Dalia Dippolito testifies, seeks dismissal of murder-for-hire case
WEST PALM BEACH (CBS12) —
Dalia Dippolito, the Boynton Beach woman who made international news over an alleged plot to kill her husband, took the witness stand for the first time on Tuesday.
Dippolito testified she wanted to back out of hiring a hit man to kill her husband, but her ex-lover, turned police informant, threatened her with a gun.
Under cross-examination, Dippolito said the damaging conversation in police videos was all scripted-- to get an acting gig.
Dippolito is charged with arranging the murder of her husband, Michael, through an undercover officer.
The case gained fame from the viral video, posted on YouTube by police, showing Dippolito appearing to cry, after officers staged Michael's death.
Dippolito's attorneys claim Boynton Beach Police violated their own policies regarding informants, and releasing evidence. The defense team claims Dippolito was entrapped, and is asking the judge to dismiss the case.
"Did Mr. Shihadeh ever indicate to you why it is he was upset, and wanted you to follow through?" asked Dippolito attorney Bryan Claypool.
"He said he had gone to the police department (originally), and he was getting a lot of pressure from them, and they were threatening him," said Dippolito.
Prosecutor Craig Williams asked Dippolito about her seemingly damaging conversations recorded by police.
Dippolito said it was all an act. She said she, Shihadeh, even her husband, had scripted the discourse, hoping for an acting gig.
"You had no idea police were recording you guys?" asked Williams.
"No," Dippolito replied. "Mohamed was on an episode of Burn Notice and we were trying to simulate the episode he was on."
"It was a murder-for-hire episode," said Dippolito.
Judge Glenn Kelley gave lawyers until Monday to file any written summaries they wished. Kelley said he would rule after that.
Following the hearing, Dippolito and her attorney, Claypool, addressed the media.
"I'm very thankful for having been given a second opportunity to be able to, you know, come out and finally speak," said Dippolito. "I'm just really hopeful that the judge is going to make the right decision."
Claypool said the focus of the day's hearing should not be the recordings, rather the conduct of police.
"This investigation is a poster child for a lack of any integrity, whatsoever," said Claypool. "Boynton Beach PD wanted a big gig on (the TV show) COPS.
Currently Dippolito's retrial is set for late May. An appeals court threw out her conviction and 20-year sentence, over the way jurors were chosen.
Chief Jeffrey S. Katz issued this statement Tuesday:
"We stand behind the principled work our detectives did on this investigation. We trust in our State Attorney to successfully prosecute this case, and we are confident we have given his office sufficient evidence to meet the State's burden."