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

Monday, September 14, 2009

Gotti slapped down by judge as he opens fourth racketeering trial with a joke

John "Junior" Gotti opened his fourth racketeering trial Monday with a joke - and it got him into hot water.

"Good morning. I am John Gotti. Here I am again," the mob scion told the court as jury selection began.

But Judge Kevin Castel said he doesn't want prospective jurors to know this is the government's fourth attempt to nail Gotti.

They might "speculate 'why are they going after this man?' That is not a proper line of attack," the judge said.

Defense lawyers want the jurors to know Gotti has been sitting either in court or in jail for years now, arguing he couldn't be still mixed up with the mob.

"He is under a microscope," defense lawyer Charles Carnesi told a member of the audience during a break.

Carnesi carried a copy of Sun Tzu's 2-millennia-old classic strategy manual, the Art of War.

Carnesi also hopes to argue that one of the government's star witnesses, former Gambino family assassin John Alite, tailored his testimony to "get himself an exceptional deal" because he knew how badly the feds wanted to win after three mistrials.

Gotti, 45, is charged in a vast racketeering conspiracy involving murder, drug-dealing, bribery, extortion and loan-sharking, and two Queens murders: George Grosso in 1988 and Bruce John Gotterup in 1991.

Prosecutors say they uncovered extensive new evidence against him since the last mistrial.

Gotti claims he quit the mob in 1999.

His flamboyant father, John Gotti was known as the Teflon Don because he beat the rap repeatedly before he was eventually jailed for killing five people. He died in prison in 2002.

Gotti took copious notes as the two dozen prospective jurors were questioned.

One juror was excused when he said he could not pass judgement on anyone because of his religious beliefs.

Another was cut because he admitted he'd made up his mind about the case.



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