Married-to-the-Mob Cash Clash

By Alex Ginsberg
N ew York Post
May 14, 2007

The star witness in last year's sensational mob-cops case is denying bombshell allegations he paid for the wedding of his daughter - now a state judge - with money he borrowed from the mob.

Burton Kaplan claims the opposite: that he lent money to bankroll the nuptials of Luchese underboss Anthony Casso's daughter.

The accusations are part of a battle in which Kaplan is seeking to evict Casso's son from a Mill Basin house that both claim.

It was the son, Anthony Jr., who first made the accusation in court papers that his father had paid for the 1985 wedding of Kaplan's daughter, now sitting state Supreme Court Justice Deborah Kaplan.

But in an affidavit filed last month, Burton Kaplan shot back, claiming that he never borrowed a cent from Casso.

And Kaplan's lawyer, Michael Rosenthal, said in his affidavit that Kaplan told Casso Jr. at a 2006 meeting that Kaplan had lent money to the elder Casso to pay for Casso Jr.'s sister's wedding.

Judge 'Booty'

By Alex Ginsberg
New York Post
March 19, 2007

The judge wasn't just married by the mob. They put a roof over her head, too.

Jailed Luchese underboss Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso claims he paid $80,000 during the 1980s for an apartment for future-acting Supreme Court Justice Deborah Kaplan, the daughter of his pal, Burton Kaplan.

In documents he wrote in federal prison in Florence, Colo., Casso is also said to have confirmed reports that he lent Burton Kaplan - the star witness in the Mob Cops trial - $150,000 for the future judge's 1985 wedding.

And, in a shocking twist, Casso claims that he has twice recently written to the Manhattan judge to enlist her help in preventing her dad from evicting Casso "Gaspipe's" son from his childhood home.

That eviction case, a bizarre postscript to the Mob Cops trial, began last October when Burton Kaplan, a longtime drug trafficker and Casso buddy, started proceedings to boot Casso's son from his Mill Basin, Brooklyn, home.

Casso Sr. allegedly had deeded the property to Burton in 1985 as part of a money-laundering scheme, with the understanding that he would one day return it.

But things went bad when Casso was arrested in 1993 and assumed that Burton had dropped a dime on him, sources said.

Casso put a hit on his former friend, prompting Burton to try to evict the son as payback, Casso Jr.'s lawyer, Bruce Baron, claims in papers fighting the eviction.

Bruce Baron declined to comment specifically on the document involving the judge, but said he believed it could bolster his bid to expose Burton Kaplan's ownership of the Mill Basin house as a fraud.

Deborah Kaplan, who enjoys a good reputation on the bench, has been dogged by constant revelations about her father's past since he emerged as the star witness against Mob Cops Stephen Caracappa and Louis Eppolito.

Through a spokesman, she said Casso's allegations about her home and wedding were news to her.

Burton Kaplan's lawyer declined any comment.

The Casso document is not specific as to the location of the apartment he claims to have purchased, nor the time period.

But, according to a source, Casso did place the $150,000 wedding loan at around the time he gave Burton Kaplan the deed to the house, noting in the document that his then-friend was broke

Additional Reporting by Susan Edelman

Eviction 'Revenge' Vs. Mafia

By Alex Ginsberg
March 6, 2007
New York Post

If you can't settle a vendetta with blood, try real estate.

Burton Kaplan, a Mafia informant in the "mob cops" case, was getting back at his one-time ally, Luchese underboss Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, when he sued to evict the capo's son from his Brooklyn home last year, court papers reveal.

"When asked why, after all these years, he was trying to take the premises . . . Kaplan stated that he's getting even for Anthony Casso Sr. ordering a contract on his [Kaplan's] life," lawyers for Anthony Casso Jr. claim in a countersuit to the eviction filed last week.

According to the countersuit, Kaplan sat down with Casso Jr., at a Brooklyn restaurant in late 2006 and admitted that he'd taken the deed to the house as part of a money-laundering scheme with the father.

It seems the Luchese underboss had "sold" the Mill Basin home to Kaplan in 1985, with the expectation that it would be transferred back to the Cassos at an appropriate time.

Kaplan allegedly told Casso Sr.'s late wife that he'd give the house back for $125,000. That demand was upped to $650,000 in 2006, the papers allege.

Oh, Dad, Now What Did You Do?
Use Mafia Loot to Pay for My Wedding?

By John Marzulli
New York Daily News
Saturday, March 3rd, 2007

She was married by the mob.

