tv 2020 ABC May 17, 2019 9:00pm-11:00pm PDT
i begged the poor for years to give my son a fair trial. >> i want my name clear. one of the worst parts an about this is people thinking i'm a murderer. >> he came in the city. >> a college football player is dead. >> now police say they captured his killer. >> they say he is guilty. he looks at me and he said mom, what are they going to me? and they knew he was innocent. >> she is starting to think, how can i fix this? she has a one-woman sting operation. >> she came up with an idea she could investigate the jurors, if
they have misconduct. >> you call them the target. you are talking to him with a recording device on your body. >> between my boobs. >> you spent hours and hours on the street corner. >> he was talking about blonds. he liked blonds. i decided to go really blond. >> i was willing to look like a prostitute with a six-six and a push-up branchts you could have done whatever it took. >> yes. >> if it meant that. >> tonight police are trying to figure out who murdered a college student. >> on the streets of brooklyn, w york. mark fisher was young, he was tall, he was an up and coming football player at his university and he came to the city for fun.
>> mark fisher was a kid from new jersey and lived in an affluent suburb. he went to fairfield university in connecticut. >> he was a terrific student. he was a terrific athlete. he earned a scholarship to college. >> and he's with his friends from college. >> started at some bars in the upper east side, did some bar hopping. >> and by coincidence, they run into a girl he knows from school, and this girl named angel has her friend meredith with her. and meredith and mark look at each other, and immediately the little hearts come flying out of their eyes. and it's a crush at first sight. >> mark had come to the city with a large contingent of his friends, but once he met meredith, he was very smitten
with her. she was smitten with him. >> and he gets separated from his friends, in part, because he's entranced by this girl, meredith. and sparks fly and he follows her out of this bar and into this impromptu party that's happening in brooklyn. >> the clubs close at maybe, like 2:00, 3:00 in the morning so they all hopped in a cab and went to brooklyn to hang out for the after party. >> it's arguably the first time he's been alone in the city. >> so going to a club in manhattan and hanging out with people in new york city was a big deal. and then for the after party being in brooklyn, that's, like, a whole other world for him. >> there are indications early that mark isn't ready for this kind of adventure. he runs out of money almost immediately. he loses his cell phone. he was a stranger in a strange land, and he doesn't speak the language. >> and it was in brooklyn that something went terribly wrong. >> it's not even a party.
it's a gathering of kids who are trying to figure out what to do after the bars shut down. it's at the home of a neighborhood guy named john giuca. >> i was a social butterfly. i was very gregarious, and i was always talking to people, and i liked being in crowds. >> tell me your first impression of mark fisher. >> to tell the truth, we -- he just had a personality that was likeable? i thought he was cool, and that's it. >> was he intoxicated? >> yeah, he was drunk. >> were you? >> yes. >> this was an impromptu party, this was not something that was planned, this was something that just happened. >> why was it decided to go to john giuca's house? >> his mom was away. he had a big house. it was like the easy choice. >> there was a few kids that got stranded in manhattan and had no place to go. and he figured he'll bring them here to my house, get some beers. >> drinking. >> drinking. i'm sure they were smoking also. >> smoking weed?
>> yes. >> and yet, that impromptu party turned into, perhaps, one of the biggest mistakes of his life. >> oh, yeah. yeah, absolutely. >> john giuca is a brooklyn kid. by all accounts, you know, very smart. he had gone to john jay college with aspirations of becoming a police officer. he got a part as an extra in a movie. >> he's in "school of rock." you can't miss him. his head fill the screen for a moment. >> i guess you could say he was a fairly charismatic young man, he did have a group of friends who looked up to him. >> we used to call him shady because he had bleached blonde hair, just like eminem at the time. >> these kids are sitting around drinking, smoking weed and antonio russo, a neighborhood kid. >> he was known in the community
for his stylish dreadlocks. he'd wore them for years. >> was sort of known to cops in the area for some drug dealing and came to the party. >> he was a bit of a wildcard. boisterous, loud, always trying to prove himself. he loved to fight. >> as he got older he became more of a loose cannon. >> he was one of those guys that, you know, you can have him over, have a good time. until something pops off, he's going to punch you in the face. >> just a young kid, i guess, like knucklehead. >> was there any tension between antonio russo and mark fisher that night? >> no, not that i saw. >> russo calls him yarmulke. i guess it was supposed to be, thinks he's jewish. >> somebody said the night of the party that he called mark fisher "yarmulke." >> well, he was always a jokester, and he would just say random, stupid things like that. but i didn't catch that that night. but i'm not surprised that he would've said something like that. >> you have the idea that mark fisher, who was very tall,
was very handsome, was perhaps attracting a little bit too much female attention. >> there wasn't any jealousy or rivalry or -- >> no, i wasn't attracted to meredith, at all. >> and there wasn't, like, an alpha male thing going on? >> no, not one bit. we were drunk and happy, actually. >> it's said that at one point, he ticks off some of the people who were in the house by sitting on a table. >> and one of the other partygoers says, "hey, in brooklyn we sit in chairs." >> i'm the one who told him that, "hey, you know, don't sit on the table, you're gonna break it." it was like literally just like all glass table. like, sit on the couch. he said, "okay." but that was it. it wasn't a confrontation. it wasn't i didn't say it to him like, in a, you know, confrontational way. >> in brooklyn, like in a lot of cities it's all about respect.
and sitting on one's table, versus a chair, could easily be construed as being disrespectful. >> after that, you know, tensions are a little bit higher. >> what about this idea that oh, he was a freeloader, and there was some anger that he was drinking and, you know, doing stuff without paying for it? >> i wasn't even thinking about money at the time. if i was worried about that, i wouldn't have invited people to my house. >> the night finally comes to an end. >> at what time did you leave, do you remember? 5:00, anywhere from like 5:15 to 5:30, and when i left, i started feeling like, kind of like the fifth wheel, i guess. so i was like, "all right, i'm outta here," you know. >> sometime around dawn, john giuca says he basically kicked mark fisher out of the house. >> night's over, party's over." to get out. >> mark fisher heads out into the brooklyn dawn, and he doesn't know that he only has minutes to live. >>e' next seen dead.
>> tonight police are trying to f figure out -- >> he was shot five times and he was dumped right there in front of a home. >> mark fisher was young, he was tall, he was an up and coming football player at his university and he came to the city for fun. he just wanted to have a good time, and he ends up dead in brooklyn. and that's shocking to parents and that's shocking to the good sensibilities of americans everywhere. we were made to move, from the dawn of time. we ran, hunted and explored. and some 10,000 years later, we got lazy and crawled right back into our caves. so to all you neanderthals: move more! live more! it's what you were made for. degree motionsense. made to move.
