Shahid Freeman to stand trial on claims he extorted schools chief

Clarence Shahid Freeman
Clarence Shahid Freeman

A delay in the murder solicitation retrial of Dalia Dippolito has pushed up the trial of the man accused of trying to extort a former Palm Beach County Schools chief of nearly $1 million.

It’s been nearly three years since Clarence Shahid Freeman’s arrest on e

Freeman’s trial had been on hold for at least a couple of months, but a decision by Florida’s 4th District court of Appeal to hear a petition in Dippolito’s case postponed her retrial, which was scheduled to begin with jury selection May 23 and expected to last another three weeks once Circuit Judge Glenn Kelley seated the panelists.

Now, with nearly a month of trial time free, Kelley has scheduled Freeman’s trial to begin May 20. Lawyers in the case will argue retrial motions in a hearing scheduled for May 16.

Delray developer wants damages from estate of Subway founder

Pugliese
Pugliese

Apparently the expression “never speak ill of the dead” poses no problem for Anthony Pugliese.

Fresh off a jail sentence stemming from charges he swindled late Subway founder Fred DeLuca out of $1 million, the Delray Beach developer is now seeking $20 billion from DeLuca’s estate with claims DeLuca was the one who stole his idea for an eco-friendly development in Central Florida and used his “multi-billionaire” status to defraud him with “shady dealings.”

The motion to amend his request for damages filed Wednesday comes years after the $5 billion Pugliese demanded from DeLuca in 2009, when the two traded lawsuits over the failed 41,000 acre residential development project called Destiny.

A press release on the filing claims Pugliese is demanding $20 billion, but nothing in the complaint lists that amount.

“The Pugliese press release is a false publicity stunt. Anthony Pugliese is not entitled to any money,” DeLuca’s attorney Rick Hutchison said. “I can also say that the Court recently granted Fred DeLuca’s motion for partial summary judgment, finding that Pugliese stole from and defrauded Fred DeLuca.”

DeLuca
DeLuca

It was a deposition in the 2009 lawsuits that ultimately landed Pugliese in jail after he admitted that he created phony companies and fake invoices to get more than $1 million from DeLuca.

At the time, Pugliese said he was doing it to create a contingency fund in case  DeLuca shut him out of the deal. Investigators called it fraud and arrested him for it in 2012.

He served four months of a six month sentence before he was released last month.

Pugliese’s amended lawsuit was filed Wednesday by his civil attorney, famed litigator Willie Gary.

“Today, we have taken additional steps to help right the wrongs committed by Fred DeLuca, and Subway in their partnership with our client,”  Gary said in a press release.

 

 

 

Donna Horwitz will be tried again for ex-husband’s murder, Florida Supreme Court rules

Jupiter resident Donna Horwitz on Thursday won a new trial for the 2011 murder of her ex-husband when the Florida Supreme Court ruled that a Palm Beach County jury shouldn’t have been told she refused to talk to investigators.

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Donna Horwitz (Florida Department of Corrections)

In upholding a decision by the 4th District Court of Appeal, the high court ruled that prosecutors improperly used Horwitz’s constitutional right to remain silent against her.

» RELATED: Read the Florida Supreme Court’s decision

“The state repeatedly emphasized Horwitz’s silence and repeatedly argued that her silence was ‘evidence of consciousness of guilt,'” Justice Barbara Pariente wrote in the court’s unanimous decision. “This use of Horwitz’s silence violated her state constitutional privilege against self-incrimination.”

The case that involved such a basic constitutional principle as the right against self-incrimination landed at the high court because the West Palm Beach-based appeals court decision that overturned her conviction was not unanimous.

Appeals Court Judge Mark Klingensmith disagreed with the other judges, citing a U.S. Supreme Court case he believed made testimony about Horwitz’s silence admissible. The appellate judges referred the matter to Florida’s Supreme Court for a more definitive ruling.

Horwitz, 69, is serving a life sentence. She was convicted by a Palm Beach County jury in 2013 of shooting her former husband Lanny Horwitz, 66, in the multi-million-dollar home they shared in the Admiral’s Cove community along the Intracoastal Waterway.

The two lived together even though they were divorced. The couple had been married for 30 years, divorced, remarried and divorced again.

During Horwitz’s trial, her attorneys argued that the couple’s son, Radley Horwitz, or a hit man hired by him could have been the killer.

Lanny Horwitz’s sister, Marcia Van Creveld, told The Post last year that Donna Horwitz’s conviction had given them closure, and they were shocked that she could possibly win a new trial.