A Manhattan judge's lavish wedding was paid for by Mafia mass murderer Anthony (Gaspipe) Casso as a favor to the mobbed-up father of the bride, according to court papers obtained by the Daily News.

The shocking allegation is the latest embarrassment for acting Supreme Court Justice Deborah Kaplan, whose father, Burton Kaplan, had mob ties and was convicted of drug trafficking.

Anthony (Gaspipe) Casso and  In a suit filed yesterday in Brooklyn Supreme Court, Burton Kaplan (r.), who borrowed     Anthony Casso Jr., the son of the jailed-for-life Luchese borrowed $150,000 from         underboss, claims Burton Kaplan recently admitted to him Casso to pay for the wedding  that he borrowed $150,000 from the elder Casso to pay  of his daughter, Deborah       for the wedding.
Kaplan (below)

"She has no knowledge of the allegations contained in the suit," said Bob Liff, a spokesman retained by Deborah Kaplan.

The loan was made around the same time as an alleged sham purchase by Kaplan of Casso's home on E. 72nd St. in Brooklyn as part of a "money laundering deal," the suit filed by attorney Bruce Baron contends.

Casso Jr., who still lives in the house with his wife and infant son, is fighting eviction proceedings started by Kaplan. His attorney Bruce Baron also is seeking a stay of the trial in Brooklyn Housing Court.

Kaplan allegedly fessed up about the wedding loan during a secret sitdown he sought with Casso Jr. at a barbecue restaurant in Brooklyn last October, just one month after Kaplan was sprung on bail as a reward for his testimony
against the Mafia cops.
Justice Deborah Kaplan

Kaplan, 72, guarded by two federal agents at the meeting, allegedly told Casso Jr. that he "partially repaid" the wedding loan, according to the suit.

Deborah Kaplan was elected to Civil Court in 2002 and promoted to the Supreme Court after her father's mob ties became public.

With Barbara Ross


Kaplan also made sham buy of
Casso's home (above) on E. 72nd
St. in Brooklyn.

In a Rat's Nest - Mob Turncoat Bids to Evict Capo's Son

By Susan Edelman
New York Post
November 19, 2006

Slideshow imageNovember 19, 2006 -- Mobster-turned-rat Burton Kaplan is trying to evict the son of his former Mafia partner from a Brooklyn house that he admitted taking in a money-laundering scheme.

Kaplan, who was sprung from prison this year after testifying against the two accused "mob cops," is trying to toss the son of
 Burton Kaplan has filed a notice of   
             of imprisoned Luchese underboss Anthony
termination against Casso's son on this                "Gaspipe" Casso from the Mill Basin home, 
Brooklyn house.
                                       valued at more than 700,000.
Anthony Casso Jr., 33, lives in the house, his childhood home, with his wife and baby. He said Kaplan has never paid a dime for the house or its upkeep.

"This is my house, and I don't deserve to get thrown out with a newborn," Casso Jr. told The Post. "It was fraudulently obtained by Kaplan."

The 3,000-square-foot, two-family house features three bedrooms, a kitchen and 11/2 bathrooms upstairs, plus downstairs a studio
 GET OUT: Burton Kaplan has filed a notice of   with a kitchen and bath.
 termination against Casso's son on this Brooklyn

Casso Jr. said his late mother, Lillian Casso, who bought the house for $60,000 in 1960, was "forced" by her criminal husband to sign it over to Kaplan in 1985 for a purported $450,000 as part of a scam. The Casso family remained in the home without paying any rent to Kaplan.

In 2004, shortly before Kaplan turned state's witness, Lillian visited him in prison to beg him to return the house to her. But Kaplan refused unless she paid him $125,000 up front, Casso Jr. said.

"He was trying to shake her down for her own house," he said.

Joseph Mure, Casso Jr.'s lawyer, said his client pays all the taxes on the house, plus utilities and maintenance.

Kaplan "never paid a single bill," Mure said.

Kaplan acknowledged at the trial this year of NYPD Detectives Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa that in the 1985 house transfer, the elder Casso gave him $200,000 in cash to put in the bank and pay back to Casso in checks, as a fake mortgage. Kaplan admitted it was money-laundering meant to hide Casso's assets from the government.

That same year, Kaplan transferred his own home on 85th Street in Bensonhurst in order to shield his own assets from the government, claimed private investigator Dave Giordano, who has probed Kaplan's dealings on behalf of Eppolito. The house went to his daughter, Deborah Kaplan, now a Manhattan Civil Court judge, Giordano said.