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and relief from symptoms caused by over 200 indoor non-drowsy claritin and outdoor allergens. like those from buddy. live claritin clear. for one week only, save up to $18 on select claritin products. check this sunday's newspaper for details. everybody has a great story to tell, and our job as producers is to help pull that story out. my name is taylor, and i am a producer for tv and podcasts. the whole production is on my surface laptop. it's very powerful, and just speeds up your whole day. i always have at least 4 or 5 programs open on my computer. i do need to be able to work everywhere. 16+ hour days are pretty common, so i need a long battery life. it feels weird to be on this side of the camera for sure. [laughs]
tonight, police are trying to figure out who murdered a 19-year-old college student. mark fisher from new jersey was shot dead on a brooklyn street over the weekend. >> what was unusual on this particular case is that this particular homicide was in an area in that precinct that was not necessarily prone to violence. an area of victorian homes, there was some people perhaps of privilege. >> gunfire in that particular brooklyn neighborhood wasn't an
everyday occurrence. >> it was one of those that makes a splash here in new york. >> "the new york times," "the post," "the daily news," the local tv stations, there wasn't a news organization that did not cover this murder. >> "the daily news" and "the post" addressed in shorthand as "the grid kid slay." that's shorthand for college football player comes to the city, ends up dead somehow in brooklyn. >> once the murder gets a nickname in the press, you know it's going to last. it's going to have staying power, and they stuck with it. for weeks, it was on the front pages. >> i cry and i just say "why?" i mean it doesn't make sense to me. why would somebody do this to him. i mean, he was such a good person. >> at 6:40 a.m. on sunday, officers, answering a call about shots fired, discovered mark fisher's body along argyle road in prospect park south. he'd been shot five times.
>> there was a report of shots fired at that hour, and that's when the 911 calls come in. police are called to the area and that's where fisher's body is found. >> he's found shot dead. he's been shot five times. >> detectives came. they're knocking on doors. they're asking people for, you know, information. what did they see? what did they hear? >> they have to piece it together and to see who was where, what was this. >> i heard shots, looked out, didn't see anything. laid back down. heard some car doors closing, but didn't think anything of it. >> some people said they heard a car screeching by, a white car. some people said they heard a man and a woman having a conversation before the shots were fired. >> what's always been somewhat mysterious to me about the
911 calls is the fact that at least one of the callers very clearly stated that he heard a female voice. >> witnesses that night say they heard a distinct female's voice coming from across the street. >> right before they heard the five gunshots. >> when police check mark fisher's body, they find an atm receipt in his pocket. just about an hour before he died, he went to a convenience store and took out 20 bucks, and at 5:25 a.m. and went back to the party. the key detail who goes to the atm with him? antonio russo. >> the wallet was missing from mark fisher's body. so that created the suspicion that it was a robbery. >> the 19-year-old's body was found wrapped in a blanket at the end of the driveway there at that home, argyle road. >> he was laying face down, and there was something lying next to him.
i think it looked like a blanket or something like that. >> he's still got this blanket that is under him in a way that led cops to believe that perhaps he had been rolled up in the blanket or carried out in the blanket and dumped. >> mark fisher was found laying on top of what turned out to be your blanket. >> yes. >> what do you make of that? >> you know, mark fisher fell asleep on the sofa, and there was a throw blanket in the back. so he covered himself with the blanket, and then in the morning when he was leaving, he took the blanket with him. >> the blanket found with the body came from the giuca home. that becomes a critical starting point for investigators. >> at some point, the police figure out that the victim was mark fisher. and they figure out that he was in this neighborhood, not where the crime scene was but blocks
away at a party. so they start to make their way to john guica's house to find out what exactly happened at this party. >> when you found out that it was mark fisher, this guy that you'd been partying with hours before ends up dead, what was your reaction? >> shocked. kinda like, a weird feeling in your stomach. you know? like, "oh, wow." >> you got a call? >> i got a call from john. >> and what did he say? >> he said, "ma, you need to come home." and i said, "is everything okay?" and he said, "you need to come." >> and so you get home, frantic. what's the scene here? >> the press was on my lawn. >> already? >> yeah, and detectives were on my porch. >> john was a mess. he cried. he said mark fisher was a good guy, and he was devastated. >> in the immediate aftermath of the killing, the authorities
were having trouble getting much information from people who were at this party. people weren't being particularly cooperative. >> when the police start asking those who may have been at this party or were alleged to have been at the party, all of a sudden nobody knows anything. >> to get closure on this was extremely difficult because of the lack of cooperation and indeed intimidation on the part of some of the people involved in this. >> it was very frustrating early on, i think because we were unaccustomed to seeing that kind of coordinated coverup. what we ran into was in the first 48 hours was a -- locating people who made themselves scarce, and then when we did find them, finding out that they had no intention of helping us to begin with. >> instead of trying to do everything they could to help solve the murder of mark fisher, they lawyer up and thumb their noses at the police. it's a little bit shocking.
>> it's sickening to me. i don't know how people could live with their consciences. >> they spent an entire night with this person who's now dead, riddled with bullets, and the first thing they're going to do is lawyer up? >> the pressure that was put on my family was horrendous. >> it was very frustrating for police, for prosecutors in the brooklyn da's office. >> they don't like to be stumped. . we built the fastest network for the latest iphones. and the iphone xr, with a retina display that makes everything look incredible. it's like the perfect couple-you know, the ones who look great in every picture. like the ones who always make me feel like a before photo. zoey and chris. hey guys! hey, zoey and chris! how fun is that? at&t has the fastestnetwork for the latest iphones. get the mindblowing iphone xr on us when you buy the latest iphone. at&t. more for your thing. that's our thing. rockewith an extra 15% off! savings at kohl's!...
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comcast business. beyond fast. mark fisher, he was shot five times in the chest. the 19-year-old's body was found wrapped in a blanket at the end of the driveway there at that home, argyle road. >> the college athlete started his night at this east side bar in manhattan with a group of other college students. >> a few of them get together.
they decide to go back to brooklyn and then mark is shot five times two blocks away from the house. >> mark fisher's body is found in close proximity, almost in front of the house of albert cleary, who was one of the other partygoers. and albert cleary had left early that morning with one of the females that was at the party and they went and slept at his house. >> this became a high profile media case. but it also seemed like a solvable case. it seemed like someone who was with him must have known something. >> reporter: tony russo, a high school dropout was always the prime suspect. >> this fellow by the name of antonio russo, otherwise known as tweed, he's a dreadlocked male. he's known to be a marijuana dealer. and he's also known to be a bit of a troublemaker.
>> immediately after the murder, antonio russo is in a little bit of a panic. he goes to a friend of his who cuts hair and has his dreadlocks cut off. >> and then he travels to california to visit an uncle, little bit impromptu. >> if you're at a party where at the end of it there's a murder and you change your look and then you hop on a plane to go to california, obviously police are gonna wonder like, "well, what do you know? what happened?" >> john giuca was somebody that was not immediately on our radar, but he was somebody that the more and more we looked into him, and the more we asked around, and the more we did our homework, he clearly was not a choir boy. >> john is no angel, but he has a big heart for people, especially those less fortunate. >> but before he flew off to l.a., antonio russo drops a little nugget with the detectives.
he said that john guica group gang called the ghetto mafia. >> what you had here was friends from a neighborhood who fancied themselves as young mobsters and they even had a name, ghetto mafia or gm. >> giuca was said to be something of a big figure, a capo if you will, in this organization, powerful enough to the point where when he gave a supposed order to take care of mark fisher, others listened. >> it was something that was totally blown out of proportion, and i don't know, you know, it was never a serious -- i'm not in -- i was never in a gang, and everyone who knows me knows that. >> i didn't give much credence to that term, the ghetto mafia, there was several instances where that terminology came up. we never investigated this case, or at least initially, i don't think we looked at it as a gang motivated crime. >> it was just a group of friends, it was like different neighborhood kids that would hang out. >> did you commit crimes together? >> no. >> that was such a joke. i watched these boys grow up.
