The son of Good Day New York anchor Rosanna Scotto said a close friend told him
he killed a man in his Upper East Side apartment the day after committing the crime, a trial has heard.
Louis Ruggiero testified Monday that his one-time friend James Rackover confessed to slicing the throat of a Connecticut man after a drug-fueled house party.
Rackover allegedly confessed to killing Joseph Communale in 2016 to Louis Ruggiero, 24, in 2016.
Louis Ruggiero (pictured) said one of the defendants in the murder trial of Joseph Communale confessed that he murdered him a day after the horrific crime
James Rackover (pictured in court in October 2017), 27, and former friend, Lawrence Dilione, 30, are accused of fatally stabbing Joey at an alcohol and cocaine-fueled party inside Rackover’s luxury New York City apartment in November 2016
The trial began last week with jurors being shown the gruesome evidence of Rackover’s blood-stained clothes and bed sheets from the night he allegedly stabbed Comunale to death during a party at his luxury New York City apartment.
‘I slit his throat and I stabbed him and we wrapped the body up in a comforter and threw it out the window so the cameras wouldn’t see,’ Louis Ruggiero recalled James Rackover saying.
Ruggiero, the son of the popular Fox 5 ‘Good Day NY’ host, said Rackover made the heinous admission inside an Equinox gym locker room a day after the murder.
‘James looked at me and said, ‘I did something really bad,’ Louis Ruggiero testified Monday in Manhattan Supreme Court.
Ruggiero,the District Attorney’s star witness in the murder trial, said Rackover told him that Lawrence Dilione, one of the other men in his apartment during the incident, got into a fight with Comunale and knocked him unconscious.
‘I gave [Comunale] a few lickings as well, and I didn’t want a dead body in my living room, so I slit his throat and I stabbed him and then we wrapped the body up in comforters and threw the body out the window,’ Ruggiero testified, quoting what Rackover told him.
Louis Ruggiero (right) arrives to testify this morning at New York State Supreme Court in the case against James Rackover
Ruggiero emerges from the courtroom after testifying that James Rackover had told him he had killed Joseph Communale a day after the crime when they attended Equinox gym
He said Rackover told him he cleaned and bleached his entire apartment after the alleged killing
Ruggiero said Rackover also described how he calmly returned to his apartment after burying Comunale’s body in New Jersey
‘You want to hear the sickest part about it all? I came home and ordered pancakes from a diner and ate them like nothing ever happened,’ Ruggiero quoted Rackover as saying.
He said Rackover told him he cleaned and bleached his entire apartment.
‘In that moment, I looked at him and said, ‘James, you’re a good little Jew boy from Manhattan.
‘You’re not in Goodfellas,’ said Ruggiero, who is the grandson of former Gambino mob family boss Anthony Scotto.
Louis Ruggiero, 24, is the son of Rosanna Scotto and grandson of former Gambino boss Anthony Scotto. He was the star witness in the trial against his former friend James Rackover
Ruggiero, pictured with his father Louis Ruggiero (left); sister, Jenna Ruggiero (third from left); and mother, Rosanna Scotto (right)
Ruggiero testified he did not contact police because he did not initially believe Rackover’s confession.
The next day, however, Ruggiero said he saw police and crime scene trucks outside Rackover’s apartment.
‘That’s when I knew this was real, he testified. He wasn’t lying’.
He first called his mother, Scotto, and then his lawyer, he said, but not police.
Ruggiero had to be subpoenaed by the FBI several months later before meeting with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
Rackover kept his face buried in a pile of documents during most of Ruggiero’s damning testimony.
Comunale’s (pictured) body was found three days after the gruesome murder. His body had been mutilated, burned and buried in a shallow grave in Oceanport, New Jersey, where Dilione lived
The victim’s father Pat Communale was upset as he heard details of the evidence
Earlier in his testimony, Ruggiero described how he met the 27-year-old Rackover.
Ruggiero’s mother was friends with Rackover’s surrogate father, Jeffrey, a jeweler with celebrity clients.
The Comunale family has filed a civil lawsuit against Jeffrey Rackover, claiming he helped cover up the crime.
The lawsuit also claims James and Jeffrey Rackover were lovers.
Assistant District Attorney Peter Casolaro said Jeffrey Rackover ‘masqueraded’ as James’ father and ‘wanted to conceal the true nature’ of their relationship.
Ruggiero, who now lives in Los Angeles, met James Rackover in the summer of 2014.
Ruggiero said they developed a friendship and he had been to Rackover’s 59th Street apartment about 10 times. Ruggiero said he did cocaine with James and Jeffrey Rackover.
Dilione and Rackover are accused of beating, dismembering and burning Comunale’s body, which was found dumped in a shallow New Jersey grave.
Rackover has been charged of second-degree murder, hindering prosecution, tampering with evidence and concealing a human corpse.
Rackover is said to be the ‘surrogate son’ of celebrity jeweler Jeffrey Rackover, who has designed baubles for the likes of Jennifer Lopez and was responsible for Melania Trump’s $3million engagement ring.
Jeffrey Rackover has since distanced himself from his ‘adoptive’ son, but was named in a lawsuit filed in June 2017 alleging he helped to cover up the murder.