"The government was so hell bent on making a case against two detectives, they chose to ignore the misdeeds of the Kaplan family," Giordano said.

Attorney Michael Rosenthal said Burt Kaplan hired him to file a "notice of termination," the first step in an eviction.

                       Ethics Flap over Judge's 'Family' Home

By Susan Edelman
New York Post
November 19, 2006

Manhattan Judge Deborah Kaplan failed to disclose on ethics forms that she reaped $850,000 last year, when she sold the Brooklyn home that her mobster father, Burton Kaplan, gave her.

The former go-between for a Luchese hit man, Burton put the Bensonhurst duplex in her name in 1985. Deborah grew up in the 85th Street house, and her mother continued to live in it when Burton went to prison for drug trafficking.

Judge Kaplan failed for five years to report that she owned the house after joining the court system in 1998. Then, she left out the June 2005 sale on her required annual financial disclosure form.

She admitted the omission when questioned by The Post on Friday.

"She thanks you for pointing out that she did not report the sale of the house, and she is putting in an amendment now," said her spokesman, George Artz. "She paid all the taxes on the house. Obviously, it was an oversight on her part."

But the state Commission on Judicial Conduct will still likely investigate, said a source familiar with the commission.

                                      Judge Rips Her Mob-Rat Father

By Zach Haberman and Todd Venezia
New York Post
March 17, 2006

Mob rat Burton Kaplan's daughter - a Manhattan Criminal Court judge - lashed out at her dad yesterday for testimony he gave that implied he invited a bunch of mobsters to her wedding so she could get clients as a defense attorney.

"I am very offended that my father thought he could help my career by inviting criminals to my wedding," Judge Deborah Kaplan said through a spokesman yesterday.

The gangland guest list for Kaplan's 1985 wedding to Burton Kaplan (above)            to fellow attorney Harlan Silverstein reads like a              
testifying at the trial of a        
a who's who of La Cosa Nostra.
accused mob cop Louis
Eppolito, said he invited        
Among the partying wise guys were Vittorio
mobsters to the 1985 wedding
"Little Vic" Amuso and Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso,
 of daughter Deborah Kaplan 
the boss and underboss of the Luchese crime family
 to help her career fellow        
The names of the wedding guests - along with pictures
attorney Harlan Silverstein      
of the soiree - were introduced in Brooklyn federal
reads like a who's who of La    
court on Wednesday as her dad testified at the trial
Cosa Nostra.                            
of accused mob cops Louis Eppolito and Stephen

During cross-examination of Burton Kaplan yesterday, one of the cops' lawyers, Ed Hayes, asked him why he invited so many mobsters.

"At the time of my daughter's wedding, I didn't know what she would do down the road," he said. "I thought that she might be a criminal-defense lawyer."

Judge Kaplan took this to mean that her dad was angling to introduce her to potential clients. The St. John's University Law School grad did become a defense attorney before being elected to the bench in 2002.

She only helped the poor as a Legal Aid attorney, she said.

"My career from the beginning was as a lawyer for Legal Aid, representing indigent people," she said through her spokesman, George Arzt.

"My father's actions continue to be very painful to my family."

There has never been any indication that Judge Kaplan was ever involved in her dad's affairs - although she has been aware for most of her life that he's been in trouble with the law.

In 1973, when she was 12, she and her mother pleaded with federal Judge Jack Weinstein - the very judge before whom the elder Kaplan is testifying this week - to reduce a four-year prison term on a theft rap.

When her dad was put on trial for masterminding a $10 million marijuana-trafficking ring, she testified as a character witness in order to save him from serious jail time.

The operation was run out of a warehouse where the judge worked while in law school. But she apparently knew nothing of the crooked business.

Her father - eventually sentenced to 27 years in prison on drug-running charges - apparently wishes he had a better relationship with her.

After saying yesterday that "my daughter adores me," Kaplan wavered on the topic when questioned by defense attorneys.

"I think she still loves me," he added. "But she lost a lot of respect for me."

At one point, Hayes asked him, "You failed her, didn't you."

"Yes," was all he could say.

'Mafia Cops Were Gonna Betray Me'
Drug Trafficker Tells Jury Why He Agreed to Testify
Against 2 Ex-detectives

By John Marzulli
New York Daily News
March 15, 2006

The fed's star witness against Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa testified yesterday that his daughter - a city Criminal Court judge - had for years urged him to rat out the reputed Mafia cops.