and from 9 years old they were first the westminster warriors. maybe about 11 they became the stratford stray cats. and then eventually they did call themselves the ghetto mafia. they did. and it meant nothing but a bunch of boys getting together. >> and so when that was brought up as a motive for the potential killing, that they were trying to get street cred by either robbing, or beating, or -- >> or getting a body, as the prosecutor said. >> what did you make of that theory? >> again, it's ridiculous. >> so there's a lot of smoke around antonio russo and john giuca but as far as the detectives can tell, there's no fire. nothing to really tie them to this shooting, no dna, no fingerprints. >> the pressure that was put on my family for over a year was horrendous.i recaoming down my
block with loudspeakers. >> if you have any information in regards to the murder of mr. mark fisher. >> the press was out on my lawn night after night. it was -- it was bad. >> and meanwhile the months are clicking by and there has been no arrest. >> this is very galling for detectives, and also very galling for the hierarchy of the nypd. they didn't like to be stumped, and they don't like to have cases go unsolved, particularly homicides. >> so, at this point now the prosecutors in brooklyn have stepped into the investigation as well. so now you have what you call an investigative grand jury. >> a grand jury can be used as an investigative tool. basically can subpoena witnesses and say you have to come here and tell us and now you're under oath and that can be a game changer. >> you can go into the grand jury and lie your head off, and
then you'll be indicted for perjury, maybe several counts. or you get cute and be evasive, we'll indict you for evasive contempt. >> so now these witnesses who didn't want to speak before, their backs are against the wall. and they now have to tell what they didn't want to tell the nypd. they have to tell a grand jury. >> the grand jury brought up charges, and then we were sort of off to the races. >> a college football star found dead, more than a year without an arrest and now police say they've captured his killer. >> things started to finally fall. took more than a year. >> in november of 2004, 13 months after the murder, antonio russo is arrested. >> one of russo's first comments after he's arrested is, "are you going to arrest the others as well?" and they say, "well, who do you mean?"
and he goes, "oh, no. nevermind." >> the root of this -- and there's much much more to it -- was the robbery as probably the underlying motive. >> the police commissioner in the news conference a little while ago he said he hopes the arrest today brings some measure of peace to the family. i. >> it's hard. mixed feelings. like i say, hopefully mr. hynes say more arrest to be follow. >> one month later, in december, while he's returning from christmas shopping, john giuca is arrested as well. >> wb-11 exclusively inside brooklyn supreme court as 20-year-old murder suspect john giuca face murder charges related to the death of connecticut college student mark fisher. >> it was a big deal for the fisher family. they were ecstatic. they were happy that finally they can get justice for their son. >> none of us had any expectation of getting indictments for homicide. we got very, very lucky.
>> did you give antonio russo the gun that night? >> no. >> did you put him up to it? >> absolutely not. >> so you believe the police arrested the wrong man? >> i know they arrested the wrong man. i know it. >> she's already probably starting to think, "how can i fix this? how can i fix this? how can i fix this?" little things can be a big deal. that's why there's otezla. otezla is not a cream. it's a pill that treats plaque psoriasis differently. with otezla, 75% clearer skin is achievable. don't use if you're allergic to otezla. it may cause severe diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. otezla is associated with an increased risk of depression. tell your doctor if you have a history of depression or suicidal thoughts or if these feelings develop. some people taking otezla reported weight loss. your doctor should monitor your weight and may stop treatment. upper respiratory tract infection and headache may occur. tell your doctor about your medicines and if you're pregnant or planning to be. ready to treat differently with a pill? otezla. show more of you.
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you have two juries. you have the potential for two verdicts. >> there is no drama like courtroom drama because all the players are in the same room. and you can cut the tension with a knife. >> mark fisher's parents were fixtures in the courtroom, every single day. >> my impression throughout the trial was one of sadness. they were very subdued and somber. >> john giuca's mom and his stepdad are there. and mom, like no other mother ever, has gone to bat for her son. she thinks he's falsely accused. >> the truth will set him free. >> john guica had supporters, and you would see them wearing t-shirts that said, "free john guica." >> you sat in the courtroom every day. >> yes. >> what was that like? >> it was terrible. it was awful. one lie after the other after the other. >> was there any forensic evidence linking your son to the murder?
>> zero. zero. this case was on testimony only. he said, she said. testimony only. >> this case was built largely on circumstantial evidence and statements from witnesses who were at one point very shifty. >> representing the prosecution was someone, a young prosecutor at the time, named anna-sigga nicolazzi. >> how many people did you interview? >> over 100. well over 100. >> nicolazzi was one of the stars of the office. >> this prosecutor is very articulate. she's a very strong prosecutor. she makes a powerful impression on the jury. >> some of the evidence presented to the jury involved phone records. >> we did probably over 150 subpoenas for phone records. >> those records show, just three minutes before the murder, antonio russo called john giuca.
>> the phone records show that before the murder, you talked to antonio russo twice. after the murder, you talked to him 26 times. >> uh-huh. >> can you talk about why? >> i can't, but i can say this. at any -- any time there's any major activity in anyone's life, there's gonna be more phone calls. that's just a fact. >> one of the things that made this case so powerful was that you had his longtime friend, one of his best friends, testifying against him. >> al cleary is a guy from brooklyn, ends up being one of the last guys to leave the party. and he's a key figure in this case. >> al cleary got up on the witness stand and said huh a .22 pistol, the same caliber -- >> yeah, right, right.
>> albert cleary, who was the prime suspect at first, and he turned into the star witness -- albert cleary was caught in numerous lies. he changed his story, and the body was found 50 feet away from his house. >> and he also said that you gave antonio russo the gun and told him to show mark what's up. >> that's so ridiculous. i can't even -- that's not my vocabulary. i don't -- that's just not true. >> several months before the murder, giuca was allegedly involved in a dispute and fired a gun in the street. even though he pled guilty, he claims it was just fireworks. >> did you ever own a gun? >> no. >> have you ever fired a gun? >> no. >> you've never shot a weapon? >> no. no. my mother used to snoop through all my stuff. i couldn't have anything in the house without her finding it. i'm serious. >> so, it's also interesting that in the early days of the investigation, al cleary took a lie detector test, took a polygraph, said he knew nothing about the murder and passed with flying colors. so now he's coming forward and saying, "well, yeah, i did know something about the murder." >> i remember cleary's testimony being incriminating. the question was whether it was all truthful.
