US District Judge Jack Weinstein also granted a new trial to the defendants, Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa, on money laundering and drug charges.
Defence lawyers had argued the five-year statute of limitations had expired on the most serious allegations against the pair – that they committed or facilitated eight killings between 1986 and 1990 while on the payroll of both the New York Police Department and Luchese crime family underboss Anthony “Gaspipe” Casso.
Prosecutors had countered that the murders were part of an ongoing conspiracy that lasted through a 2005 drug deal with an FBI informant.
In a 77-page ruling, Judge Weinstein agreed with a jury that Eppolito and Caracappa were guilty of murder, kidnapping and other crimes, but he said the law compelled him to set aside the verdict.
There is no statute of limitations on murder in the state of New York, but the men were prosecuted at the federal level because of the higher likelihood of a conviction for racketeering.
Eppolito, 57, whose father was a member of the Gambino crime family, and the 64-year-old Caracappa were convicted in April in what was considered one of the worst cases of police corruption in New York history.
“It’s exactly what we argued during the trial,” said Edward Hayes, Caracappa’s trial lawyer. “I am very happy for my client, and I do feel it is a vindication of our trial strategy.”
Genovese crime head arrested
In the latest blow to New York City’s most powerful Mafia family, the US Attorney’s Office says the alleged head of the Genovese crime family’s South Florida ring and six others have been arrested.
Renaldi “Ray” Ruggiero, whom prosecutors identified as a capo or captain of the family’s operations in South Florida, has appeared in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, along with six co-defendants, charged with extortion, robbery, money laundering and other acts of racketeering as far back as 1994.
The family’s reputed acting boss, Liborio S “Barney” Bellomo, and 31 others were arrested in February in New York on a host of charges including murder.
If convicted under the racketeering charges, Ruggiero could face up to 120 years in prison and fines of up to $A2.37 million.