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

Thursday, September 10, 2009

NYC faces for another Gotti trial

'Junior' Gotti's lawyer, Charles Carnesi, talks with reporters outside the federal courthouse.

'Junior' Gotti's lawyer, Charles Carnesi, talks with reporters outside the federal courthouse.

The son of the late Gambino family crime boss John Gotti is set to stand trial in federal court in New York on Monday on murder and racketeering charges that could put him in prison for life if he is convicted.

Three previous racketeering trials against John "Junior" Gotti, 45, have ended in mistrials in New York.

The government says it has learned since his previous trial, "that Gotti had participated in three murders, that Gotti had run a multi-million dollar cocaine trafficking network, that Gotti had overseen a systematic effort to tamper with trial juries, grand juries and witnesses, and that Gotti had participated in various other violent crimes," according to court documents filed by prosecutors.

The defense claims the newest round of charges is part of the government's ongoing quest to convict Gotti.

The current case was moved to New York in December from Florida, where the original indictment was handed up.

A superseding indictment was filed in the case on August 3. In the first indictment, Gotti was only charged with violating the federal Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO.

The superseding indictment formally charged Gotti with the drug-related murders of two men -- allegations mentioned as part of the first indictment -- along with the RICO charge. The RICO law is used to target organized crime groups -- in this case, the Gambino crime family.

Gotti's defense attorneys, however, allege in court filings that "the prosecution has engaged in a 'win at all costs' campaign riddled with misconduct."

"The prosecution charges the same conspiracy, albeit with new garnishments," said one filing from July. "After having received frustrating results in three separate trials, the case was hijacked to the Middle District of Florida in a shameful attempt to forum shop or judge shop or both."

Federal prosecutors, meanwhile, say in court filings that Gotti's allegations he is a victim of a government vendetta are unfounded. Since Gotti's previous trials, prosecutors maintain, they have "uncovered extensive new evidence of Gotti's criminal conduct in the course of investigating and prosecuting another Gambino family captain."

The indictment alleges that Gotti was at times an "associate, soldier, captain and de facto boss" in the Gambino family, and also served on a "committee of captains" formed in the early 1990s to assist in family administration.

"The principal purpose of the GCF (Gambino crime family) Enterprise was to generate money ... for the GCF Enterprise members," the indictment says.

"This purpose was implemented," the indictment continued, "through various criminal activities, including criminal acts involving the felonious manufacturing, importing, receiving, concealing, buying, selling and otherwise dealing in narcotics and other dangerous drugs, extortion, armed and unarmed robbery, armed home invasions, illegal gambling, extortionate credit transactions, theft and bribery."

To further their activities, family members threatened and caused economic injury, the indictment says, as well as threatening and using physical violence "ranging from simple assault to murder."

The two murders Gotti is charged with are those of George Grosso, who died in December 1988 in Queens, and Bruce John Gotterup, slain in November 1991 in Queens.

The indictment also accuses Gotti in connection with a third murder, that of Louis DiBono in October 1990 in the parking garage of the former World Trade Center, but does not allege that murder was drug-related.

Although the murder charges carry a potential death sentence, prosecutors have said they will not seek the death penalty against Gotti.

The trial will be the latest chapter in a long legal saga.

In late 2006, a third mistrial was declared in a federal case against Gotti on charges including racketeering and extortion. Prosecutors said they would not retry Gotti, who was accused of ordering attacks on radio talk show host Curtis Sliwa after the Guardian Angels founder criticized Gotti's father on his program. Sliwa was shot three times but recovered and testified against the younger Gotti.

At the time of Gotti's arrest in August 2008 on the latest charges, his attorney, Charles Carnesi, told reporters he "was very disappointed to have to go through all this again."

Carnesi continued, "You can imagine the toll it took on him and his family to have to fight three times in the course of a year, to feel that, OK, perhaps it's over ... because the government itself came to the conclusion, no more. It's very disheartening for him to be back here again."

Gotti's father, John Gotti Sr., was nicknamed the "Teflon Don" because prosecutors had trouble making charges against him stick. He died in prison of throat cancer in 2002.



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