On a summer’s evening, a man (who is under official surveillance of law enforcement at the time) is claimed to have been forcibly kidnapped from a restaurant in a busy shopping center, bundled into a van and driven away to a destination in which he is tortured for hours. There are no witnesses to the abduction, the surveillance agents don’t see it happen, the videotape footage from the shopping center mysteriously disappears, and the alleged victim miraculously returns to safety a few hours later without a “scratch” on his body. Five years later, a man, without any prior criminal history, is accused to be the alleged mastermind of this kidnapping, arrested, put on trial, found guilty, and sentenced to spend the rest of his life in a high security federal prison. At his trial, the victim that was allegedly kidnapped never testifies, and crucial pieces of evidence that would have incontrovertibly cleared his name were never disclosed by law enforcement to his defense team. Unfortunately, this is not some far-fetched plot of a Hollywood movie. This a true story of a Hidden American Injustice.

Angelo DiPietro, 54, is the man presently serving a life sentence in a high security prison, having been found guilty of a crime he never committed, that his alleged accomplices say never took place, that the alleged victim has never testified to, and for which exculpatory evidence had been suppressed by federal prosecutors for the past eight years. The case against DiPietro was built solely upon the testimony of a jailhouse snitch, Maurizio “Mo” Sanginiti, who received money and a “get out of jail free-card” in exchange for his testimony. By cooperating with the authorities, Sanginiti was able to strike a sweetheart deal with former federal prosecutor, Timothy J. Treanor, and current prosecutor Jennifer G. Rodgers. From facing a possible life sentence for his own crimes, Sanginiti was able to return to the streets of New York a free man.

In 2009, DiPietro began his journey to void his conviction by bringing his case to the attention of Innocence project Downstate Illinois Innocence Project Investigator Bill Clutter, who is nationally renowned for investigating other wrongful convictions throughout the country, and prominent defense attorney, Joseph A. Bondy, who has zealously advocated for DiPietro since the inception of the case. Within months, their investigation into the case revealed devastating evidence that proved DiPietro was not only framed for a crime that he had not committed, but that the crime in question had never even occurred as claimed by federal prosecutors. Their investigation yielded six exculpatory witnesses, documented letters, missing surveillance tapes, affidavits, recorded conversations of the alleged victim, and devastating phone records in support of DiPietro’s innocence

Two of the witnesses identified as being present on June 29, 2001, Frank Taddeo and Richard Wieland, have also gone public to avow that Angelo DiPietro and Joseph Genua were “framed by a pack of lies”-all of which was apparently known to law enforcement from the very beginning of the case. Both Taddeo and Wieland affirmed in a recent interview with Rising Media Group investigative journalist, Dan Murphy, that they both spoke with federal agents and prosecutors concerning the allegation surrounding the alleged kidnapping of John Perazzo for which DiPietro was convicted in 2005. During their interviews, they both stated that they told prosecutors that they were present on June 29, 2001, but “nothing out of the ordinary occurred.” Taddeo, whom had a two hour meeting with federal officials, recalled specifically stating “we had met at Applebee’s, returned in two cars to DiPietro’s house, hung out for a while and then left without further incident.”

Wieland, neither an explosive expert nor apparent kidnapper, is a well-known wallpaper hanger that was so outraged by Sanginiti’s testimony he claimed that he had no choice but to come forward. Wieland stated “I could not go on with my life knowing that innocent men are sitting in prison for a crime that never even happened. Of course, I am in fear of the government. Just look at what they did here-Angelo has been handed a death sentence for a crime that never even took place.” Wieland also explained that he “had nothing to gain in coming forward and that he feared retaliation from the government for doing so.” Despite such fears; however, Wieland stated that he had decided to speak because Angelo DiPietro "did not do any of these things."

Notably, Wieland also stated that he had spoken to an FBI agent in 2005, who asked him whether there was any truth to the allegations set against DiPietro. Wieland told the FBI agent that not only was the kidnapping allegation untrue, but their source, Maurizio Sanginiti, was a psychotic liar. Wieland also recalled asking the agent to review the surveillance tapes from that evening, which the agent replied to Wieland that he had nothing to worry about. The agent continued to tell Wieland that the lead prosecutor, Timothy J. Treanor, would be very thankful for his candor and the FBI were concluding their interview with him on good terms. Unknown to Wieland, however, prosecutors deep-sixed his interviews, just like the other hidden evidence, and never mentioned a word to DiPietro’s defense team.

Instead of fulfilling its disclosure obligations, federal prosecutors introduced evidence of a shilloiute of a man named Rick Whalen—not Richard Wieland—at trial claiming that he had attempted to blow Perazzo’s balls off with an M-80 firecracker on DiPietro’s orders. Astonishingly, the same prosecutors also persisted on spelling Wieland’s name wrong in legal filings until earlier this year, when they were finally exposed by Downstate Illinois Innocence Project Investigator William Clutter’s investigation, which showed that federal agents had spoken to Wieland before DiPietro’s trial.

Frank Taddeo, a decorated veteran who served his country under former Secretary of the United States, Colonel Powell, is also as distraught over the outcome of the case and the plethora of government misdeeds that have, and continue to take place. Taddeo stated that during his interview with prosecutors and federal agents– “the writing was on the wall. Prosecutors did not want to hear the truth and became extremely angry when I told them that nothing happened that evening. Everyone in the room, including two United States Attorneys, continuously attempted to sway me into another story, as I was attacked by cursing and downgrading comments. They started yelling and asking questions, all implying a completely false story that they had obviously invented.”

The mundane recount of June 29, 2001 was nothing new to federal prosecutors, whom prior to interviewing those present, had possessed multiple pieces of evidence to corroborate Wieland and Taddeo’s version of events, including phone records, physical surveillance reports, and now missing video tapes. According to Downstate Illinois Innocence Project Investigator Clutter’s court filings, the cell phone records from that evening were all the evidence needed to prove Sanginiti’s story to be nothing more than a farce, as they clearly showed that the parties were not in the same vehicle and could not have kidnapped Perazzo in a single white van as Sanginiti testified. Specifically, cell phone records show that numerous calls took place between Sanganiti, Taddeo, DiPietro and others at the very time when, according to Sanginiti, they were all cooped up together in the van allegedly used to whisk Perazzo away from the shopping center under the noses of the surveillance agents present.

Some legal experts following the case have noted that despite all these devastating revelations, it is also indisputable that the government’s initial case against DiPietro was weak in the first place--“A weak case that was based solely on the evidence of an untrustworthy witness, a self-confessed bull-shitter, who had much to gain from giving Angelo DiPietro to the authorities on a convenient plate.” In fact, “the alleged victim in the kidnapping, Perazzo, was never even called by the government to testify. Additionally, the alleged kidnappers, Taddeo and Wieland, were never even charged or arrested, despite the claim that they were the actual abductors. It is also too coincidental that no one else saw the violent abduction of a grown man, despite being in the middle of Cross County Shopping Center, under the watch of law enforcement, and in broad daylight during a busy summer month with hundreds of shoppers.”

Angelo DiPietro’s ultimate fate now lies in the hands of Federal Judge Richard Holwell and Magistrate Judge Henry B. Pitman, with whom DiPietro’s legal team have lodged a habeas petition to have his conviction voided.

© 2011 HiddenCaseFiles.com. All rights reserved. Design By: BossDesign.