>> lauren calciano was john guica's longtime girlfriend. >> she testifies that john giuca told her that antonio russo wanted to rob mark fisher and that giuca gave him the gun to do it. >> that's the testimony that brought me to my knees. and that's always been difficult for me to talk about, because i felt like she was like my daughter. what she did nearly destroyed me. >> it crushes you. it rips your heart out. >> i watched albert cleary testify. then i watched lauren calciano say the complete opposite. their testimony was contradicting each other. so, as a desperate measure, anna-sigga niccolazi called john avitto to the stand to say a complete different version
than the other two. >> he was something of a surprise, yeah. he was something of a surprise. >> this jailhouse informant says that john giuca confesses to pistol whipping mark fisher, and somebody else grabs the gun and shoots him. >> so it puts john giuca right on the scene of the crime. >> the problem is it doesn't match the other two witnesses. and yet, it was presented as, you know, the smoking gun. >> let's talk about the star witness, this so called jailhouse informant. do you remember meeting him here at rikers? >> yeah, i remember meeting him on rikers, and i remember not really associating with him at all. >> and when he got up on the stand and said that you confessed to him -- >> i was so totally shocked. but i thought that the jury would easily be able to see through it. >> they were hooking an important part of their case on the testimony of a surprise
witness who had something of his own checkered past. >> he has a career criminal record. he has bipolar schizophrenia. he has substance abuse problems. john avitto has problems. >> and it was, as we were told, done out of the kindness of his heart. no deal, no rewards from the brooklyn prosecutors. >> and was the testimony consistent? >> absolutely contradictory. they killed mark fisher for $20, was one of them. they killed mark fisher because he sat on a table. and the other one was for the initiation into the so-called gang. >> now we have three versions on what could possibly have happened that the jury has to decide. >> it's almost like a chinese menu. you have to decide on which one to pick from. >> after the prosecution made
its case, it was then the turn of the defense. but, as it turned out, neither the defense for mr. giuca nor for mr. russo opted to call anyone to the stand. they rested their case. that was that. >> what was your reaction to the fact that the jury came back with a verdict in two hours? >> something was wrong. lets talk about haribo goldbears. aloha. i can't stop eating this orange one. the red one is more gooder to me cos it tastes like berries. my bears are like doing cartwheels and back flips and stuff. and then i'm gonna fly it in to my mouth. [all laughing] kids and grown ups love it so ♪ ♪ the happy world of haribo ♪ and for all your favorite gummies in one bag try haribo starmix! ♪ "lullaby" by brahms' ♪ ♪
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know him is to love him. >> she would show up every day amid this crowd of people wearing these t-shirts saying, "free john giuca." she was like a hero to them. and it was in this environment that the fishers would show up each day holding each other, and they would have to walk through this. >> generally the rule of thumb is the longer a jury is out, the better chance you have of an acquittal. but it's only an hour and a half later, and the jury comes back in and says guilty as charged. and john giuca is taken out in handcuffs. >> when the jury comes back so quickly and says the words, "guilty," what went through your mind? >> it was torment. i turned white like a ghost, and i could not believe it.
it was like my brain wouldn't even accept it. i got so angry, and i jumped up, and i said to the detectives that were sitting in the front row, "are you happy now?" i got dragged out by family members. and then, i ended up fainting outside. >> john giuca was convicted after just two hours and antonio russo was convicted after three days. the evidence against giuca warranted a little more consideration by the jury. >> john is found guilty of felony murder and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. that comes as quite a shock to his mother. >> i'm devastated. that doesn't mean i'm gonna give up. i'm never gonna give up. john is innocent. >> and she's already starting to think, "how can i fix this?" she's not gonna stop thinking of that until she comes up with a plan. >> when there is an injustice? fight.
>> in 2006, she came up with this idea that she would investigate the jurors in the case. and if she was able to find some sort of misconduct on the part of the jurors, that this misconduct could then be used to petition for a new trial for her son. >> i was searching for the truth. i wanted to know why they came back with a guilty verdict. why? >> and so to do this, she first of all acquired the list of the names of jurors and then began surveilling them. >> and i decided that i was going to investigate each and every one. >> she has a one-woman sting operation. >> what made you decide to go undercover? >> i knew they had the wrong verdict. so i had to take a closer look at them. and why would you come up with a guilty verdict with absolutely no evidence? >> so after weeks of scouring
the juror questionnaires, she gets a lead. that comes from a friend of john's who had been sitting in the courtroom. >> a mutual friend of john's recognized one of the jurors. so i jumped in my car, and i went to go see him. and i said, "you recognized one of the jurors?" and he said, "yeah, the guy with the baldy head. he comes here to my house. we smoke pot. we hang out." he never met john, but he knew john's friends. the juror, juror number eight, was jason allo. and when i went over the jury questionnaire, he lived in bensonhurst. he was a neighborhood guy. >> although he didn't know john giuca personally, jason allo knew people that knew him, and he knew people that were on the periphery of this case. >> the key point here is less about how much did he know about these people, and more did he intentionally lie to get on the
jury? >> jason allo was a construction worker in brooklyn. >> he also worked as a truck driver and lived with his mothe bensonhurst. >> the fact that he knew other people who knew john giuca, in her mind it meant that he was guilty of juror misconduct. >> initially, i didn't know that it was against the rules. but i said, "okay, so i need to speak to this guy." and that's when i began my undercover work. >> you became your own private investigator. >> i did. oh, that was the worst part. sitting there for hours. it's grueling work. you just can't take your eye off the prize. >> and you called him "the target." >> i did call him "the target." >> you spent hours and hours, basically, on this street corner. >> yeah, yeah, waiting for him to come home from work. i called my investigation "the sting." i started to know his routine,
what time he got off the train, exactly what he did. he got his coffee. he got his cigarettes. he hung out on the corner. and then if he jumped in a car, i followed that car. >> doreen's investigation is incredibly thorough. her job becomes exposing the fallacy that caused her son to go to prison. >> it was a whole year of staking him out. it was horrendous. >> she went to such lengths that at one point she dressed up in a burqa and stood on a street corner in order to eaves drop on a conversation. >> a muslim friend hooked me up with this burqa and said that, "you are actually invisible when you're in this." and you can get up close to anyone you want and eavesdrop. he was talking about blondes. that's when i decided to go really blonde. >> doreen changes her hair color. she puts on spike high heels.
she wears provocative clothes. she changes her name to dee quinn. and she gets her own business cards made up. >> she figured that the best approach would be to create this honey trap situation where she would get the juror to find her attractive. >> you were gonna woo him? >> yeah. i knew i needed to use whatever i could to get him to confess what happened. >> you were wearing lots of makeup. >> lots of makeup. i bought a whole new wardrobe, you know, low-cut blouses, push-up bra, high heels that i had to practice walking in 'cause i wasn't good at it. >> so finally, after months and months of tailing this guy, learning everything about him, she was ready to make her move. >> time was running out.
and i just had to make my move. >> even if it meant taking him to bed? >> of course. of course. the whole production is on my surface laptop. it's very powerful, and just speeds up your whole day. i always have at least 4 or 5 programs open on my computer. i do need to be able to work everywhere. 16+ hour days are pretty common, so i need a long battery life. it feels weird to be on this side of the camera for sure. [laughs] off! familycare provides mosquito protection with a dry formula that's not oily or greasy so you can keep living life your way. off! live on. sc johnson (water -♪spitting sound) our thickest, toughest wipe... tackles any mess.
