Elizabeth L. Parker, Esq.
TESTIMONY TO BEGIN TUESDAY IN DIPPOLITO MURDER-FORHIRE TRIAL The Sun Sentinel April 25, 2011 by Alexia Campbell Dalia Dippolito was seen around the world on YouTube, allegedly feigning shock as police told her that her husband had been killed. On Tuesday, testimony is to begin in her trial, where she's charged with trying to hire a hitman to have her newlywed husband murdered. More than 30 witnesses could take the stand before the two-week trial is over. Potential witnesses include Dalia Dippolito's husband, Michael Dippolito, and Michael Stanley, her alleged lover with whom swapped racy text messages, mentioning plans to have her husband arrested for violating probation on drug charges. Michael Dippolito, who has since filed for divorce, has said his wife wanted him dead so she could keep their Boynton Beach townhome. But will Dalia Dippolito take the stand? Defense attorney Michael Salnick planted the possibility Monday that she might not testify, asking the 53 potential jurors that they would think. None said it mattered. Pretrial publicity has been a concern for the defense, given the interest in the case by local and national media. Salnick said media coverage over the weekend reached "tabloid proportions." On Monday, many in the jury pool said they recognized Dippolito from that viral video, which has been viewed more than 300,000 times. More than half the potential jurors said they had seen the police video and read news reports about the case. "How can you be fair to Ms. Dippolito?" Salnick asked a firefighter who had seen the video several times. "It definitely left an impression, but it doesn't mean I can't overcome this perception," he said. The same question was posed to a woman, who hesitated when answering. "It's really hard to put out of my mind the videos," she said. Dressed in a conservative white sweater and gray slacks, Dippolito, 28, sat straight in her chair all day, watching the questioning of potential jurors. With her and Salnick sat Joe Guastaffero, a trial consultant who will help the defense pick jurors they think will be favorable. Dippolito faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted of solicitation to committ first-degree murder. Her alleged scheme to have her husband killed backfired, prosecutors contend, when the man she hired to do the job was an undercover Boynton Beach police officer. On Aug. 5, 2009, Boynton Beach police staged the elaborate crime scene, and recorded video of her shrieks and tears when they told her that her husband had been killed.
Elizabeth L. Parker, Esq. Later they confronted her, brought her face-to-face with her husband and arrested her. Her reaction and later arrest also were caught on video, which will be evidence in the trial. Prosecutor Elizabeth Parker warned potential jurors that the trial would include "salty" and "racy" language that may be offensive to some. By the end of the day, only a few were excused from returning on Tuesday. Among those still in the jury pool are a schoolteacher, a psychologist, a Marine and a lawyer. Widespread fascination with the case has brought several national media outlets to West Palm Beach to cover the trial. "Dateline NBC" and "In Session" on TruTV are among the programs that will cover the proceedings. Judge Jeffrey Colbath said the trial should last two weeks with one week off in between.