Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Did "Sammy the Bull" Spare Junior Gotti to Save His Own Son?

John A. (Junior) Gotti's role in a 1990 rubout at the World Trade Center was a gangland secret for years because of a "son for a son" deal between his father and a Mafia turncoat, a government witness revealed Monday.

Before federal prosecutors charged Junior last year with the murder of Gambino soldier Louis DiBono, the mob scion's name had never surfaced in connection with the hit ordered by John Gotti Sr.

That's because infamous turncoat Salvatore (Sammy Bull) Gravano - who implicated the Dapper Don, underboss Frank Locascio and others in the murder conspiracy - never fingered Junior, and apparently with good reason, according to former capo Michael (Mikey Scars) DiLeonardo.

"Guys were going away for a long time and others were being left out. It was a mystery," DiLeonardo said Monday at the racketeering trial of reputed soldier Charles Carneglia in Brooklyn Federal Court.

Gambino capo Edward Garafola - Gravano's brother-in-law - provided the answer about a year after the murder, DiLeonardo said.

Although Gravano sent scores of Gambinos to prison, he spared Junior in a "son for a son" deal with Gotti Sr. in the hope that his own son, Gerard, would not be punished for his father's decision to break the Mafia oath of silence.

"It was the first time I learned that John Jr. was involved in the [DiBono] hit," DiLeonardo said.

Gotti Sr. was convicted in 1992 of ordering the murder of DiBono because he had ignored an order to meet with the crime boss when called.

Junior - who faces his own upcoming murder trial - assembled the hit team, prosecutors contend in court papers.

Carneglia is charged with sneaking up behind DiBono in the World Trade Center garage and pumping seven bullets into his head and body.

The reason Gravano did not implicate Carneglia at the time he fingered Gotti Sr. was not disclosed.

Although DiLeonardo has testified in 10 previous trials, he had not previously revealed the alleged son for a son deal. "It is implausible that after testifying against John [Jr.] three times, DiLeonardo suddenly remembered information about a murder charge," said Junior's attorney, Seth Ginsberg.

At the time he took the stand against the Teflon Don, Gravano was the highest ranking member of a Mafia family ever to cooperate with the feds.

Prosecutors ripped up Gravano's deal after he was caught trafficking Ecstasy pills with his wife, son and daughter in the witness protection program in Arizona. He is serving a 19-year sentence in the federal Supermax prison in Colorado. Gerard Gravano has nearly completed a nine-year term.

Thanks to John Marzulli

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