WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Defense witness testimony continues in the Dalia Dippolito murder-for-hire trial. Dippolito is being tried for the third time on a 2009 charge accusing her of hiring an undercover hit man to kill her then-husband.
The trial started with jury selection on June 3 and in its 5th day of testimony.
The state began the day cross-examining Boynton Beach Police Public Information Officer Stephanie Slater. Then the defense called a former Los Angeles Police officer of 29 years Tim Williams to testify.
Williams is scheduled to testify in another case in Los Angeles Thursday morning, causing the defense to call him onto the stand before it wanted to.
It had planned on calling Boynton Beach police confidential informant Mohamed Shihadeh ahead of Williams.
As a result, Claypool asked Williams to assume it were true that Shihadeh said he felt pressured into cooperating in the investigation, and what that would mean for the investigation.
“Well, if he’s pressured to do something, in my opinion, if he’s coerced to be involved in something that he doesn’t want to be involved in, now what you’re having is something that may be illegal in nature. Forcing someone to do something and information that you get from that person can be tainted,” said Williams.
Williams' testimony was postponed till after the jurors had lunch.
"If we prove, in this case, that Mohamed Shihadeh said that he was pressured, he didn't want to be involved in this investigation, that the Boynton Beach PD threatened to prosecute him unless he stayed on the investigation, what Tim said today though was that he should have been immediately removed and all evidence generated after that is tainted and contaminated," said Claypool during the break.
The state could not wait to cross-examine Williams. Prosecutor Craig Williams was seen jotting down notes, listening to every word Williams said on the stand and getting ready to question him.
"I don't recall that conversation with the undercover officer," said Williams in response to the state's question on whether he remembered why Dippolito said she would not give the $3,000 up front, but wanted to give it to the hit man after the job was done.
"How much effort did you go into in reviewing this effort?" Attorney Williams asked the law enforcement expert. "I put some effort into it," said the witness.
Williams called out the witness who said a police confidential informant did not believe Dippolito would really go through with hiring someone to kill her husband. He made him read the informant's original statement to police.
"That's when I decided to come to you guys, because she's really, I mean, dead serious on getting this done," said the witness while reading a statement from Mohamed Shihadeh, the informant.
The defense strongly argued if Boynton Beach Police really thought Mike Dippolito, Dalia's husband. was in danger, they would have watched him.
"I would have had him monitored under surveillance, but I would have,....there would have been hard surveillance on Ms. Dippolito to see her goings and comings, to see who she was in contact with," said the witness.
Shihadeh was expected to testify later Wednesday afternoon. However, the judge asked him to return at 9:45 a.m. Thursday.
Earlier Wednesday morning Tiger Woods' name was dropped during testimony. The state cross-examined Boynton Beach Police Public Information Officer Stephanie Slater who was drilled by the defense for posting video of a staged crime scene involving Dalia Dippolito on YouTube.
The state pointed out that videos like this one and others in investigations typically end up being made public when media outlets make public records requests. Prosecutor Laura Laurie used the dash camera video of Tiger Woods' recent arrest to make the point. But Dippolito's lawyer was quick to say not so fast.
"Let's talk about Tiger Woods. There was no staged crime scene of Tiger Woods correct?" Claypool asked Slater.
"Correct," answered Slater.
"That was just a real crime. He was pulled over and there was a dash cam video on the patrol car. Is is true that with respect to Tiger Woods there weren't 15 police officers setting up a fake crime scene and then calling Tiger Woods saying 'hey come on over here' right? Isn't that true?" asked Claypool.