The retrial of a Florida woman accused of paying an undercover cop $7,000 to kill her husband got underway on Wednesday with opening statements and the prosecution also started putting on evidence in its case. LawNewz.com is carrying a livestream of the trial that can be watched when court is in session, above.
Dalia Dippolito was captured on cameras during the television show “Cops” paying an undercover officer, but she says the entire thing was set up by “a corrupt department” to impress the producers of the television show.
The incident occurred in 2009 and she was convicted at her first trial in 2011 and sentenced to 20-years in prison for solicitation to commit first-degree murder with a firearm. However, an appeals court overturned her conviction in 2014 and granted her a new trial.
Despite multiple motions filed by the defense team that asked Judge Glenn Kelley to select jurors from a different county due to pretrial publicity, the judge ultimately decided sufficient safeguards were in place to ensure a fair jury could be picked.
Both sides were finally able to settle on a jury consisting of five women and three men — six jurors and two alternates. Florida is one of only a small number of states that does not require 12-person jury all in criminal cases.
After opening statements, the prosecution began their case by playing a number of recordings of conversations captured in 2009 they say occurred between Dippolito and her then-lover, a man who was also working as a confidential police informant.
According to prosecutors, Dippolito can be heard on one of the recordings expressing a desire to see her then-husband killed. She is also accused of handing over $1,200 to a man under the impression it would serve as a downpayment for the “hit” on her husband.
Dippolito’s defense attorney, Brian Claypool, prepared jurors for this type of evidence during his opening statement earlier in the day, suggesting it was all part of a scheme manufactured by a “corrupt police department.” Claypool argued “rogue police department” wanted to set up his client and hoped to gain “fame and notoriety” through the “Cops” TV show.
There were also some fireworks in the courtroom on Wednesday outside of the presence of the jury.
Dippolito’s defense team accused the prosecutor of making “inappropriate comments” in his opening statement and requested a mistrial, which was denied by the judge. A bit later, the prosecutor turned the tables and accused Claypool (a defense lawyer) of making a “knowing misrepresentation” to the jury about certain evidence in the case.
The back and forth continued throughout the day between the defense attorneys and the prosecution, and it eventually caused Judge Kelly to say enough is enough. He issued a stern warning to both sides, “Stop bickering, act professionally, or there will be sanctions.”
The trial is expected to resume on Thursday morning with the prosecution continuing to present evidence in favor of its side of the case.
Be sure to stick with LawNewz.com throughout the entire trial for the latest information and analysis form out team of legal experts.
[image via screengrab]