Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Juror's questionnaire lightens mood in court during John Gotti Jr. racketeering trial

Goodfella, meet dumbfella.

A prospective juror in the racketeering trial of John A. (Junior) Gotti provided an accidental laugh Tuesday with a literalist answer in his pretrial questionnaire.

Federal Judge Kevin Castel found the comedy gem while reviewing the forms from scores of potential jurors in the mob scion's racketeering trial.

"I have to share with you my personal favorite," said Castel, referring to one juror's answer to Question No. 11: How far did you go in school?

"To which the response was Buffalo," Castel said.

Not everything was a laughing matter as the second day of jury selection began in the fourth trial in five years against the former Gambino family boss.

One would-be juror was excused after saying she was intimidated by the prospect of reaching a verdict against Gotti.

"I think in this case I would be afraid to do anything but acquit," the unemployed public relations woman said before exiting the courtroom without even a glance at Gotti.

The 45-year-old son of "Dapper Don" John Gotti faces a massive indictment, although defense attorneys hope to remove a pair of drug murders from the charges.

The slayings occurred in Queens, with the defense arguing the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan doesn't have jurisdiction over crimes in that borough.

Castel indicated he would consider the venue dispute before the start of the trial, which could begin Monday morning. Jury selection is due to continue today.

Gotti, who cracked a joke about his repeated court appearances on Monday, was more subdued Tuesday. "Good morning," he told jurors in a barely audible voice.


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