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do you know with my son sleeps with magazines taped to his chest and back so th so th he's sleeping, if anyone starts to stab him, they will hit the magazines. >> the unbelievable story of a mother trying to get her son out of jail. >> she game the under cover mother. >> she could investigate the jurors in the case. >> you were going to woo him. >> i had my low cut blouse and -- >> she is wear aguirre. >> i neverhod heen i jury. >> armed with what she says is damming recording. >> when you saw the pictures of
your mom in vanity fair -- >> i was like that's not the soccer mom i know. she just wants me home. this is wrong. this is a form of torture. this is psychological torture. there's razor wire everywhere and metal fencing and the gloomy day doesn't help. it definitely has the cold, hard feel of a jail. we just made our way through security, and we're here at the chapel at rikers island. john giuca has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for a murder he says he had nothing to do with. your mom comes here to visit you like clockwork. >> she's my hero. she really is, honestly. she's everything to me. if anything ever happened to her, i would just be totally, like, lost. >> i'm john giuca's mother, doreen quinn giuliano, and i went undercover to prove that my son did not get a fair trial.
i knew that there was something wrong that went on in the jury box. >> after a year of surveillance, after a year of transforming myself into a younger looking woman, a more attractive looking woman, i was ready. i was gonna take the plunge. i knew it was time that we had to meet. >> she would ride up and down allo's block dressed in sexy short shorts. >> and he just didn't notice me. and then, this friend whistled at me. and my heart dropped. i was sick. this is it. and i just turned my bike around, and i said, "hi," and made my move. i had my low cut blouse and my hot pants.
and actually i had high heels on. >> and so you said you were trembling? >> was your heart racing? >> oh, absolutely. yeah, i was stuttering. i started talking to his friend because his friend is the one who actually whistled at me, not him. >> and somehow you knew that if you flirted with the friend you might get his attention? >> i have brothers. five brothers. yeah. >> what was your story? what was your undercover identity? >> i was new to the neighborhood. and i wanted to know where the best coffeehouses were and the best chinese food. and i said i was from california. and they were eager to help me out and show me exactly where was what. and eventually i did turn around and started talking to jason allo, the juror on my son's case. >> the story that doreen giuliano used as her undercover identity was that she was from california, which i
scratch my head when i hear that because hearing her accent. i mean, she like really steep in brooklyn and i don't know who would think that she was from california. >> and so during this entire time you are this california girl. >> yes. >> i grew up in california. so no offense, but you don't sound like you're from california. >> i practiced and practiced and practiced. and then one time he caught on and he said, "you sound like you're from brooklyn." and i said, "i'm taking classes. so they must be working." >> what kind of personality does dee quinn have? >> dumb, dippy blonde. >> there's subtleties and acting skills involved. it's pretty incredible. >> and eventually you hit pay dirt? >> i did. he wanted my phone number and i didn't have a phone yet. so he gave me his phone number. >> and so you struck up a friendship after that? >> i did. jason allo lives with his
mother, and i knew he would not invite me up to his place. so i knew that i would have to invite him to my place. >> she even rents an apartment a block away. >> this is the apartment that i rented. i called it the sting apartment. >> i rented it for $1100 a month for 16 months. >> her apartment was a bare bones affair. so there was a futon for a bed, and a table, a couple of chairs, a spare kitchen, refrigerator barely filled with any food, and it was designed to be a so-called play girl's pad. >> 'cause you wanted a base of operations. >> yeah. a place for him to come to, a place where i can have dinners with and some wine, music, and, you know, see if he knew anything. >> and so then you are drinking wine.
>> so that's another thing, i'm not a drinker. so i really had to sip it. and every time he went into the bathroom or turned his face i dumped it because -- >> so you're pretending to drink wine? >> yeah. i'm the type of person who has two sips and my head is spinning. we had a friendship, and he needed somebody to vent to. and i was there. i was a very good listener. and then don't forget i was providing him with wine, and food. so, you know, he's -- of course he's gonna keep coming back for more. >> and you're also smoking weed with him? >> yeah. so i was like, "am i gonna feel paranoid? am i gonna blow my cover?" >> but in addition to her daisy dukes and her push-up bra, doreen was wearing something else. a wire. >> doreen giuliano was the amateur, very good amateur undercover agent. actually wired herself up with a recording device. >> hello. hello.
i'm nervous as hell. >> as she's turning on the recording said, "boy, i'm really scared," or nervous, words to that effect. i would be too. you know, going into a situation because if you're discovered taping somebody, you don't know how they're gonna react, but she went through with it. >> if she gets exposed, her plan falls through and poor john stays in prison. that's what she's afraid of. >> i mean, what this mother did to try to save her son is so unprecedented. >> it was probably around eight months that i had this relationship with jason allo. >> and so you're talking to him the entire time with a recording device strapped to your body? >> yes. >> and you kept it where? >> between my boobs. i was searching for the truth. i wanted to know why they came back with a guilty verdict. why? >> you trying to put little ricky to sleep? ♪ itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout ♪
>> she obviously was in the wrong business. she should have been a detective like you. >> technically by law i shouldn't have been on that jury. >> say that again? >> i shouldn't have even been on that jury. if you're like me, you can barely take care of a plant so you're probably not ready to get pregnant now. you can prevent pregnancy for up to five years with mirena or kyleena, low maintenance iuds. your doctor can place an iud in just a few minutes and remove it at any time. filling prescriptions could take longer. (sighing) an iud is more reliable than this. and requires less attention than a toddler. (giggling) (narrator) don't use mirena or kyleena if you have a pelvic infection, get infections easily, or have certain cancers. less than 1% of users get a serious infection called pid. if you have pelvic or stomach pain, or if your iud comes out, talk to your doctor. your iud may attach to or go through the uterus. pregnancy with mirena or kyleena is uncommon but can be life-threatening and may cause loss of pregnancy or fertility. ovarian cysts may occur but usually disappear.
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a lot of people suggested that you couldn't make this story up. it would be completely unbelievable. but doreen is a woman that would do anything for her son. and she's also in brooklyn where anything could happen and ingenuity seems to be inbred in people's psyches. >> i was willing to look like a prostitute with my six-inch heels and my push-up bra. you don't let your children down. you fight for your children. >> i think even she would admit, it cost her her marriage. it cost her dearly. what did the undercover sting do to your marriage? >> it destroyed it.
my husband had a full time job. his wife was with another man, all dolled up and that is when the marriage started to crumble. >> and yet, you said early on, your husband had drawn a line. >> yes. >> don't have sex with the guy. >> right. >> even though you made the pledge to your husband, you knew you'd do whatever it took? >> of course. >> but it didn't come to that. >> no. >> i think you were quoted as saying, i can get another husband, but i can't get another son. >> that's right. i still feel the same way. >> we were in the living room, and the tv was on and the music was on. i believe it was the rolling stones, and we were smoking pot. ♪ i'll never be your beast of burden ♪ ♪ i i walk for miles my feet are hurting ♪ ♪ all i want is for you to make love to me ♪
>> and he decided he was gonna tell me how he was on a trial and how he convicted this guy of felony murder. >> i had the recorder i believe in my pocket book right next to me. >> they tried to make him out to be him out to be like the tony soprano but he was a [ bleep ] clown too. he's a tall, skinny jewish kid with glasses. >> he described my son as a tall, skinny, jewish kid with glasses. and proceeded to tell me how he hated jews. >> and you could've got excused, there's a million and one excuses to get it excuse. >> number one excuse, i'm prejudice. >> you're what? >> i hate jews! >> that would've been perfect for you! >> exactly! that's how most people get out. >> i asked him why did he wanna be on the jury. and that there would be a million and one excuses that he could use to have himself excused. and he said "i hate jews," believing john was jewish. >> how did you keep your composure? >> i turned my back on him. i couldn't even look at him.
