Marguerite Cutolo took the witness stand last week to point an accusing finger at reputed Colombo Crime Family boss Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico (right), according to a story by John Marzulli and Corky Siemaszko of the New York Daily News.
Mrs. Cutolo stepped out of the witness protection program in order to testify in the retrial of Persico and former Colombo underboss John DeRoss for the murder of her husband, William "Wild Bill" Cutolo. She had entered witness protection in 2001.
On the stand last week, she stated that her husband was on his way to meet Persico in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, on May 26, 1999, when she last saw him. Cutolo has been missing since that date and is presumed dead.
On cross examination, defense attorneys suggested that William Cutolo is still alive and that the Cutolos have hidden as much as $2.7 million in loanshark earnings. Mrs. Cutolo admitted to possessing $1.65 million in cash at the time of her husband's disappearance. She said government officials were aware of the money and allowed her to keep it to take care of her children.
She denied the defense assertion that William Cutolo remains alive, according to a story by Selim Algar of the New York Post. "My husband never ran away," she said. "...I'm appearing here for my husband, for his death."
Mrs. Cutolo did not testify when Persico and DeRoss were first tried for the murder last year. That trial ended in a hung jury.
Prosecutors charge that Persico waited six years after a ceasefire in a bloody Colombo Crime Family civil war to eliminate his rival for power, William Cutolo (left). "The Colombo war never really ended, at least not in the minds of men like Alphonse Persico," Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Goldberg said in his opening statement on Nov. 6.
Defense attorney Sarita Kedia countered, "There is not a single piece of evidence to prove to you that Billy Cutolo is even dead."