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MURDER FOR HIRE: NJ Political Operative Admits Paying Hit Men To Kill Longtime Associate

Sean Caddle (left), Michael Galdieri (the victim)
Sean Caddle (left), Michael Galdieri (the victim) Photo Credit: YouTube (Caddle) / Riotto Funeral Home (Galdieri)

A New Jersey-based political consultant admitted Tuesday that he hired two hitmen to kill a longtime associate from Hudson County who had worked for him on various election campaigns, federal authorities said.

Sean Caddle, 44, a former aide to former State Sen. Ray Lesniak (D-Elizabeth) paid the killers -- one from Connecticut, the other from Pennsylvania -- to get rid of Michael Galdieri, the son of former State Sen. James Galdieri (D-Jersey City) and a prominent figure in local Hudson County politics.

Galdieri, 52, was stabbed to death in May 2014 before his Jersey City apartment was set on fire, authorities said.

U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger didn't identify Galdieri by name in announcing Caddle's guilty plea. 

He also didn't name the killers -- although court papers identify them as co-conspirators, indicating possible cooperation with the U.S. Attorney's Office.

“This was a callous and violent crime, and this defendant is as responsible as the two men who wielded the knife,” Sellinger said. “There is no more serious crime than the taking of another person’s life. The defendant has admitted arranging and paying for a murder by two other people. His admission of guilt means he will now pay for his crime.”

Caddle paid the Connecticut killer thousands of dollars "to commit a murder on [his] behalf...then recruited a longtime accomplice from Philadelphia to join the plot" in April 2014, the U.S. attorney said.

The following month, the men stabbed the victim to death and then set fire to his Jersey City apartment, Sellinger said.

Firefighters found Galdieri's body after dousing the flames at 158 Mallory St. on May 22. His cold-case killing had remained a mystery since then.

Once the deed was done, Caddle admitted, he met the Connecticut hit man in the parking lot of an Elizabeth diner. Caddle said he paid that man thousands of dollars, which Sellinger said he then shared with his Pennsylvania partner. 

U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez allowed Caddle to remain free on $1 million unsecured bond, with home detention, electronic monitoring and travel restrictions, following Tuesday's guilty plea in Newark to conspiracy to commit murder for hire.

"Today’s guilty plea will bring some sense of closure to the victim’s family who have been left to wonder – for nearly eight years – who murdered their loved one,” FBI Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. said. “This should serve as a warning to criminals and potential criminals, alike – while you are going about your life, thinking you ‘got away with it,’ the FBI is piecing together the facts that will serve as your undoing.”

Sellinger credited Crouch's special agents with the investigation that led to the plea, secured by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee M. Cortes Jr., chief of his Health Care Fraud Unit, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Farrell, chief of his Cybercrime Unit. He also thanked the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office for its assistance.

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