But convicted drug dealer Burton Kaplan said he finally decided to cooperate only after he became convinced the former NYPD detectives were going to turn against him.

"My wife and my daughter had been asking me to cooperate from the first day," said Kaplan, 72, referring to a 1996 arrest for marijuana trafficking. "I didn't do it."

Kaplan's daughter Deborah, 45, is a respected jurist who was elected to the bench in 2002. She oversees drug treatment cases in Manhattan.

Her father, a garment manufacturer and mob associate with a long criminal history, said he also resisted entreaties from law enforcement. But something changed in 2004 as he was sitting in a federal jail serving a 27-year sentence.

For one thing, his daughter adopted a baby boy. His grandson is now 2-1/2 years old.

"I wanted someday to be able to spend some time with him," he told a spellbound gallery in Brooklyn Federal Court.

But he added, "I can't honestly say I did this for my family. I did it, in all honesty, because I felt that I was gonna be made the scapegoat in this case."

As the admitted middleman between Luchese crime family underboss Anthony (Gaspipe) Casso and the two detectives, Kaplan's testimony is expected to detail in coming days how Eppolito, 57, and Caracappa, 64, came to be hit men for the mob.

The witness wasted no time showing he had been on intimate terms with both cops as he answered questions put to him by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Henoch.

Peering from large spectacles, the owlish-looking Kaplan identified the defendants right out of the gate, calling Eppolito "Louie" and Caracappa "Steve."

Kaplan said he suffers from a litany of ailments, including a bout with "prostrate" cancer, but he looked tan and his voice was steady.

He said he was introduced to the detectives through Eppolito's cousin Frank Santora, whom Kaplan met in prison around 1982.

After Santora was killed in 1987, Kaplan said he began meeting directly with Eppolito and later Caracappa, despite reservations about doing crimes with cops.

He described their "business relationship" this way: "They brought me information about wiretaps, phone taps, informants, ongoing investigations and imminent arrests."

But two years ago, he became convinced the Brooklyn district attorney's office was going to make a case after all these years, and that the Mafia cops would betray him.

"I seen an awful lot of guys that I thought were standup guys go bad," he said. "I didn't think [Eppolito and Caracappa] would stand up ... and I would be at the defense table now and Steve and Louie would be sitting up here."

Eppolito and Caracappa admit knowing Kaplan, but deny committing any crimes. Outside court, Eppolito put up a strong front. "He doesn't bother me," he said of Kaplan's testimony.

All in the Family:
A Career Criminal and His Daughter the Judge

At the very moment Burton Kaplan the life-long criminal was taking the stand in the Mafia cop trial at Brooklyn Federal Court, his daughter the judge was on the bench in Manhattan Criminal Court.

"Hon. Deborah Kaplan," read the nameplate to the left of the double doors to Part SA, the SA standing for substance abuse.

In her black robes, Judge Kaplan would have made any father proud, even a father such as hers. She is the daughter of a major drug trafficker who has figured in several murders. The guests at her wedding included Mafia boss Anthony (Gaspipe) Casso.

But, she was also a top student at the State University of New York in Albany and at St. John's Law School. She became a senior trial counsel at Legal Aid and went on to help the courts devise drug treatment programs.

In 1997, she testified on her father's behalf in a case involving a $10 million-a-year pot smuggling operation. But she also joined her mother in pressing her father to cooperate with the government. He continued to resist even after being hit with a 27-year sentence.

"My wife and daughter had been asking me to cooperate from that first day and I didn't do it," the father said yesterday.

Finally, fearing the two "Mafia cops" would turn against him, he did as his family had been pushing him to do for almost a decade. It seems that if the story of the Gottis is the sins of the father, then the story of the Kaplans just may be the virtues of the daughter.

For to watch the daughter on the bench in Manhattan the day her father was on the stand in Brooklyn was to see a judge who is unquestionably smart and dedicated, strong but not severe, tough enough but ultimately good-humored.

A detractor might have suggested there was a touch of the princess in the vase of yellow and pink roses set on the bench to her right and the silver-framed family photo placed before her.

But she proved as hardworking as anybody as one case followed another. She summed up the present existence of a drug abuser who appeared before her after absconding from a treatment program he had entered in lieu of jail.

"A life that is less than law abiding," she said.

She offered to give the man another chance, but lest she be taken as a softie, she upped the jail time he would face if he took off again. He scuffled away and the next defendant stepped up, charged with shoplifting as well as drugs.

