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

Monday, September 21, 2009

Junior Gotti painted as mob killer by prosecution in opening arguments of racketeering trial

John A. "Junior" Gotti is a vicious mob lifer who went out of his way to taunt a dying man he had stabbed, prosecutors charged Monday as the Gambino heir's fourth racketeering trial began.
Moments before the trial got underway in Manhattan Federal Court, the judge announced that seven of the 18 jurors and alternates had made a last-minute appeal to be dismissed.
They were sworn in anyway. Their reasons were not immediately revealed.
Prosecutors opened by saying Gotti had left a bloody trail of victims in a life of brutality.
He has "threatened, extorted, robbed, beaten, kidnapped, stabbed, shot and killed. Killed with his own hand and ordered others to kill for him," Assistant U.S. Attorney Elie Honig told the court.
Losing no time in putting a knife in the defendant's hand, Honig described how Gotti stabbed a man in a 1983 Queens bar fight, left, but then returned to gloat over the man as he bled out.
"He doubled back and taunted Danny Silva. He bled to death right there in that bar," Honig said.
A few months later, witness John Cennamo, who had talked to cops about the stabbing, ended up hanging from a tree shorter than himself.
Gotti "bragged about it, how they helped the kid hang himself," Honig said.
Defense lawyer Charles Carnesi said Gotti might once have been a ranking member of the Gambino crime family, but he went straight 10 years ago after seeing his father "dying of cancer away from his family alone in prison."
Gotti, 45, "made a decision that, 'dad, I'm sorry, your life is not my life. This is not for me. I can't do this. I don't want this anymore,'" Carnesi said.
John Gotti Sr., the notorious "Teflon Don," beat the rap many times before dying behind bars in 2002.
Carnesi said he couldn't ascribe "nobility" to Gotti's decision, saying it was more that his father's fate "scared the heck out of him."
Gotti's three previous trials ended in hung juries and mistrials.
Honig told the court that Gotti had become expert in manipulating courts and trials and was the Gambino "point man" on how to beat a case.
He also stressed Gotti's violence, describing how he beat people who were slow to pay their protection. In one case, he put the victim's "head through a Sheetrock wall," Honig said.
Prosecutors say they have new evidence that Gotti was involved in three gangland slayings and trafficked cocaine.
They also have a new star witness, John Alite, who was best friends with the younger Gotti before a 2003 falling-out and claimed he had an affair with Junior's sister, Victoria.
She was in court Monday, but declined comment.
The defense says Alite is making up his testimony to cut a deal to reduce his sentence.
"You think that kind of process really contributes to a search for the truth?" Carnesi asked.


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