The widow of slain celebrity bodyguard Robert DiGiulio and the man accused of killing him want to see government files that may prove he was an FBI informant slain by someone who has never been charged, their attorneys said Friday.
Attorneys for Anita DiGiulio Marvin, accused of arranging her husband's 1985 slaying, and the man charged in the slaying said they are subpoenaing FBI records in hops of proving DiGiulio was an informant and that someone else killed the former bodyguard to Frank Sinatra, boxing champ Larry Holmes and others.
Thomas J. Eoannou and David R. Knoll said they want the files because of remarks by prosecutors and information they have obtained about DiGiulio's possible role as an FBI informant about a decade ago.
"I want to know what information DiGiulio provided (to the government) so I can determine who had a potential motive to kill the guy," Eoannou said.
Knoll said that shortly after DiGiulio was shot, FBI agents told his wife, Anita Marvin, 42, they knew who attacked her husband. But they never told her the name or names of the suspects.
"I don't think there is any question that they know who killed him," Knoll said.
Subpoenas could be issued to the FBI next week, the defense attorneys said.
Jury selection in the murder case is to begin Wednesday before State Supreme Court Justice Frederick M. Marshall who reserved decision Friday on defense motions for separate trials for the two defendants.
Eoannou's client, the imprisoned Luciano Charles "Dilly" Spataro, 57, is charged with murdering DiGiulio, 32, outside the victim's Amherst home early on April 17, 1985. Mrs. Marvin, who remarried, is charged with arranging the fatal shooting.
Mrs. Marvin is free on bail. Spataro is serving an 8 1/3 -to-25-year prison term for drug trafficking and conspiracy in the 1986 fatal shooting of his son-in-law, John Pinelli, 24.
Spataro's co-defendant in the Pinelli slaying, government informant William Koopman, 33, who is a key witness in the DiGiulio murder case, may be brought before Marshall for a plea deal Monday, law enforcement sources said.
Prosecutors will ask the judge to drop murder charges and let Koopman plead guilty to first-degree manslaughter, sources said.
In arguing his motion for a separate trial for Mrs. Marvin, Knoll told the judge that Spataro might be willing to testify in Mrs. Marvin's defense, should they be tried separately, and deny they conspired to kill her husband.
Frank J. Clark, first assistant Erie County district attorney, told the judge that if Spataro takes the witness stand, prosecutors will question him about numerous "bad acts" for which he was never arrested, including three or four unsolved local murders.
Eoannou told the judge he isn't sure Spataro really wants to testify in court.
Paul Moskal, an FBI spokesman in Buffalo, said the FBI doesn't comment on informant allegations concerning DiGiulio or anyone else.
"It's the policy of the FBI to never confirm nor deny whether someone has been, is, or will be an informant for us," Moskal said. "We go to great lengths to protect that policy."
Law enforcement sources said the FBI is expected to fight the subpoenaes in State Supreme Court and take the matter before a federal judge if Marshall or another state court judge orders disclosure of any FBI files.
Although The Buffalo News disclosed reports of DiGiulio's alleged informant status Oct. 14, Eoannou said the defense attorneys developed information about DiGiulio's alleged government work. He said prosecutors have also alluded to the informant issue during pretrial proceedings in the murder case.
Clark said local prosecutors have been rebuffed by the FBI on their "formal inquiry" about DiGiulio's alleged informant work.
"I do not know whether he was or whether he wasn't," Clark said.
At the request of Marshall, Clark said he recently "made formal inquiry of the FBI about it, but the FBI would not respond to my inquiry."
Clark said the defense attorneys "have a remedy through the courts" to seek the information about DiGiulio.
"The FBI is not a law unto itself," said Clark, a former federal prosecutor.