“I just want justice for my brother Lanny,” she said.

 

Rally protesting Corey Jones case decision cancelled

State Attorney Dave Aronberg addresses members of the media during a press conference in West Palm Beach, Fla., Wednesday April 27, 2016. Aronberg announced during a news conference Wednesday that his office would continue its investigation of former Palm Beach Gardens officer Nouman Raja in the shooting death of musician Corey Jones. (Bill Ingram/Palm Beach Post via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
State Attorney Dave Aronberg addresses members of the media during a press conference in West Palm Beach, Fla., Wednesday April 27, 2016. Aronberg announced during a news conference Wednesday that his office would continue its investigation of former Palm Beach Gardens officer Nouman Raja in the shooting death of musician Corey Jones. (Bill Ingram/Palm Beach Post via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

Community leaders have cancelled a planned rally Thursday to protest Palm Beach State Attorney Dave Aronberg’s decision to refer to a grand jury the case of the police officer who shot Corey Jones.

The event, which was planned even before Aronberg announced last week that a grand jury panel will decide whether Nouman Raja will face criminal charges by the end of next month, was to come just days after the group Anonymous threatened Aronberg with calls and protests of their own unless he changed course.

Community leaders advertised the rally to be held at the Palm Beach State Attorneys office but announced online that it had been canceled. As of Thursday, no new date had been set.

Raja shot and killed Jones Oct. 18 after the now-fired officer drove up on him in the off-ramp of interstate 95 at PGA Boulevard. Jones’ SUV had broken down while he was on his way home from a professional drumming gig.

The State Attorney’s office and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies began immediately investigating the shooting, and the FBI joined the probe soon afterward.

Prosecutors could have concluded on their own that Raja should face no criminal charges but could have also skipped the grand jury process and charged him directly. Community leaders after Aronberg’s decision said they felt he should have charged Raja.

A Facebook post Friday from the group Anonymous Florida threatened to flood Aronberg’s phones and social media outlets with messages if he didn’t either resign or charge Raja by Wednesday.

Aronberg so far has declined to comment on the group’s ultimatum.

 

Anonymous to Dave Aronberg: Change your mind about Corey Jones case – or else

State Attorney Dave Aronberg addresses members of the media during a press conference in West Palm Beach, Fla., Wednesday April 27, 2016. Aronberg announced during a news conference Wednesday that his office would continue its investigation of former Palm Beach Gardens officer Nouman Raja in the shooting death of musician Corey Jones. (Bill Ingram/Palm Beach Post via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
State Attorney Dave Aronberg addresses members of the media during a press conference in West Palm Beach, Fla., Wednesday April 27, 2016. Aronberg announced during a news conference Wednesday that his office would continue its investigation of former Palm Beach Gardens officer Nouman Raja in the shooting death of musician Corey Jones. (Bill Ingram/Palm Beach Post via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

The Florida chapter of the activist network Anonymous wants Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg to know they’re unhappy with his decision to refer the case of the officer who shot Corey Jones to a grand jury – and that’s not all.

If he doesn’t change his mind about the decision, according to a Friday post on the loosely associated group’s facebook page, they plan to launch a campaign flooding his phones, emails and social networks with calls, messages and posts urging him to either change his decision about former Palm Beach Gardens officer Nouman Raja or step down from office.

Raja has been the subject of a criminal investigation ever since he shot and killed Jones, a stranded motorist waiting for a tow truck after a professional drumming gig, on Oct. 18. While Jones family and community leaders had asked Aronberg to exercise his power to file charges directly against Raja, Aronberg announced last week that he would refer the case to a grand jury, saying that it was customary in officer-involved shootings where questions remain after the initial investigation.

Aronberg had until Monday, May 2, to respond to the group’s demands.

“Choose wisely Aronberg, elections is [sic] right around the corner,” the posts reads, a reference to the fact that the first-term state attorney is up for reelection this year.

The group says it plans to escalate its campaign against Aronberg later this month if the emails and calls don’t work.

“If you still have not listened to the state of Florida, we as well as activists around the state shall see you at your doorstep on May 20th,” the post reads. “You should of [sic] expected this.”

State Attorney’s office spokesman Mike Edmondson declined to comment on the recent threats, but they are nothing new to the area’s top prosecutor.

When Aronberg mulled whether to press battery charges against Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, he later told reporters said he received an avalanche of threats from individuals and groups across the country.

Aronberg ultimately declined to pursue charges against Lewandowski.