‘This was a callous and violent crime, and this defendant is as responsible as the two men who wielded the knife,’ says US Attorney Philip Sellinger
New Jersey political consultant Sean Caddle has worked for a number of high-profile clients, including a US senator. He has also, by his own admission, arranged a murder.
Mr Caddle, 44, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one count of conspiracy to commit murder for hire. The charge dates back eight years – according to the Department of Justice, Mr Caddle hired two hit men to kill an unnamed associate of his in 2014.
“This was a callous and violent crime, and this defendant is as responsible as the two men who wielded the knife,” US Attorney Philip Sellinger said in a statement. “The defendant has admitted arranging and paying for a murder by two other people. His admission of guilt means he will now pay for his crime.”
In April 2014, the DOJ says, Mr Caddle recruited a man from Connecticut – identified only as “CC-1” – to carry out the killing. CC-1 then brought in a friend from Philadelphia – “CC-2” – to help with the job.
In May, CC-1 and CC-2 traveled to the Jersey City home of Mr Caddle’s former associate, stabbed him to death, and set fire to his apartment.
The next day, the DOJ says, Mr Caddle met with CC-1 in the parking lot of a diner in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and gave him “thousands of dollars.” CC-1 then gave some of the money to CC-2.
Mr Caddle’s sentencing is scheduled for 7 June. He could face up to life in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The DOJ’s press release did not identify the victim, but The New York Times found that the circumstances of his death matched those of Michael Galdieri, another New Jersey political operative.
“Today’s guilty plea will bring some sense of closure to the victim’s family who have been left to wonder – for nearly eight years – who murdered their loved one,” FBI agent George Crouch Jr, who led the investigation, said on Tuesday. “This should serve as a warning to criminals and potential criminals, alike – while you are going about your life, thinking you ‘got away with it,’ the FBI is piecing together the facts that will serve as your undoing.”
As a consultant, Mr Caddle served a number of prominent Democrats, including Senator Robert Menendez and former state senator Ray Lesniak.
“I just spoke to him today. He didn’t say anything,” Mr Lesniak told Politico after learning the news. “He’s an immense political talent. It’s so hard to believe.”