Thursday, October 18th 2007, 4:00 AM


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Today marks Round 2 for the feds versus the Mafia cops: The U.S. Court of Appeals will hear new legal arguments on the ex-cops’ murder convictions, overturned last year by a Brooklyn judge.

“I will be praying for my husband,” said Monica Caracappa, wife of retired Detective Stephen Caracappa, who has been jailed since April 2006, when he and his NYPD partner Louis Eppolito were convicted of being hit men for the mob.

Federal Judge Jack Weinstein threw out their convictions, which carried life sentences, on a legal technicality, but left no doubt of their guilt and refused to grant bail. “I’m flabbergasted that no one has sympathy,” Monica Caracappa added.

The three-judge panel has granted defense attorneys 10 minutes each to convince them Weinstein was right, and prosecutor Mitra Hormozi 20 minutes to argue the government did not overreach on the racketeering indictment.

“I believe the law is with us,” said Eppolito’s lawyer Joseph Bondy. Eppolito, 59, and Caracappa, 65, were cops corrupted by gangster Anthony (Gaspipe) Casso, who paid them to kill and leak confidential information, prosecutors say.

Even if the appeals court affirms the reversal, the ex-cops are likely to be retried on state murder charges by the Brooklyn district attorney’s office. Eppolito and his wife also go on trial for tax fraud in Las Vegas early next year.