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

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Junior Gotti free to believe in justice after fourth mistrial

After signing the bail papers and sliding them back to the clerk behind the Plexiglas partition, the prosecutor turned to the wood bench where John A. (Junior) Gotti was waiting to be released.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Elie Honig was the latest prosecutor to do his very best to convict Gotti of racketeering, but the citizenry remains the one power greater than the government.
For a fourth time, a jury had declared itself unable to reach a verdict, and all of Honig's efforts had ended in a mistrial. He proved himself worthy of his position as he held out his hand, a gesture that more than anything signaled his respect for the system. He had lost and he accepted the outcome as determined by the jurors.
"Mr. Gotti, good luck," Honig said. "Good luck with your family."
Gotti nodded, seeming still a little stunned.
A fellow prisoner had told him early Tuesday morning, "Mr. G., I got a feeling today is going to be your day." His attorney, Charles Carnesi, had seemed as sunny as his bright yellow tie about the prospects.
Gotti had as always expected the worst when it came to himself. He had loved his father and followed in his father's footsteps. But that had again and again taken him to within a jury's verdict of his father's fate. He had continued to feel doomed as this fourth prosecution came to an end.
As if to confirm the fates of father and son were entwined, he had turned on the radio in his jail cell the previous five nights and each time at exactly 10:27, a golden oldie came on, sending him back to times when John Gotti the elder and John Gotti the younger were together.
"10/27, is my father's birthday," he noted, adding of the oldies, "One was 'Tie a Yellow Ribbon' believe it or not."
His lawyer had been right, now he was sitting on a wood bench as the paperwork for his bail was prepared. A reporter told him that some of the jurors had said they would be willing to have dinner with him and his attorney.
"I'll invite them to my home," Gotti said. "Come to my house for Christmas!"
He was also told that the jury shared his contempt for the prosecution's star witness, John Alite.
"Not even the mob wanted him," Gotti said. "What does that tell you?"
He was asked why he was associating with such a character.
"I was in the mob," he answered without a heartbeat's hesitation. "That's the dirt we dealt with. ... I was in the mob, shame on me. But that's what I was and I didn't want anything to do with him."
He noted, "I chased him."
Gotti meant that he had declared Alite a lowlife non grata in the mob. Gotti himself quit the mob in 1999, cut a plea deal and served 77 months.
He was asked if he thought the government might go after him a fifth time for crimes it says were not covered by that deal a decade ago. He spoke as the father of six and the son of a mother with rocky health.
"When you see the toll it takes on the people around you, you can't take it any more," Gotti said.
One prosecutor who seemed done was Honig, who strode in at 5:20 p.m., signed the paperwork and shook Gotti's hand. Gotti stepped up to the window to sign the papers and raise his hand as the clerk asked if he swore to abide by the bail conditions.
"I do," Gotti said.
He then strode away from the counter and I had to hope for everybody's sake that his footsteps were now only his own.
"I'm going home to see my kids and sleep in my own bed," he said.


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