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Lawyer says suspect in mob boss killing believed he was on mission from Trump
A New York man charged with murdering the alleged boss of the Gambino Mafia family believed he was carrying out a mission on behalf of President Trump, his lawyer said in court documents, according to The New York Times.
Anthony Comello of Staten Island allegedly shot and killed Francesco "Frankie Boy" Cali outside Cali's home in March, which law enforcement initially suspected was the opening salvo in a turf war after decades of relative peace between New York's five major families.
However, according to a filing from his attorney, Robert C. Gottlieb, Comello was not affiliated with the Mafia. Instead, he believed Cali was an agent of the "deep state" and that he was authorized by Trump to arrest him. Gottlieb said Comello had brought handcuffs with him and shot Cali only after he refused to submit to a citizen's arrest and reached for his waistband.
Gottlieb, who sought to prove in the filing that Comello was not liable by reason of insanity, wrote that his client was a subscriber to the "QAnon" conspiracy theory, which claims that Trump is secretly working against a powerful network of pedophiles who control world institutions, according to the Times.
"Mr. Comello's support for 'QAnon' went beyond mere participation in a radical political organization," Gottlieb wrote. "It evolved into a delusional obsession."
Comello reportedly had planned to conduct several citizen's arrests of people he believed to be in on the conspiracy, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) on two separate occasions.
Gottlieb wrote that his client also contacted federal marshals at Manhattan's Federal District Court to ask them to aid him in capturing Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), believing they were nearby, according to the Times. Law enforcement confirmed both incidents.
How Comello came to believe the Mafia was also connected to the conspiracy theory, which generally focuses on prominent Democratic politicians or liberal figures, remains unclear, according to the Times.