i was in the kitchen. >> what did you wanna do? >> i wanted to punch him in his face. i wanted to stab him. >> i found out so much more than i anticipated. allo admits that he shouldn't have even been on that jury because he knew friends of john's. >> technically by law if i knew that [ bleep ] i shouldn't have even been in that jury. >> why not? >> by law, you're not supposed to be. they read you a list of all the witnesses. if you know or are affiliated in any way, you have to let them know. >> so when allo started confessing that maybe he didn't belong on this jury and he had known some of the kids, what went through your mind? >> i was disgusted with him because he said it proudly. >> it depends on what he was asked in jury selection. it seems that he knew that he should have said more in the context of jury selection. did he lie in jury selection?
he says no. but on that tape he sure seems to recognize that there were some reasons that he probably shouldn't have been on this jury. >> i'll tell you this but i would never tell anybody else, i actually had some type of information. >> about -- >> remember when i told you they hang out over here sometimes. >> right. >> a friend of mine, she told me some stuff that she heard. >> okay. >> well, it's not even a friend. it's my cousin and she wouldn't lie about something like that. >> so what did she say? >> i rather not say but -- she overheard them talking like shortly after this happened. >> the group? >> right, the guys that hang out together. >> so they were out of -- oh, okay. >> yeah, the whole group of guys. >> right. >> i mean john and russo. >> one of the blockbuster
tidbits that doreen as dee quinn obtained from jason allo was he knew things about the case that he shouldn't have known. he never specified what they were, but he did make clear that he had this information and had the people in authority known that he had this information, he never would have been selected to be on the jury. >> not only does she get the juror to admit that he shouldn't have been on that jury to begin with, but she's wearing a wire at the time. so she tapes him saying it. and now she's got the evidence. >> he committed very serious juror misconduct. and i've uncovered it. >> armed with what she believes is this damning recording, she's ready to go demand justice for her son. >> frank was sleeping. i woke him up and i thought, i thought we had it. >> she believes that this is the blockbuster bombshell that's
gonna blow this case wide open. she felt she was holding the cards and the keys to her son's freedom. >> bam! mission accomplished! >> what no one expected. is for that juror to come out of the shadows -- >> she's not any cup of tea. are. like an "unjection™". xeljanz xr. a once-daily pill for adults with moderate to severe ra for whom methotrexate did not work well enough. xeljanz xr can reduce pain, swelling and further joint damage, even without methotrexate. xeljanz xr can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma have happened. as have tears in the stomach or intestines, serious allergic reactions, low blood cell counts, higher liver tests and cholesterol levels. don't start xeljanz xr if you have an infection. your doctor should perform blood tests before and while taking xeljanz xr, and monitor certain liver tests.
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>>puyourself in doreen's shoes. she has spent months and months stalking this juror, wining and dining him, literally. and she's convinced she's sitting on gold. >> i think, without question, that in doreen's mind, she felt that she was holding the cards and the keys to her son's freedom. >> by law you're not supposed to be. they read you a list of all the witnesses. if you know or are affiliated with these people in any way, you have to let them know. >> here's somebody admitting to you that he lied, which is contempt of court and perjury. those tapes were my son's life. i had to protect them with my life. so i decided that i was gonna go see my brother and he was gonna make copies of them.
so i wrote all over my body my brother's address, name and address on my body, on my legs, on my stomach, just in case i crashed and the cops got hold of them, they would deliver them to my brother. thank god i got to my brother's house safely, and it became a big joke. >> doreen doesn't know what to do with the information, so she goes public and she tells a reporter from "vanity fair" all about it. and the result is a big feature article. >> when i heard about doreen's case, i jumped at it because it was a pretty amazing story of a mother coming to the aid of her son. >> when you saw the pictures of your mom in "vanity fair" dressed up in the way that she dressed up, what was your reaction? >> it didn't even look like her. i didn't recognize her for a second. i was, like, "oh, my god." i had to hide them from everyone else in the jail. wow, that's not the soccer mom that i know, you know.
>> and suddenly, doreen giuliano is famous. >> an unbelievable story of a mother trying to get her son out of jail. she goes undercover, a double life. >> she now has a new name. she's gone from being doreen giuliano to dee quinn to being "undercover mother." >> i mean, it's like a hollywood movie. she became the undercover mother. >> it's hard to imagine a more appealing story. from a news perspective, it's so unique. it all revolves around really nothing more than a mother's intense loyalty to her son. it's like a mother saying, "no, you don't sit in the electric chair. i sit in the electric chair." tonight on "nightline" -- >> "nightline" became interested in the story. and truly, for us it was just a remarkable story. i've covered a lot of crime, and i have never seen a parent go to these lengths to try to exonerate their child. we had to cover the story.
>> this has to be put down on the record. >> people were definitely clamoring to hear what jason allo had to say. no one had heard from him yet. so we were really excited to get that interview. >> do you think you committed perjury in the voir dire process? >> absolutely not. >> did you withhold information about things that you knew at the time of jury selection? >> no, i didn't. >> mr. allo denied lying to the judge and lying during the voir dire process. >> describe the relationship you had. and was there anything you felt that was odd or strange about this woman who suddenly becomes a friend of yours? >> she was coming on very strong, very strong. she's throwing herself at me, trying to, you know, wear provocative clothing to, i guess, maybe get me started up. but in my eyes, it was going no further than friends. >> so you're saying that she gave you the impression that she wanted to have an intimate
relationship with you. >> it's not an impression. it was there in my face. >> but in your mind, you weren't interested at all. >> not at all. she's not my cup of tea. >> and when asked about the anti-semitic comments, mr. allo basically said he did not recall. >> number one excuse, i'm prejudiced. >> you're what? >> i hate jews. >> do you ever recall saying anything like, "i hate jews"? >> not at all. >> he would never say anything like that. >> can you tell me, jason? >> i'm not a prejudiced person. >> is it the sort of thing that you imagine you might've said in the past? >> what does -- what does that have to do with the interview? >> i'm just asking him a question. >> but it doesn't make sense. >> well, it does because i'm coming to a point. >> all right. go ahead. don't answer him. there's no reason to answer a question like that. >> you see, in one of the tape recordings you say, you hate jews. >> that's your interpretation of the tape recordings. >> mr. allo asked to have his attorney sit next to him, which is not uncommon. but the interview kind of took a very interesting turn almost from the get go.
