April 27, 2011 — -- The Florida woman on trial for allegedly hiring a hit man to kill her husband is using an unusual defense: it was a scripted ploy to snag a reality TV show.
Dalia Dippolito, 30, is facing charges of solicitation to commit first-degree murder. In 2009, she allegedly hired an undercover police officer posing as a hit man to kill her husband, Mike Dippolito.
In opening statements Tuesday, Dalia Dippolito's defense team claimed that the hiring of a hit man to kill her husband was a big hoax and that Dalia Dippolito's husband, Mike, was in on the scheme. The defense argues that the couple was committing the hoax to get a reality show.
"The plot for the contract killing of Mike Dippolito was never real," attorney Michael Salnick said.
Mike Dippolito denied that, taking the stand and testifying that he was absolutely shocked to discover that six months into his marriage, his wife was plotting to have him killed.
In 2009, detectives set up an undercover sting operation which included telling Dalia Dippolito that her husband had been killed. All of the sting was caught on camera by the crew of the reality show "Cops."
Video showed Dalia Dippolito crying when she learned her husband had been murdered and asking to see him. Surveillance video caught her planning the murder.
"I just need to make sure everything is going to be taken care of," she told the police officer posing as the hit man.
The defense argues that it was Mike Dippolito, a convicted felon on probation, who orchestrated the entire thing.
Defense attorneys argued Mike Dippolito was a fan of shows like the "Jersey Shore" and "Cheaters" which lead him to plan a fake murder for hire so he and his wife could get their own reality show.
"It was a stunt that Michael Dippolito, whether he'll admit it or not, hoped to capture the attention of someone in reality TV," Salnick said. "Michael Dippolito's hoax to achieve fame and fortune was a bad prank."
Dalia Dippolito expected her husband to tell investigators it was a hoax after she was arrested, defense lawyers said.
While the defense might argue that her husband craved the attention of a reality show, Dalia Dippolito was the one with the reality TV experience. As a teenager, she appeared on an expisode of "The Jamie Kennedy Experiment" that included a fake hit man.
In the prosecution's opening statement, Dalia Dippolito was portrayed as a cold blooded killer.
"He asks her, 'are you sure you want to kill him?' As if she had ice running through her veins, she says, 'there's no changing. I'm determined already," attorney Elizabeth Parker said.
ABC legal analyst Dan Abrams said that for the defense of reality TV to work, Dalia Dippolito will have to take the stand.
"You always say to jurors, you cannot hold it against the defendant if she doesn't testify. I think in this particular case that if she doesn't testify, the jurors will hold it against her because it's so dependent on what was happening in her mind throughout this that I think to believe the defense without her testimony is very tough."
Abrams said that Dalia Dippolito's defense team will have to overcome some overwhelming evidence including text messages sent to a boyfriend and preparations made during the plot including removing jewelry from her home.
"I've seen a lot of wild and crazy defenses in my day and this is certainly one of the wildest and one of the craziest," Abrams said.