Sunday, July 12, 2009

Junior Gotti Denied Bail

Accused Mafia boss John "Junior" Gotti was denied bail by a federal judge on Wednesday in a setback two months before he faces his fourth trial in five years on federal racketeering charges.

Gotti, 45, was tried three times previously on racketeering charges including that he headed the Gambino crime family. The most recent was in 2006 when a judge declared a mistrial because jurors were deadlocked.

Two previous trials also were voided when juries failed to reach a verdict.

In Wednesday's bail arguments held in Manhattan federal court, U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel sided with prosecutors who argued that a history of witness tampering meant Gotti should remain in jail pending trial.

Prosecutor Elie Honig said new evidence not presented at previous trials included a mob associate who will testify that in 2005 Gotti said they could escape criminal charges by pretending they had quit the crime family and had already received the "mob stamp of approval" to fake a withdrawal.

Gotti's lawyer Charles Carnesi said he will again argue that Gotti withdrew from the Mafia, a unique defense that has proved instrumental to Gotti winning the three mistrials. "It is absolutely not a different case. It charges the same crimes," Carnesi said, arguing the case should be dropped.

Gotti is accused of taking control of the Gambino family from his father, John J. Gotti, who was known as the "Teflon Don" for his many years evading criminal conviction.

The elder Gotti was finally convicted of murder, racketeering, conspiracy and other charges in 1992. He died in prison in 2002.

"Junior" is accused of murder, robbery, kidnapping, extortion and bribery from 1983 to 2008. His trial is scheduled to begin September 14.

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