Nov. 5 (UPI) -- The former defense attorney on one of the most controversial murder trials in recent years was found guilty in federal court Friday of attempting to fly a planeload of cocaine across international borders.
Todd Macaluso, best-known for being on the defense team that won an acquittal for Casey Anthony, the Florida mother accused of killing her baby in 2011, was convicted of conspiracy and drug trafficking by a Brooklyn federal jury. Prosecutors said Macaluso was using his private plane to work with other drug traffickers to arrange a pick up of about 3,000 pounds of cocaine in Ecuador, which would then be unloaded in Honduras.
Macaluso maintains his innocence and has said he was exploring a real estate venture, not attempting to run drugs.
"Mr. Macaluso was disappointed with the verdict but looks forward to being vindicated in future proceedings," said his attorney, Michael Gold, according to the New York Post.
Macaluso had fallen on hard times recently. After winning the Anthony case, Macaluso was busted for wire fraud when federal authorities found he defrauded his clients and investors "by entering into funding agreements that put his clients' personal injury cases up as collateral without their knowledge or consent," according to the FBI.
After a five month prison sentence in 2015, Macaluso was disbarred and placed on probation. And according to the Los Angeles Times, he filed for bankruptcy under the duress of debt, unpaid taxes and fines.
An avid pilot, Macaluso earned money by flying wealthy people on his private pane from southern California to a resort in Mexico with the permission of his probation officers. During this time, authorities said he was contacted by drug traffickers, apparently to do drug runs with his plane.
But in November 2016, when Macaluso and hhis co-conspirators flew from Tijuana, Mexico to Haiti to meet with others, they were arrested by Haitian law enforcement. Macaluso was indicted five days later in New York.