The prosecutor offered a plea bargain of 60 days. The defense noted that there was a discrepancy between the charge sheet and the supporting affidavit as to whether the defendant actually attempted to leave the store with the merchandise in question.

Kaplan summoned the prosecution and the defense up to the bench for a sidebar. They had a few quiet words and the defense lawyer whispered in his client's ear. The defendant nodded and pleaded guilty in exchange for a sentence of 20 days.

"Thank you, your honor," the defendant said.

Then came a man who was offered five days' community service if he pleaded guilty to drug possession. He relayed a request through his attorney.

"How about five days' jail?" the attorney asked.

"How about seven?" Kaplan asked.

The defendant nodded.

"That's acceptable, your honor," the attorney said.

The defendant was led off in handcuffs and Kaplan moved on to another petty drug case as her father testified at the big Mafia cop case in Brooklyn.

The judge in the Brooklyn case was Jack Weinstein, who also presided at Burton Kaplan's trial for dealing in stolen clothing back in 1973. Deborah Kaplan, then age 12, had appeared with her mother in Weinstein's court, asking him to cut her father's four-year sentence.

Weinstein had already given the father probation on a fraud case six years before and no doubt felt a touch betrayed to see him in trouble again. The most Weinstein would do was recommend Burton Kaplan be considered for parole at the earliest possible date.

The father came out only to betray Weinstein again, but now that little girl is herself a judge, and by all indications a very good one. The Gottis make you say, "It figures," but the Kaplans leave you thinking, "Go figure."

            The Mafia Princess Who Became a NYC Judge

By Susan Edelman
New York Post
May 22, 2005

Deborah Kaplan enjoyed a pampered youth as the "princess" daughter of a mob-connected crook and drug trafficker, and loyally defended him even as she rose to become a Manhattan Criminal Court judge.

She was only 12 when her dedication to dad career criminal Burton Kaplan was first tested.

She and her mother pleaded with U.S. Judge Jack Weinstein in 1973 to reduce Burton's four-year prison term for stealing a truckload of pilfered clothes. Weinstein, who had given Burton probation for fraud in 1967, refused.

But the ordeal helped shape Deborah's future. Described as depressed over her father's absence, she was inspired to become a lawyer "so she could get him out of jail," a one-time friend recalled.

Six years later, her father was busted again, for making and distributing Quaaludes, and spent another three years at a federal prison camp in Allenwood, Pa.

And in 1997, when Burton Kaplan went on trial for masterminding a $10 million marijuana-trafficking ring, Deborah, then a Legal Aid lawyer, came to daddy's defense again, testifying to try to keep him out of prison. He was convicted and sentenced to 27 years.

But it wasn't until Burton, a reputed Luchese associate, recently was revealed as the star witness against accused NYPD mob hit men Stephen Caracappa and Louis Eppolito that the Kaplan family connection publicly emerged: The respected jurist was raised by an alleged gangster.

He doted on his only child his "princess," as she was called at trial.

"She never wanted for anything," said Monica Galpine, a one-time pal who became a prosecution witness against Burton Kaplan. "She was spoiled."

Deborah "had every wish granted," including a lavish wedding at a Long Island catering hall in 1985. Guests included Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso who years later as a Luchese underboss allegedly gave the accused mob cops instructions to kill through Burton Kaplan.

Earlier, Deborah's mom, Eleanor, threw wads of cash into a gift "wishing well" at the young lawyer's bridal shower, recalled Galpine, who worked at Burton's wholesale-clothing business. The cash, she said, looks like the same cash that came from stapled pay envelopes that Eleanor had stashed in her office drawer every week for months.

By all accounts, father and daughter were extremely close. "She loved him enormously," said a family friend.

She benefited from his generosity. While attending SUNY Albany, Burton had his business partner and partner in crime Thomas Galpine, move furniture into Deborah's off-campus apartment each year.

Even after Deborah got married, Galpine did work on the Manhattan apartment where Deborah lived with her husband, lawyer Harlan Silverstein, ex-wife Monica Galpine recalled.

Monica faced off against Deborah at Burton's 1997 drug-dealing and tax-evasion trial. Her ex, Thomas, was also charged in the massive pot empire.

Burton's defense lawyer called Deborah as his star witness noting she was an award-winning "public service" attorney. Deborah painted Monica as a drunk who was "incapable of telling the truth" testimony that Monica calls "lies under oath."

Deborah described her own family as tight-knit.

