generosa Ammon died of cancer in August 2003.

Costello said there is “overwhelming evidence” of Pelosi’s guilt, saying he was also the only person familiar with the security system at the East Hampton house.

It was not clear when the appeals court would rule after Friday’s proceeding.

___

Associated Press Writer Frank Eltman in Mineola, N.Y., contributed to this report.

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