Dalia Dippolito's Lover Backed Her Reality-TV Defense
Many observers have wondered why Dalia Dippolito chose a reality television defense to explain why she plotted to have her husband killed. Her attorney argued that Dalia's attempt to hire a hit man was part of an elaborate ruse designed to make her husband, Michael, a TV star (like the Balloon Boy ploy, except with sex and murder).
Michael Dippolito vehemently denied this allegation, and the jury in the Palm Beach Circuit Court case was equally skeptical. In May, Dalia was convicted of solicitation to commit murder. Judge Jeffrey Colbath, who called Dalia "pure evil," sentenced her to 20 years in prison.
Why did Dippolito choose such a novel, and unsuccessful, defense strategy? That's anyone guess, but a clue can be found in the sworn deposition of her lover, Michael Stanley.
Stanley, 39, is a construction contractor who dated Dalia just before she met Michael
Dippolito. Dalia and Stanley moved to California together and lived
there for several months before they broke up and she returned to
Florida in 2008.
Phone records indicate they resumed a steamy sexting relationship -- Stanley denies they were actually hooking up -- shortly after Dalia and Michael Dippolito got married in January 2009.
Dalia asked Stanley to help her freeze the bank account of Michael Dippolito, who was on probation for organized fraud. Dalia also discussed planting drugs on Dippolito so that he would be arrested for violating his probation. After all those plots failed, Dalia was arrested by the Boynton Beach police for hiring a hit man to kill Dippolito.
In his deposition, Stanley testified that Dalia complained to him about her new husband, saying he was "abusive" and "there were things he wanted her to do that she didn't want to do."
Eventually, Dalia told him Dippolito "was forcing her to do this reality stunt that she didn't want to do." The stunt, Stanley explained, was that "they wanted to perpetrate this illusion of a hit on Michael for reality TV, with Michael and this other actor fella."
Stanley urged Dalia to call the police, but she said she was afraid Dippolito would hurt her family if she ratted on him.
Palm Beach Assistant State Attorney Elizabeth Parker, hearing Stanley recount this version of events in his April deposition, noted that nearly two years had passed since Dalia was arrested, yet this was the first she was hearing of a reality-TV plot.
"Did you ever call the Boynton Beach Police Department and say, I have information about what really happened here?" Parker asked.
"No," Stanley said.
"Did you ever contact the FBI, the sheriff's office, the DEA, anybody else with this -- "
"No," Stanley said. "I figured nature would take its course. I was surprised it dragged on."
"What do you mean by, 'nature would take its course'?" Parker asked.
"They would say this was a joke and go from there," Stanley said.
"You realize we're about two years into this and this is the first time this story has come out?" Parker said.
Interestingly, Dalia's attorney never asked Stanley to testify during her trial. Why, if his story was true, didn't he deliver it on the witness stand?
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.