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

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Witness: Brother-in-law got Gotti's OK for hit

A former drug dealer called as a defense witness by John "Junior" Gotti distanced the Gambino family mob heir from one murder but, unexpectedly, tied him more closely to a different murder conspiracy in testimony Thursday in federal court in Manhattan.
The witness, Stephen Newell, a former associate in the Queens drug-peddling ring of star prosecution informant John Alite, provided helpful testimony to Gotti on the murder of Bruce John Gotterup, a Queens man killed in 1991 after making trouble at a mob-connected bar.
Alite, a former Gotti pal and crime lieutenant, testified that Gotterup's killing was approved by Gotti. But Newell said he saw no evidence that Gotti was part of the drug-dealing ring that Alite helped run, and said Alite promised to "take care" of Gotterup after he had a run-in with a relative of another powerful mobster, Ronald Trucchio.
Newell, however, also said that in a later drug-related dispute with Alite in 1994 or 1995, when Newell sought permission from Gotti's brother-in-law Carmine Agnello to kill Alite, Agnello got an OK from Gotti before approving the hit.
During a discussion at Agnello's junkyard, Newell said, Agnello left to speak with Gotti, who was across the street. When he returned from the conversation, Newell testified, Agnello said, "I just spoke to my brother-in-law. He says if we're going to do it, get it done."
Newell - who was charged with the killing of Gotterup before the charges were dropped - said the murder plot against Alite was never carried out because the FBI got wind of it and tipped off Alite.
Gotti, 45, of Oyster Bay, is facing racketeering charges and two counts of murder involving the killings of Gotterup and Queens cocaine dealer George Grosso.
Gotti, the son of the late Gambino family boss John J. Gotti, says he withdrew from the mob in 1999. Three racketeering cases against him ended with hung juries in 2005 and 2006.
In other testimony Thursday, Joseph Fusaro, a former mob associate from Connecticut, reprised testimony from two previous trials, describing how Gotti encouraged him to cooperate with a grand jury and said he was sick of the mob while the two were in jail together in Westchester County in 1998.
Gotti's lawyers are trying to discredit a half-dozen turncoats who have testified against him by arguing that the government's cooperating-witness program gives them an incentive to lie, and Fusaro also gave them helpful testimony in that regard.
After he agreed to cooperate with Gotti's encouragement, he said, he told the FBI that he had no intention of leaving his home in Connecticut and rejected offers of relocation under the government's witness protection program.
He nonetheless was given $55,000 in cash - apparently for relocation - without even asking, he said.
"They knew right from the beginning that I was going to stay in my house," he said. "I don't know what it was for."



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