Gordon Gemma (l.), father of Max Gemma, and Lawrence Dilione, Jr. (r.), father of Lawrence Dilione, in the hallway of Manhattan Supreme Court on Thursday, March 8, 2018. Their sons are on trial for the murder of Joseph Comunale. (Jefferson Siegel/New York Daily News)
One father's son was brutally beaten and stabbed to death.
The other father, a lawyer, has been trying keep his son out of jail and was pulled into a dramatic pre-trial hearing in a murder case because he represented his kid's childhood pal when cops came knocking with questions in 2016.
Both men were in Manhattan Supreme Court Thursday on opposite sides of a proceeding.
Joseph Comunale’s father, Pat, covered his face as grim details of his son’s death were discussed during the cross-examination of Gordon Gemma, whose son Max, 30, is charged with assisting in the cover-up and misleading investigators.
Gemma was asked about his son’s account of what happened Nov. 16, 2016, when Hofstra student Joseph Comunale, 26, was beaten and stabbed to death after a night of out-of-control partying at a tony Sutton Place apartment.
Max Gemma has been charged with hindering prosecution and tampering with physical evidence. He is pals with murder suspect Lawrence Dilione, 29, who, along with James Rackover, 26, is charged with the murder of Comunale, whose body was dumped and burned in a shallow New Jersey grave.
The elder Gemma, also a former Oceanport, N.J., mayor, was called as a witness in a bid by Dilione’s attorneys to have key statements tossed before trial because his lawyers were not present when the suspect started speaking to cops.
“I told the detectives you can’t speak to Larry Dilione until such a time as the other attorney comes,” Gordon Gemma said on cross-examination.
He was also asked about his son’s statement that Rackover “smashed (Comunale’s) head on the floor.”
The exchange brought the victim’s father to tears.