Monday, January 12, 2009

Junior Gotti Witness, John Alite, Targeted in Planned Hit

Mobsters ordered the murder of a witness against John A. (Junior) Gotti days after he was indicted for three gangland slayings, prosecutors revealed Friday.

The contract on Gotti childhood pal John Alite circulated through a Florida prison in a handwritten note last summer, Manhattan Assistant U.S. Attorney Elie Honig said in court papers.

Honig said the feds have no evidence linking Gotti, 44, to the plot, but they raised it in asking a judge to reject Gotti's efforts to be freed on bail awaiting trial.

"The government mentions the contract here simply to show the Gambino crime family has many loyal followers and supporters who are willing to use extreme measures to protect Gotti and others from prosecution," Honig wrote. "Throughout his life in the Mafia, a simple word from Gotti has been enough to order the commission of crimes, including violent attacks and murder. The same is true now."

Gotti's lawyer, Charles Carnesi, had a different view: "It was put in [the bail motion] to be inflammatory," he said. "Even they acknowledge he had nothing to do with it."

In September, Florida prosecutors said they had uncovered a jailhouse plot by the Latin Kings to kill an unidentified witness. That witness appears to be Alite.

The note written on a rag was addressed to the "Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation" and added, "the [terminate on sight] is in lockdown now. How iz u gunna get to him now?! We know hes locked up in Pine County. Pep in da street is payin good to get the job done. So finish that [terminate on sight] ASAP."

In a 2003 jailhouse chat intercepted by the feds, Gotti said he had become so tired of mob life that he wished he was a member of the notorious Hispanic street gang. "I'm ashamed of who I am," Gotti said. "I'd rather be a Latin King."

Prosecutors confirmed that Alite, who ran Gambino crime family operations in Tampa, will be taking the stand against his old pal. He pleaded guilty to two mob slayings and has been cooperating since February 2007.

Gotti is expected in New York next week following a Florida judge's order transferring the case to Manhattan Federal Court. He's being held in an Atlanta federal lockup.

Gotti is scheduled to appear in Manhattan Federal Court on Thursday.

Thanks to Thomas Zambito

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