Trenton cop’s wife blames leaks to media for his suicide
TRENTON — The wife of a Trenton police officer who committed suicide may sue the city and Mercer County, blaming for leaking information about a prostitution investigation against him.
In a tort notice by Rene Pistelli-Leopardi described by NJ.com, she alleges "Presently unknown" agents of the Trenton Police Department released details of an internal investigation into Ed Leopardi, specifically pointing to a Trentonian article. She says the article contained false information.
"Immediately upon learning of the articles' publications, Mr. Leopardi committed suicide at his home," it says.
Shortly before Leopardi's death, 6 ABC reported that officers who work for the department’s K9 unit were under investigation after a prostitute told police she had “visited” officers at their facility. The prostitute was reportedly arrested on an unrelated charge, and unsuccessfully turned to officers for help — then named names once they refused to assist her.
Neither the 6 ABC report, nor another referencing it by NJ1015.com, referenced Leopardi by name at the time. NJ1015.com later reported on Leopardi's death, and at time referenced the allegations that he was among those under investigation.
According to a Gloucester County Democrat website promoting his run for mayor in Franklin Township, Leopardi was a 20-year veteran of the force, a Franklin Township committeeman and former mayor. He was a former Little League coach and umpire and a former EMT. He was married and has three children, according to the site.
Photojournalist Brian McCarthy, who often provides images to NJ1015.com, called Leopardi a “cop’s cop” and remembered him getting involved in a blood drive for Trenton officers Edgar Rios and James Letts, who were shot during a domestic violence incident in 2013.
McCarthy recalled Leopardi making calls that got the media to the event and blood donations well over their goal.
A tort notice is a legally required precursor to suing a government agency; not all notices are followed by actual lawsuits.
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