updated 10/31/2007 8:48:35 PM ET 2007-11-01T00:48:35

A decade-old interview done for a never-published book will likely sink the corruption case against a former FBI agent accused of providing a mob informant with information used in four Mafia slayings, a law enforcement official said Wednesday.

Prosecutors were expected to tell a judge Thursday morning that they were withdrawing murder charges against former FBI agent Lindley DeVecchio because of glaring discrepancies in the accounts of their star witness, mob moll Linda Schiro, the official said.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision had not been formally announced. The Brooklyn prosecutor’s office declined to comment on the stunning turn of events in what authorities have billed as one of the worst law enforcement corruption cases in U.S. history.

An interview of Schiro in 1997 became the focus of a legal fight Wednesday when defense attorneys announced they had subpoenaed tapes of the question-and-answer session, hoping they would undermine her crucial testimony against DeVecchio at the ongoing trial in Brooklyn.

If the tapes indicate Schiro perjured herself, said prosecutor Michael Vecchione, “We are prepared to do what would be reasonable, and that would be to dismiss this case.”

Prosecutors and defense attorneys listened to the tapes behind closed doors Wednesday in an effort to determine how damaging they would prove to the prosecution’s case. Schiro had been expected to undergo a second round of cross-examination, but court was canceled for the day.

Defense attorney Douglas Grover predicted the tapes would fully discredit Schiro and vindicate DeVecchio, who has consistently declared his innocence.

“We’re just thankful that it’s all come out,” he said.

Differing accounts
The interviews were conducted by reporters Tom Robbins and Jerry Capeci, with Robbins revealing their existence in a piece for the Village Voice published Wednesday.

“One thing is clear: What Linda Schiro is saying on the witness stand now is not how she told the story 10 years ago concerning three of the four murder counts now at issue,” Robbins wrote in a story headlined “Tall Tales of a Mafia Mistress.”

Prosecutors claim DeVecchio was plied with cash, jewelry and hookers by Schiro’s boyfriend, mob killer-turned-informant Gregory Scarpa, in return for confidential FBI intelligence that was then used to kill four suspected informants or rivals in the Colombo crime family in the late 1980s and early ’90s.

In her testimony, Schiro, 62, claimed she would regularly sit in on weekly meetings between Scarpa — who died in prison in 1994 — and DeVecchio. She also claimed she overheard the agent warn her boyfriend about potential rats and rivals in a power struggle within the Colombo family, including the four murder victims.

But the Village Voice reported that in the 1997 interview, Schiro only linked DeVecchio to one of the slayings in the indictment. For instance, when asked about one victim, she insisted the agent had nothing to do with it.

“Lin did not tell,” she said.

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