‘Grid Kid’ murder suspect’s lawyers claim prosecutors framed him


by Emily Saul
New York Post

Attorneys for a Brooklyn man facing retrial for the 15-year-old murder of a college football player say they’ve unearthed more evidence that a former prosecutor framed their client.

Ex-prosecutor Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi wrote a letter of recommendation for a witness after he took the stand to finger John Giuca for the 2003 murder of 19-year-old Mark Fisher, according to newly filed court papers.

Giuca’s defense team now wants all documents related to Nicolazzi’s interactions with Albert Cleary, who testified during Giuca’s 2005 trial that Giuca himself ordered the hit.

Cleary told jurors Giuca handed a gun to Antonio Russo — who recently confessed to the slaying — and told him to show Fisher “what’s up” after the New Jersey teen sat on a table during a house party.

Giuca and Russo were convicted of second-degree murder, and the following February, Nicolazzi wrote a boilerplate letter of recommendation for Cleary.

“Mr. Cleary was a valuable prosecution witness and his testimony was crucial,” reads the Feb. 14, 2006, letter. “Although he originally struggled with the decision to cooperate, he realized he needed to start making decisions that were not only right, but best for his well-being.”

Giuca served more than 10 years for the murder before an appeals court overturned his conviction in February. He remains behind bars pending retrial.

“Cleary’s bizarre path to cooperate against Giuca finally makes sense now that we know Nicolazzi gave Cleary a benefit for his testimony,” defense attorney Mark Bederow told The Post. “There is strong reason to believe there was a wink and a nod between the DA and Cleary which was hidden from Giuca. We intend to find out.”

Bederow also blasted the DA’s office for only now turning over the letter, saying it was “outrageous” he wasn’t able to ask Nicolazzi about it when she took the stand in 2015 while a judge was reviewing Giuca’s conviction.

Cleary remains the only original trial witness to not recant under oath.

The court papers come less than a week after Bederow accused Nicolazzi of suppressing an audio recording with another witness, now dead, that exonerated his client.

Nicolazzi did not return a message, and the Brooklyn DA’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.