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Who Killed Major Holohan

We do not know. What we do know is that Aldo Icardi did not kill Major William V. Holohan. In his book, American Master Spy, Aldo Icardi explains in detail his version of events that fateful night in 1944 on the shores of Lago Maggiore in Northern Italy. Who was actually responsible for the murder has been the topic of much discussion and debate since the end of World War II.

During his investigation of the Icardi case in anticipation of the perjury trial in 1956 (see U.S. v. Icardi), Edward Bennett Williams, one of America's most skilled trial lawyers and later successful businessman and owner of the Washington Redskins, obtained an admission from Vincenzo Moscatelli. Moscatelli was the leader of Communist partisan group operating in Northern Italy during the final stages of World War II.

During his opening statement in U.S. v. Icardi, Williams stated :

 "I quote from the official CID report of its investigation, 'The disappearance of Major Holohan was a political move engineered by the Communist group headed by Moscatelli, a man of few scruples who was capable of weakening the opposite party in order to enrich his group.'" One Man's Freedom, Edward Bennett Williams, Athenuem, New York. 1962, Page 44.

Williams was able to support this statement because he and Robert Maheu, an intelligence operative and later to become famous as Howard Hughes' confident and second in command, had traveled to Europe to investigate the matter in preparation for the perjury trial. They interviewed Moscatelli, who was then a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, in a restaurant in Rome. Here is what transpired according to Edward Bennett Williams:

"Moscatelli was completely open and frank about the whole matter. As far as he was concerned, the incident was just another war story, and he could not understand how it could be the subject of a criminal case. He readily conceded that the Communist partisans had eliminated Holohan, and he defended it as a necessary act. He ridiculed the selection of a man who did not speak Italian as the head of a behind-the-lines mission in Italy. He told in dismay of Holohan's insistence on wearing his uniform at all times. Moscatelli's position was that Holohan was an obstructionist who had to be removed. There was no way to remove him except by murder. He absolved Icardi and LoDolce of any knowledge of or involvement in the killing, and was ready and willing to testify in court. He gave us details which checked out in every instance, and we were able to prepare a carefully documented line of proof, the very proof which I had just outlined before the jury." Id. at 48.