NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A decorated NYPD officer accused of hiring a hitman to kill her ex-husband and a child was formally charged in federal court in Central Islip on Friday.
Wiping away tears, 34-year-old Valerie Cincinelli entered a plea of not guilty to two counts of murder for hire and one count of obstruction of justice.
Her attorney is hinting she may have been framed, reports CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff.
Cincinelli was indicted Thursday on charges she tried to hire someone to kill her 32-year-old estranged husband and her current boyfriend’s 15-year-old daughter.
In addition, she is also accused of trying to cover her tracks by smashing the iPhones she allegedly used to order the hit.
Relatives of the NYPD officer ignored reporters’ questions but their presence in court was a clear show of support. Cincinelli is an officer with the NYPD’s Viper Unit, which monitors cameras in NYCHA buildings.
The accused cop, wearing inmate blue, acknowledged them with a wave and a stream of tears.
“Everybody needs to afford this woman a presumption of innocence and wait a short while, our investigation is already bearing fruit,” said defense attorney John Kousouros.
There are two sides to every story, he said, predicting evidence will exonerate her.
“The essential accuser in this case is an individual whose credibility will be very strenuously and very credibly attacked,” said Kousouros, talking about Cincinelli’s boyfriend who went to police revealing her alleged plot.
She allegedly “hatched and carried out a plot” in her Oceanside home to “hire a hitman to murder” an ex-husband and the boyfriend’s daughter, according to prosecutors. In intercepted cell phone calls and on video she allegedly ordered the hits, plotting to kill the daughter as she left school.
Prosecutors says there’s video and audio evidence she paid a hitman to murder estranged husband Isaiah Carvalho, who said on Good Morning America he didn’t believe it either until agents staged his death in a sting operation.
“I didn’t want to believe it, but apparently its true,” he said. “They ended up taking me to an undisclosed location, and had me fake my death.”
WEB EXTRA: Read the complaint (.pdf)
“This has taken a tremendous toll on an innocent woman, she misses her children,” said Kousouros. “By all accounts she’s a wonderful mother.”
Cincinelli has made headlines before: Two years ago she helped foil a bank robbery in Queens. Now the NYPD officer is making news for all the wrong reasons. Prosecutors say the evidence is overwhelming.
If convicted, Cincinelli faces up to 40 years in prison. She has repeatedly denied the charges.
Cincinelli continues to be held without bail, deemed a danger to her alleged would-be victims. Her attorney says he will apply for bail, as she is the one in danger as a police officer now behind bars.