Brazilians may re-investigate Gatti death
A lawyer representing Arturo Gatti's widow says the investigation into the boxer's death has not been formally reopened even though Brazilian prosecutors say they are "analyzing" the case again.
The Associated Press was told by a Crown spokesman on Thursday that a prosecutor will take a second look at the 2009 death, which was ruled as a suicide.
This week, a private report commissioned by Gatti's former manager and released in New Jersey disputed that ruling and called the death a homicide.
Lawyer Pierre-Hugues Fortin, who is representing widow Amanda Rodrigues at a civil trial in Montreal over the late boxer's fortune, says the case hasn't been reopened.
Fortin said that as far as he knows, no one has filed a motion in Brazilian court calling for the case to be reviewed.
"I was asked if there was a reopening of the case in Brazil and my answer is no, there is no reopening," Fortin said.
"I don't know if the Gatti family or anyone else in Brazil wishes to present a motion before the courts but this is not the case as we speak."
No members of the Gatti clan or their Montreal lawyer, Carmine Mercadante, commented on the Brazilian report.
In July 2009, three weeks after the 37-year-old Gatti was found dead in a hotel room in a seaside resort, police ruled his death a suicide.
They initially arrested Rodrigues, saying she had strangled him with her purse strap as he slept.
The lead police investigator at the time did not say why he decided the death was instead a suicide.
A judge then ordered the release of Rodrigues, citing the police investigation and writing that "the victim took his own life, committing suicide by hanging."
In Brazil on Thursday, a spokesman with the Pernambuco state prosecutor's office said prosecutor Paula Ismail may ask for the U.S. investigators' findings. She could bring murder charges or decide to uphold the original investigation's findings that Gatti killed himself.
"She will make an announcement after she is done analyzing the evidence presented after the initial investigation," said Jacques Cerqueira, who noted that the case was never technically closed.
He said Ismail could also ask for additional investigation.
Responding to a question, Cerquiera said charges against Rodrigues are possible.
Meanwhile, the civil trial continued on Thursday with testimony from Gatti's friends aimed at painting Rodrigues as an unstable, volatile figure who despised the Gatti family and frequently argued with her husband.
Friends have said Gatti often stated he was unhappy with Rodrigues and wanted to end the relationship in the months leading up to his death.
Tony Rizzo, a friend and business partner of Gatti, testified that Rodrigues pressured Gatti to change his will in March 2009, two months before a new will was drafted.
Rizzo said Gatti told him Rodrigues wanted everything left to her, meaning his two children would get nothing.
"Amanda wants me to leave everything to her and I'll never do that," Rizzo said Gatti told him.
But just weeks before his death, he did exactly that.
Meanwhile, lawyers for Rodrigues continued to argue that the fighting was the result of Gatti's heavy drinking and all-night carousing.
Exhibits filed at the trial showed Gatti would use his credit cards to spend between $400 and more than $2,000 in a single evening.
Confronted with one of the pricier tabs — $2,279 at a bar north of Montreal — one friend testified the amount "sounds excessive."
But Vito Sciangula, a DJ who went out frequently with Gatti in the months before his death, chalked up the huge bills to Gatti's bon-vivant attitude and his frequent purchase of champagne and various other kinds of alcohol for those around him.
He testified that Gatti's drink of choice more often than not was Bud Light — and not to excess.
"If you're going out, if you're buying champagne every night, it's a lot of money," Sciangula said.
He maintained that Gatti didn't have a drinking problem.
"Arturo wasn't a drunk, he'd have a few beers and a couple of laughs," Sciangula said.
With files from The Associated Press