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

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Juror released from John A. (Junior) Gotti trial amid fears over near-accident wasn't accident

It wasn't a mob hit - or even a mob miss.
But a minor traffic mishap involving a skittish Gotti trial juror led to her dismissal Tuesday.
Federal Judge Kevin Castel booted Juror No. 3 from the racketeering case so that her paranoia wouldn't taint the deliberations.
The 55-year-old secretary for a city agency was crossing 14th St. on Oct. 2 when she was bumped by a passing car.
When she returned to court last week, she expressed fear the close call was somehow tied to the trial of John A. (Junior) Gotti.
After determining the woman couldn't have been followed, Castel calmed her down and the trial continued. But over the weekend, he reread the transcripts of her tale and decided to reconsider.
The defense said ditching her was the "safe" move, and Castel agreed, though he assured lawyers there was no new information suggesting the car bump was anything sinister.
The jumpy juror had sent the judge three notes since the trial began Sept. 14 - the last two related to the traffic incident.
"What I think the right thing to do in this case is to excuse you from continuing on this jury, and so then there is just going to be no question and no doubt about any issue," Castel said, adding the juror had not done anything wrong.
At several points during the trial, she was spotted with her eyes closed in the juror box - prompting Castel to instruct jurors to "get up and stretch."
Tuesday, jurors heard from mob informant Kevin Finnerty, who testified that he made a $5,000 payoff to Gotti in 2004. The timing undercuts Gotti's claim that he quit the mob in 1999.


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