NJ political operative pleads guilty in 2014 murder-for-hire
TRENTON – A political consultant from Sussex County pleaded guilty Tuesday to hiring two men to kill someone who had worked for him on various political campaigns.
U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger announced that Sean Caddle, 44, of Hamburg pleaded guilty by videoconference to one count of conspiracy to commit murder for hire. He faces a maximum potential penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Prosecutors didn’t identify the victim, but an internet search shows that Michael Galdieri, 52, of Jersey City was killed in his home on the date in 2014 cited in the news release. Multiple news organizations cited sources that confirmed Galdieri was the victim in this case.
“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.”
“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,” said George Crouch Jr. special agent in charge of the FBI field office in Newark.
“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,” Crouch said.
Galdieri had been a political consultant for elected officials and had worked for Caddle’s consulting firm. He was the son of the late Sen. James Galdieri and the grandson of Assemblyman James Galdieri. The New Jersey Globe reported that Galdieri ran for Jersey City Council in 2005 but lost.
Caddle was a longtime political consultant for politicians including former Sen. Ray Lensiak, D-Union, including his 2017 campaign for the Democratic nomination for governor.
Caddle admitted to hiring a Connecticut man – identified in court as George Bratsenis –in April 2014 to commit the murder. That man hired an accomplice from Philadelphia, Bomani Africa, 61, also known as Baxter Keys, who pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court.
They traveled to Galdieri’s apartment in Jersey City on May 22, 2014, stabbed him to death, then set fire to his apartment.
The next day, Caddle paid the Connecticut man thousands of dollars in the parking lot of a diner in Elizabeth. He had already paid him several thousand dollars upfront when the co-conspirators agreed to the plot.
U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez allowed Caddle to remain out on $1 million unsecured bond, home detention with electronic monitoring and travel restrictions.
Michael Symons is State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.