March 23, 1995 in Nation/World

O.J. Case Takes A Weird Spin

Associated Press
 

Two convicted murderers filed for retrial Wednesday because Anthony Fiato, a key prosecution witness and shadowy mob informer, emerged from hiding in a public relationship with Nicole Brown Simpson’s sister.

The Superior Court retrial motion was filed by attorney Barry Levin on behalf of Ronald Coe and Alan Betts, who were convicted Feb. 3 of killing tough-guy actor Frank Christi in a murder-for-hire scheme.

“These actions by Mr. Fiato, placing him in the public eye via a high-profile relationship and posing for photographers in a public place, contradict claims made by the prosecution at trial,” Levin said.

During the trial, Levin said, authorities claimed “the disclosure of even the slightest detail of his whereabouts or his current business would put (Fiato) in danger.”

Prosecutors told jurors that Norman Freedberg hired Coe, Betts and Harvey Rosenberg to kill Christi in 1982 because of a dispute over a woman.

Fiato, a former organized crime enforcer known as “Tony Rome” and “Tony the Animal,” testified for three days that Freedberg tried to hire him to kill Christi but he turned the job down.

Defense lawyers were blocked from delving into Fiato’s background because prosecutors said revealing his whereabouts would endanger the federally protected witness.

© Copyright 1995 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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