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Footnote to murder plot: $50,000 car repair bill

NEW YORK (AP) — A dispute over a bill for vintage car repairs has become a bizarre footnote to a New York City murder-for-hire case.

A Long Island mechanic has testified that the defendant, Joseph Romano, owed him $50,000 when Romano went to jail in 2010 for defrauding investors. To try to cover the bill, the mechanic placed a lien on Romano’s 1968 Camaro.

Federal prosecutors in New York City say Romano schemed behind bars to have the mechanic assaulted as payback. The mechanic testified this week that the FBI staged a photo to look like he’d been beaten outside his shop.

After Romano was shown the photo, prosecutors say he hired the supposed hit man to try to kill the prosecutor and judge in his fraud case.

Romano’s trial resumes Tuesday.

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