>> i'm a pit bull, my friend! >> i get it. a lawyer is there to protect his client. but this guy was ready for a fight. >> all right, go ahead, don't answer. don't answer. >> i'm asking him. can he answer -- >> no, no, no. but, no, no. i'm gonna answer it for him. >> i had never seen anything like that before. they agreed to do the interview. it was mr. allo's opportunity to tell his side of the story. but it quickly became just, you know, blockade, blockade, blockade. >> i think for us being here -- >> you're not allowing him to speak. >> i am allowing him to speak. i'm also giving him his constitutional right to an attorney. right. we still live in the united states, right, martin? >> technically, by law, if i knew that, i shouldn't have been in that jury. >> can you ever remember saying, "i shouldn't have been in that jury"? >> he doesn't remember saying that, martin. >> no, do you, jason, ever remember -- >> no, i don't. >> did you commit perjury? >> absolutely not. >>eryou lying to the judge when he asked if you knew anything about -- >> martin, this is ridiculous. this is the most ridiculous
questions i've ever heard. these questions are nothing but tidbits.is is a ncary! >> the interview with mr. allo and his attorney was 45 minutes long. almost 30 of those minutes were taken up by mr. strazzullo. two-thirds of the interview, which is a lot. >> during the voir dire process, do you feel that you were completely honest about everything you knew? >> i do. >> did you withhold any information at all about people you may have known in the group during that process? >> no. >> okay. >> should we waterboard him? >> when i showed doreen that clip of jason allo's interview, i wanted to get your reaction to this interview that we did. sorry if this is upsetting. her whole demeanor changes. the facial expression changes. she bites her lip, you know. she gets tense. it's almost as if it triggers a
nightmare. when you see his face, what's your reaction? >> disgust. you know? >> he denied a lot of the stuff that you got him on tape saying. >> right. i have the proof. so now all's we gotta do is write a motion and submit it to the judge. >> she is absolutely convinced that this recording is going to set her son free. and yet, she's had her dreams dashed time and time again. so the real question is, what's the judge going to say? bout changing from a manual to an electric toothbrush. but my hygienist said going electric could lead to way cleaner teeth. she said, get the one inspired by dentists, with a round brush head. go pro with oral-b. oral-b's gentle rounded brush head removes more plaque along the gum line. for cleaner teeth and healthier gums. and unlike sonicare, oral-b is the first electric toothbrush brand accepted by the ada for its effectiveness and safety. what an amazing clean! i'll only use an oral-b! oral-b. brush like a pro. rockewith an extra 15% off! savings at kohl's!... pick-up elton john rocketman tees... and new luggage... plus - save on adidas...
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have the goods? was she going to be able to successfully get her son a get out of jail card? >> the first stop with these bombshell audio tapes is back to judge maris who had been the trial judge. >> john giuca's attorneys, they file a motion to vacate the conviction and get him a new trial. >> on the grounds that there was juror misconduct. >> i think that doreen assumed he was going to immediately order a new trial. >> judge allen maris, he didn't even hold a hearing. after we submitted the motion and all the recordings, he didn't even hold a hearing. >> it's a whimper, not a bang. there's no big courtroom drama moment. he just denies the motion. >> so the judge denies the defense motion for two reasons. one, the judge was saying it doesn't show that the juror intentionally lied in the jury selection process. and secondly, that the tape isn't necessarily reliable.
>> he says, "there's no way to prove that they weren't altered. and he scolds her for being a vigilante who's gone off on her own and tried to do the job of law enforcement. >> i mean, is it fair to say they laughed you out of court? >> laughed me out of court. if anything, they were afraid of the truth. their easy way out is just call doreen crazy. >> he said that you were guilty of extraordinary misconduct. did you go too far? >> maybe it was misguided, but definitely not too far. because any mother would do it. >> even after being lambasted by the judge, she did not give up. >> she will never give up. >> just give me my son! i just went nuts. i know that the evidence is there. because the verdict was wrong. so i decided to investigate each and every person who wrongfully testified against my son.
>> as she's toiling over this case, literally pouring over court records, two of the key witnesses are about to come forward and turn this case on its head. >> lauren calciano, who was giuca's former girlfriend, comes forward to recant her testimony. >> for years, i have thought and regretted the testimony. i felt compelled to set the record straight. >> she signs a sworn affidavit saying what she testified to was a lie. >> sworn affidavit, meaning i promise i'm not lying and you can charge me with perjury if i am. lauren calciano testified at the trial that giuca had confided in her that he had given anthony russo a gun to rob the victim, mark fisher. she claimed that prosecutors and investigators were subtly or not
so subtly threatening to make her father's life more difficult because he was serving time. >> nicolazzi and detectives told me that they wer father was in prison and that by not cooperating with them i was "going to make this hard on him and my family." >> i cried when i finally found out she was actually finally telling the truth. i said to myself, "there is a god." because for years i know that she was pressured to say these things and lie. >> so that's huge. and yet, doreen set her sights on the star witness, the prosecution's jailhouse informant. >> so if you remember, back at the first trial, john avitto was this mysterious witness that come forward, jailhouse snitch. and allegedly, for some reason, john giuca felt the need to confide in john avitto about what happened that night. >> this avitto was basically putting the target right on john giuca's head.
>> doreen sets out to try to unover why, in her view, john avitto lied on the stand. this time she turns to a pro. she hires a private investigator. so, jay salpeter is your classic, grizzled, veteran private eye, and he's one of those guys who believes in truth, justice, and the american way. what did they ask you to do? >> well, they wanted me to try and interview him. now it's many years later, let's see who john is now. maybe he wants to tell the truth, or he was telling the truth, i didn't know. i contacted john avitto and i asked to meet with him. i told john, "i'm a retired new york detective and i'm a private investigator and i'm working the john giuca case." he was a little apprehensive. and how does a investigator like you move forward on getting somebody to trust you? >> i like to start with, you get more with sugar than spice.
>> so jay salpeter convinced john avido to meet him in his car and had a tape recorder rolling. >> okay, i'm here regarding john giuca. could you tell me how you got involved in this case? >> well, i was in riker's island, and me and john became good friends. >> so, the first time, avitto says, "oh, no, this is basically what happened," and repeats his courtroom testimony. >> he did tell me he hit the guy on the head with the gun, the kid went down, he start kickin' and punchin'. he did tell me all that. >> he's sticking by his jailhouse confession. >> right, but i'm not ready to start a confrontation with him. just keep it going, let him speak, and as a detective, you learn when you let people speak, things come out. >> it's an exercise in private investigating 101 because he goes after this target, john avitto, slowly and methodically. and after multiple meetings, he gets him to clear his conscience. >> i don't know, what else do you want me to say? >> i just want the truth, that's
all. >> the whole thing was a lie. >> the whole thing was a lie? >> yeah. >> he is now coming forward and saying that he made up the story about giuca's confession. and he was the most important witness in the case. >> jay salpeter got john avitto to admit that he had been in a court mandated drug program. >> i had gotten into violations of the program and stuff. >> which should have put him in jail. but according to avitto he had some sort of deal with the prosecutors. >> and they helped me get out of those. >> right. >> just to keep me so i can testify. >> and you knew that you were supposed to put you in jail, right? >> right. >> so now, he's coming forward and saying, "i made it up." i made it up because i was cut a deal." if it's true that nicolazzi basically made promises to this critical witness and then didn't
disclose it, that's a grave legal sin. >> and it's that potential grave legal sin that will that will put anna-sigga nicolazzi in the hot seat. >> i've been prosecuting murders for 15 years and i've never lost a case. >> she comes out and she says, "you know, i've never lost a case."' >> oh, god. you know why? 'cause she's a cheater. nobody ever wins all the time. ♪ ♪you put your right arm in, and then you shake it all about♪ ♪you do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around.♪ ♪that's what it's all about. ♪you put your whole self in, you put your whole self out,♪ ♪you put your whole self in, and you shake it all about.♪ ♪you do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around.♪ ♪that's what it's all about. ♪that's what it's all about.♪ ♪that's what it's all about.♪
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>> let me take you inside the fight for justice. i've been prosecuting murders for 15 years. i've never lost a homicide case. >> she comes out and she says, "you know, i've never lost a case." >> oh, god. you know why? 'cause she's a cheater. >> the question was, were there some corners that might have been cut in order to win? think about the turn of events, right? this is a dramatic turn of events when the star witness says, "i lied." >> the whole thing was a lie. >> he claims he understood a quid pro quo. if i testify for you, you will help me out. >> this deal was never disclosed to the defense. it was never disclosed to the jury. nicolazzi's dealings with john avitto reflect the worst in how a prosecutor can violate the rules. >> you hit the jackpot. >> we hit something big.
