NJ Democratic operative sentenced to 24 years in prison for ‘heinous’ murder-for-hire killing of colleague

News & Politics

A New Jersey Democratic operative was sentenced to 24 years in federal prison on Thursday for the murder-for-hire killing of a colleague.

Sean Caddle, a 45-year-old former Democratic campaign consultant, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit murder for hire in the killing of 52-year-old Michael Galdieri.

Caddle had been confined to house arrest since he was charged in January 2022.

The Associated Press reported, “Prosecutors had requested 15 years in prison for Caddle, who pleaded guilty to murder for hire, due to his cooperation with them on numerous investigations. Caddle’s attorneys had asked for a nine-year sentence.”

U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez said during sentencing, “This is one of the most unusual and certainly one of the most heinous crimes I’ve encountered as a judge. It’s a coldhearted killing. He killed a friend.”

Vazquez was suspicious of the plea deal, noting that Caddle had started secretly recording others before he was accused of Galdieri’s murder, which could possibly help him if he was caught.

“He was already looking to protect his own skin,” Vazquez said, adding that Caddle’s cooperation with the FBI was “self-serving.”

“This was a premeditated and planned murder … done for a paltry sum of money,” prosecutor Lee Cortes said in court. “He was so self-obsessed that he would have an irreplaceable human life ended simply for fear for his business. There’s no amount of regret or cooperation that can make up for that.”

Caddle’s cooperation led to the indictment of Tony Teixeira, former chief of staff to New Jersey Senate president Nicholas Scutari – a Democrat. Last year, Teixeira confessed to bilking money from campaigns that he worked on with Caddle between 2014 and 2018. The pair would reportedly overcharge for Caddle’s services. Teixeira will be sentenced next month.

The Philadelphia Inquirer described Caddle as a “prolific Democratic campaign consultant” and “a street-level political operative who’d made a name for himself in North Jersey politics as a consultant adept in the shadowy world of super PAC spending.”

The news outlet added, “His lawyer’s statements — that his client was cooperating in that and other investigations — set off a frenzy over what Caddle might tell the FBI about the powerful politicians he’d once worked for, including U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez and former State Sen. Ray Lesniak.”

Caddle confessed last year to hiring two hit men to kill Galdieri – a colleague and supposed friend. Caddle said he paid $15,000 to the two contract killers in the murder-for-hire plot.

On May 22, 2014, the two hit men fatally stabbed Galdieri at his Jersey City apartment. They then doused the apartment with gasoline and set it on fire.

Caddle claimed that Galdieri had been blackmailing him. He said Galdieri had threatened to “go public about certain things he had seen, done, and heard while working for Caddle on campaigns.”

Facing possible political ruin, Caddle allegedly orchestrated the death of Galdieri.

Caddle might have gotten away with the murder-for-hire killing if it weren’t for a 2014 bank robbery in Connecticut. The suspects in the bank robbery, George Bratsenis and Bomani Africa, informed investigators that they had information about a murder committed earlier that year.

Bratsenis, now 74, and Africa, 62, were both previously serving time in a New Jersey prison when they met fellow inmate James Caddle – the brother of Sean Caddle.

Once out of prison, Bratsenis began working on campaigns for Sean Caddle. The Democratic operative told Bratsenis that he was aware of his “extensive” criminal history and asked if he could find someone to commit murder for $15,000, according to court documents. The hit men were paid $4,000 up front and given a month to take out Galdieri, prosecutors said.

The hit men repeatedly stabbed Galdieri in the neck, head, and torso.

For the murder of Galdieri, Bratsenis was sentenced to 16 years and Africa to 20 years.

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NJ Spotlight News: June 29, 2023youtu.be

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