Thursday, December 29, 2005

Junior Gotti is Happy with Lawyer

A judge warned John A. "Junior" Gotti on Wednesday that his lawyer has a conflict of interest, but the son of late mob boss John Gotti said he's happy with his representation in an upcoming racketeering retrial.

Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin said attorney Charles Carnesi might be forced to give Gotti biased advice because he also represents a co-defendant. "I think you'd be better off with a lawyer who has no conflict problems," Scheindlin bluntly told Gotti, who shrugged off the conflict. Gotti said Carnesi was the best lawyer for him because he was already familiar with the case, which goes to trial again Feb. 13.

Scheindlin offered to let Gotti speak for free to a neutral lawyer she had invited to court solely for that purpose. "I'm OK," Gotti said. Then he added, "It would be the first free lawyer I've ever spoken with."

Carnesi represented reputed Gambino crime family associate Louis "Louie Black" Mariani at a trial that ended in September with a conviction of Mariani for securities fraud and a mistrial on charges against Gotti. Mariani is to be sentenced March 30. "I'm absolutely convinced I can represent them both," Carnesi said.

Gotti dismissed lawyer Jeffrey Lichtman after his first trial ended with a deadlocked jury on charges that he ordered a botched 1992 plot to kidnap Curtis Sliwa, a radio show host and founder of the Guardian Angels crime-fighting group. Gotti is free on $7 million bond.

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