While in law school at St. John's University, she sometimes helped out at her dad's Staten Island warehouse, doing typing and paperwork.

She later visited on free afternoons while working for Legal Aid, and sometimes slept at the family's Bensonhurst home when her father was away on business, so her mom wouldn't be alone.

Never accused of any illegal activities, she apparently didn't know the warehouse became what prosecutors called the "headquarters" of her father's marijuana operation. The tons of pot he distributed were stored elsewhere, and Burton usually conducted his criminal conversations outside the office.

She acknowledged that her parents' handsome three-family home assessed at $336,000 in 2000 was put in her name as part of a "tax and estate plan." She also said that her dad had loaned her husband $2,800 to finish law school.

While Monica said "thugs" and "unsavory characters" frequented the Kaplan home and business, friends doubted Deborah knew of ongoing criminal activity.

Her skinny, bespectacled dad was a "master of deception," prosecutors said, who lived an outwardly modest life while raking in and hiding millions.

But Judd Burstein, who defended Burton and once hired Deborah as a legal intern, said she was painfully aware of her dad's criminal past.

"Her family circumstances have always been a difficult cross to bear, and she did so gracefully," he said.

Her colleagues said she never discussed her father.

"She is a nice person. She is a fun person. And she's one fantastic judge," said Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juanita Bing Newton. "There is no one who is harder-working than Debbie Kaplan."

Deborah declined comment last week after issuing a statement: "I am deeply saddened to learn of the conduct attributed to my father. This is a painful time for me and my family and we ask that our privacy be respected."

Deborah Kaplan is widely praised as a lawyer and judge.

As a Legal Aid attorney in 1996, she helped win the reversal of a manslaughter conviction against a client who fired a stray bullet that killed a 9-year-old girl sleeping in her family's car, citing trial "errors."

Deborah gained prestige when named president of the Women's Bar Association of the State of New York in 2000. Plugged into Democratic circles, she was elected to the bench in 2002, and joined the Criminal Court.

She handled the case of an out-of-work accountant who stabbed an East Village bouncer to death for enforcing the smoking ban in 2003.

Her duties include overseeing a special drug court for nonviolent offenders.

Court spokesman David Bookstaver called her one of most "straitlaced, serious and professional" women on the bench.

"We cannot blame the children for the sins of the parents," he said.

Additional reporting by David Hafts, Murray Weiss and Brad Hamilton

Judge's Dad Is Mobster
Career Criminal Will Testify Against Alleged Mafia Cops

By John Marzulli
New York Daily News
May 12, 2005

Deborah Kaplan

An imprisoned Luchese crime family associate who suddenly agreed to turn into a stoolie has been hiding another surprise: His daughter is a Manhattan Criminal Court judge.

Burton Kaplan, a career criminal doing 27 years behind bars, will be the star witness against alleged Mafia cops Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa.

Yet few people know that his daughter is Deborah Kaplan, a judge with an impeccable reputation as a jurist and a lawyer.

Sources say that not even her bosses made the connection that Judge Kaplan was Burton Kaplan's daughter.

Burton Kaplan was the Luchese crime family's go-between, ferrying messages to and from the alleged Mafia cops, charged with leaking confidential information and taking part in at least eight murders.

In response to questions from the Daily News, Deborah Kaplan suggested she knew nothing of her father's alleged mob ties and his role in the case against the alleged Mafia cops.

"I am deeply saddened to learn of the conduct attributed to my father," the judge said in a statement issued by a state court spokesman yesterday. "This is a painful time for me and my family and we ask that our privacy be respected."

Her father's shady past shouldn't have been much of a secret to the judge.

For one thing, former Luchese underboss Anthony (Gaspipe) Casso attended her lavish wedding more than a decade ago ata Long Island catering hall, according to a knowledgeable source.

And she even testified as a defense witness at her father's 1997 drug trial. Despite her testimony, her father was convicted of dealing 48,000 pounds of marijuana.

Today, Kaplan is in charge of drug treatment programs in the state courts. A former Legal Aid lawyer who was active in Democratic Party politics, she was elected to a Civil Court judgeship in 2002 and later reassigned to Criminal Court.

Her 2003 swearing-in was attended by several top state judges, including Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman, Appellate Division Justice Betty Weinberg Ellerin and her longtime friend and immediate boss, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juanita Bing Newton.

Newton, who also is the administrative judge for the city's Criminal Court, said Kaplan is "one of the hardest working, honest, most diligent judges we have. Her character is beyond reproach."

With Barbara Ross

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