you have a recantation, you have prosecutorial misconduct, all wrapped up in one. >> at this point, john giuca's new attorney mark bederow takes all this information to a judge in an attempt to get this case overturned on the basis of prosecutorial misconduct. the judge's response to this is he grants them a new hearing, which is certainly a step in the right direction. >> it's a big deal that a hearing is being held. it can let the judge assess to say whether john received a fair trial or not. >> cameras were allowed in the courtroom, which is a rarity in brooklyn supreme court. >> during this hearing, the roles were reversed for anna sigga-nicolazzi because she now becomes a witness to a hearing to a trial that she was the lead prosecutor on. >> so she walks in the courtroom and she's poised, she sits down, and you know, she held her own. >> i believe in the case, i believe it was tried justly. >> she was used to asking all the questions but now she was being asked the questions, and
had to defend her actions. >> did john avitto lie during the trial? >> are you pointing to anything specific or overall? >> about anything? >> i don't believe so. >> she didn't get defensive, she didn't, you know, second guess herself, she was very sure that what she did was to the book. >> john avitto comes in and i remember he had on a black jacket, and he was very pale. >> it's a dramatic courtroom moment. the former star prosecution witness is now about to take it all back. >> his first words were apologizing to john. >> apologize, i'm deeply sorry. >> and, and it's very emotional, i mean, giuca gets emotional, avitto gets emotional. >> i remember john looking over at john avitto and, you know, holding his mouth very tight and you know, he shook his head like, you know, almost forgiving
him without even being able to say, "i forgive you, it's okay." >> when john avitto came back and apologized to you on the stand for fabricating the story, in his words, what was your reaction? >> it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. it was just, like, finally, thank god. because it took a lot, really, honestly, to do that. because before, when he was lying on the stand he was keepin' himself outta jail. but now there's absolutely no motive to get back on the stand and do that. so it took a lot of courage for him to do that. >> so the judge listens to all of this and decides that there was no deal, that john avitto's life was not helped by anything that the prosecution did for him. and he denies the motion to vacate the conviction on john giuca. >> i have denied the defendant's motion to vacate the judgment.
>> giuca's supporters were stunned. >> giuca's mother has a very emotional reaction. she starts screaming about her son. i believe she calls him my baby. she's told to quiet down and is escorted out of the courtroom. she's openly sobbing in the courtroom. >> after that dramatic testimony, the judge still denied another trial. >> yeah. >> what was that like? >> just another crushing denial. you know, there's been so many, honestly, that i'm almost numb. but it was so wrong. it was so, so wrong that he did that. i couldn't believe it. i feel like he was so prejudiced against me that he's blinded. >> the judge. >> yeah. >> doreen still doesn't give up. >> they appealed that decision. >> is there any way that you're blinded by your mother's love and you're not seeing something about what happened that night? >> look, it's the facts that drive me. not a feeling or a hunch, it's the facts.
and i beg the judge, the public, just look at the facts. >> i remember it was february 2018, and it was a gloomy winter day. and i remember thinking, you know, yet another christmas had passed. she wasn't that optimistic at that moment. and then she got an unexpected phone call from her lawyer. >> i thought something terrible happened. and he said, "are you sitting down?" >> in a stunning decision, a panel of four appellate judges overturn her son's conviction. the judges conclude that nicolazzi had violated court rules. she the prosecutor should have told the defense that she and the detectives helped avitto. for our broadcast tonight, we called anna sigga nicolazzi asking to talk to her, but she didn't return our calls. >> they finally are going to get a new trial. >> the appeals court rules in your favor and says your conviction is overturned. did you think at that point
you'd get out? >> i did. i did. >> after 13 years and finally winning, why is she not reunited with her son? >> don't you come home when woman 1: this... woman 2: ...this... man 1: ...this is my body of proof. man 2: proof of less joint pain... woman 3: ...and clearer skin. man 3: proof that i can fight psoriatic arthritis... woman 4: ...with humira. woman 5: humira targets and blocks a specific source of inflammation that contributes to both joint and skin symptoms. it's proven to help relieve pain, stop further irreversible joint damage, and clear skin in many adults. humira is the number one prescribed biologic for psoriatic arthritis. (avo): humira can lower your ability to fight infections. serious and sometimes fatal infections,
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an appeals court has overturned john guica's felony murder conviction. >> at this very moment, he is presumed innocent. he is not convicted of this crime. >> but, in a strange quirk of the law, even though the conviction is overturned, he is still charged with the same crime. it's like the clock's been turned back to the day he was arrested. >> instead of going home, he is still in jail. >> they won't give him bail, so he can come home. >> you were hoping he'd get out on bail. and what happened? >> don't you come home when you're presumed innocent? >> the shocking thing about this story is that prosecutors are still insisting on moving forward. you would think that they would say at this point, "our case has completely fallen apart, and he's already served 14 years." >> john guica maintains his
innocence, and now the key witnesses against him now say they lied. and yet, prosecutors are not backing down. as they try to rebuild their case against giuca, they go back and reinterview co-defendant, anthony russo, and incredibly, even his story changes. >> they sent detectives up to the prison to interview russo. what he said was, "i did it alone." that it was his gun. russo was clear to detectives that he did it on his own, that he shot and killed mark fisher. >> it has to make you wonder, maybe doreen was right all along. did you have anything to do with the murder of mark fisher? >> no, i had nothing to do with the murder of mark fisher. and i wish there was some way to just go back in time and show everybody, you know? >> but prosecutors are still determined to keep john giuca behind bars. in fact, they're doubling down. >> there was not any argument made by either mr. avitto himself or his attorney that there was a deal. >> just last month, the da's
office appealed the decision to throw out giuca's conviction to the highest court in new york state. the da's office tells us it's awaiting the court's decision. >> if the court of appeals were to rule in the da's favor, then the conviction would be reinstated and we would be back rolling up our sleeves, finding the proper way to get this vacated. >> there is another possible outcome. prosecutors frequently offer plea bargains. let's say, time served, dangling freedom in exchange for pleading guilty to some portion of the crime. >> i know that your mom wants you to take a deal. under what circumstances would you do it? >> i really don't want to at all, honestly. i want my name cleared. one of the worst parts about this is people thinking that i'm a murderer. and i want that wiped away because it shouldn't be there in the first place. >> john's gonna come home. he's gonna come home. >> she just wants me home. she just wants this to finally
end. this is wrong. >> it's springtime in brooklyn, but if you pay a visit to doreen, she'll tell you, it's always christmas at her house. how long was this christmas tree here? >> 13 years. >> so you never took it down? >> no. he was on his way home to decorate the tree, and he never made it home. >> and so you've kept this up? >> yes. >> waiting. >> waiting. >> it's clear that as her son's case continues to grind through the justice system, doreen's fully aware there's another mom and dad who are suffering as well. some people might argue that the fishers deserve closure in this as well. >> of course they do. of course they do. >> and you had empathy for them. >> of course. of course. but in the same respect, i gotta fight for my son's life, you know? i have to fight for my son. >> what would you say to his parents? >> i understand all the pain you feel and i'm so, so, so sorry