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Mar 13, 2015 8:47 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Oral Arguments In Daniel Pelosi Appeal Of Murder Conviction Set For Friday

Mar 17, 2015 4:24 PM

A panel of appeals court judges heard arguments on Friday that the 2004 murder conviction of Daniel Pelosi should be thrown out because a prosecutor’s criticisms and personal reflections on the defendant’s character during his trial may have biased the jury.

A lawyer for Mr. Pelosi, the Center Moriches man convicted of killing wealthy financier Ted Ammon at his East Hampton Village vacation home in 2001, argued in a Brooklyn courtroom on Friday morning that the jury should not have heard the sort of subjective assessments of Mr. Pelosi and his actions that were sprinkled throughout then-Assistant District Attorney Janet Albertson’s questioning and summation during the five-week trial in a Riverhead courtroom in 2004.

The arguments, before the four-judge panel of the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division, took just over 15 minutes.

Mr. Pelosi’s appeal was presented by Manhattan attorney Richard Mischel. Assistant District Attorney Thomas Costello presented the D.A.’s office’s defense of the conviction.

It typically takes four to six months after oral arguments are made for the Appellate Court to issue a ruling.

The appeal, filed by Mr. Mischel in August 2013, seeks to vacate the conviction and calls for a retrial of Mr. Pelosi based on prosecutorial misconduct during his trial.

Mr. Mischel argued that Ms. Albertson prejudiced the jury in the Pelosi trial during cross-examination by demonizing Mr. Pelosi to the jury.

According to the appeal filed by Mr. Mischel, when cross-examining Mr. Pelosi, Ms. Albertson would interject her own opinion into the questions, saying things like it “must’ve been his lucky day” when Ms. Ammon was diagnosed with cancer, repeatedly emphasizing that she was terminally ill and dying while Mr. Pelosi was out “gambling away her fortune.”

“Like when Generosa was home dying of cancer, [Ms. Albertson said that] Mr. Pelosi was in Las Vegas and Atlantic City with his friends, gambling away their money,” Mr. Mischel said in an interview with The Press last month. “Things like that are unnecessary. Either the evidence is there to convict or it isn’t. To play on collateral issues that will not only engender hostility or bias or anger in an effort to get a conviction—that isn’t a way the game is played.”

The appeal also argues that the witnesses in the case were not credible and that there was no physical evidence to tie Mr. Pelosi to the murder.

Mr. Ammon was found dead in the bedroom of his Middle Lane home on October 20, 2001, the victim of a severe beating and repeated shocks with a stun gun. He and his wife, Generosa Ammon, were in the midst of divorce proceedings and a child custody battle. During that time, Mrs. Ammon and Mr. Pelosi had begun an intimate relationship and later married following the death of Mr. Ammon.

In December 2004, Mr. Pelosi was convicted of murder in the second degree, New York’s most serious premeditated murder charge. He was sentenced in January 2005 to 25 years to life in prison, which he is currently serving in Great Meadow Correctional Facility in Washington County. He will be eligible for parole in 2031.

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