ABKLAW In The News: 10 YEARS AGO TODAY – ACQUITTAL – William Rapetti NOT GUILTY in crane collapse
Crane man cleared
The master rigger blamed by prosecutors for causing the horrific East Side crane collapse that killed six of his friends and a tourist from Florida was acquitted of charges yesterday that could have put him in jail for up to 15 years.
“Not guilty,” Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Roger Hayes repeated again and again as a stoic William Rapetti’s shoulders relaxed — and his wife melted into tears behind him in the audience.
Rapetti was charged with seven counts of manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, assault and reckless endangerment stemming from the March 15, 2008, collapse onto an apartment building on East 51st Street. Prosecutors said it was his shoddy job of securing the nearly 200-foot crane that led to the collapse. Rapetti’s lawyer, Arthur Aidala, contended that other problems with the structure — having nothing to do with his client — led to the devastating fall.
Aidala said his client was “not happy, but relieved.”
Aidala said his client had received support from many of the tragic workers’ widows, including one who told him the only thing that could make her loss worse would have been Rapetti going to jail for it.
Rigger acquitted in deadly ’08 crane collapse
A crane rigger was acquitted Thursday of manslaughter charges stemming from the collapse of a New York City crane in 2008, a disaster that killed six construction workers and a tourist, hurt two dozen others and left a swath of damage in midtown Manhattan.
A judge delivered the verdict in the trial of William Rapetti of Massapequa Park, who was also acquitted of failing to file some city business taxes.
He was the only person to face criminal charges in the collapse, which occurred near the U.N. headquarters.
The seven manslaughter counts against him were punishable by a total of as many as 15 years in prison. He declined to comment as he left court.
“I can’t say we’re happy; we’re relieved,” defense lawyer Arthur Aidala said. Rapetti was devastated by the accident, he said, especially because six of those killed were co-workers, several of them men he counted among his closest friends.
William Rapetti Not Guilty in Deadly Midtown Crane Collapse
Rigging boss William Rapetti’s company was responsible for the 400-foot crane at a 303 East 51st St. site that buckled and fell into a Turtle Bay townhouse during mid-day construction on March 15, 2008. He faced manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and other charges.
As the judge repeated “not guilty” for each count, Rapetti bowed his head and sobbed, as more than a dozen family members and friends.
He embraced his legal team as the judge finished reading the verdict without much further comment.
“I can’t say we’re happy. We’re relieved,” said Rapetti’s lawyer, Arthur Aidala. He said his clients and the dead workers were “best friends. They were at each others’ weddings. They were at each others’ holidays. They were at each others’ daughters’ birthday parties.”
Rapetti, 49, plans to visit the graves of his fallen friends and co-workers on Friday, Aidala said.