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

Monday, July 2, 2012

John Gotti's lawyer to defend indicted Detroit contractor on corruption charges


Bobby Ferguson has added former John Gotti lawyer Susan Van Dusen to his defense team.
Indicted contractor Bobby Ferguson is facing mobster charges, so Monday he hired a lawyer who defended the late John Gotti, one of the most infamous mob bosses of the 20th century.
Florida lawyer Susan Van Dusen filed paperwork Monday in federal court to defend Ferguson in a City Hall corruption case that also involves his close friend, ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
The Miami attorney and University of Detroit Mercy School of Law graduate was a member of the legal team that defended Gotti. Dubbed the "Teflon Don," Gotti was convicted in 1992 of racketeering and murder.
The mob boss was sentenced to multiple life terms in prison without parole and died of cancer in a prison hospital in 2002.
"This fellow (Ferguson) made a wise choice," said Miami lawyer Jeff Weiner, former president of the National Association of Criminal Defense lawyers, who has worked alongside Van Dusen. "She's seen it all. She's a lady. She's not one of these lawyers who comes in screaming and yelling. She's rock solid, and she practices with a lot of honor and integrity."
Van Dusen worked as an associate on Gotti's case alongside prominent attorney Albert Krieger.
Van Dusen could not be reached immediately for comment Monday.
The RICO Act — or Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act — was enacted in 1970 to prosecute the Mafia. It also was used to bust other members of the Gambino crime family in 2006.
Van Dusen joined the case five days after Ferguson hired Detroit lawyer Michael Rataj. He was part of the defense team that won acquittals in March in the high-profile criminal case against seven Hutaree militia members.
They join lead defense lawyer Gerald Evelyn, who represented Ferguson in a $12 million bid-rigging case that ended in a mistrial last week.
"We need a team because of the size of the case," Rataj said Monday.
Ferguson is bankrolling his own legal defense — a rarity in the corruption case.
Federal prosecutors have accused him of obtaining more than $58.5 million by extorting contractors and through other illegal conduct.
Taxpayers are footing the legal bill, at least partially, for Kilpatrick, his father and former Detroit water boss Victor Mercado.
According to prosecutors, Kilpatrick allegedly headed a criminal enterprise that robbed taxpayers of millions of dollars and instilled a culture of corruption in one of the nation's poorest cities.
Among the charges in the indictment: Kilpatrick and members of his so-called criminal enterprise threatened witnesses with violence and withheld city funds from firms that wouldn't pay to play. Kilpatrick allegedly pocketed a $10,000 kickback in a restaurant bathroom, according to prosecutors.
The group faces federal charges that include racketeering conspiracy, extortion, bribery, fraud and tax evasion. The various charges carry penalties ranging from three years in prison to 30 years.
A trial is set for September.


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