By Tom Robbin, Jul. 22 2009
The News and the Post are both reporting the death of Burt Kaplan, the turncoat mob associate whose testimony convicted the two worst New York City detectives in history – the so-called Mafia cops.
It sounds plausible. Kaplan, 75, had prostate cancer and was serving a no-exit prison term of 27 years when he agreed to flip and tell about his role as the middle man between rogue detectives Louis Eppolito and Steve Caracappa and a murderous mob chieftain named Anthony “Gaspipe” Casso.
Greg Smith, author of “Mafia Cops,” who wrote today’s News story with the always accurate John Marzulli, says he’s convinced. Natural causes, says the News.
But Jimmy Breslin (pictured), who wrote about Kaplan’s epic turn on the witness stand before Judge Jack Weinstein in “The Good Rat: A True Story,” isn’t convinced. “Who says he’s dead?” says Breslin. “I made a study of the man and I wouldn’t believe him if he told me today was Wednesday. He might have a reason to want me not to know it was Thursday.”
As a witness, Breslin says, Kaplan told the truth. “He was something. The minute he sat down in the witness chair. He started talking and that was it. If he’s dead it is a great loss to the romance of our times. Who else is there? Gotti Junior?” Photo (cc) wikipedia.