Friday, March 10, 2006

2nd Mistrial for Junior Gotti

Friends of ours: Junior Gotti, Gambino Crime Family

A judge declared a mistrial in the case of alleged Mafia boss John "Junior" Gotti on Friday, the second time in six months jurors were unable to reach a verdict on racketeering and other charges against him.

Prosecutors immediately said they would seek a third trial for Gotti, whose late father was one of New York's most notorious crime bosses. A judge was due to set a date for a third trial on Monday, indicating the charges would not be dropped.

Gotti, whose defense focused on the claim that he had given up mob life, hugged his lawyers upon hearing of the mistrial and left the courthouse surrounded by a gaggle of reporters. "I want to raise my children," he said. "That's all I wanted in life."

Gotti, 42, was accused of leading the Gambino crime family, extorting construction companies, loan-sharking and ordering a brutal attack on Curtis Sliwa, the founder of New York's Guardian Angels anti-crime patrol, because of his critical comments about the Gotti family on his radio show.

A federal judge dismissed the jury because it failed to reach a verdict after deliberating since Wednesday. A previous trial also resulted in a deadlocked jury, forcing the retrial.

The second trial revealed new details of Gotti's love life and accounts of bloody shootings and secret mob codes, as well as rekindling New York's obsession with Mafia trials and Gotti's infamous father.

Prosecutors had accused Gotti of becoming the street boss of the Gambino crime family, one of New York's "five families," after his father, John "The Dapper Don" Gotti, went to prison in 1992, where he died 10 years later.

Gotti's lawyers said he withdrew from the Mafia upon pleading guilty to separate racketeering charges in 1999. They argued that excerpts they played from a videotape of a 1999 prison conversation between Gotti and his father proved the younger Gotti wanted to leave the mob.

A few months later Gotti pleaded guilty to separate racketeering charges and spent five years in jail. He was indicted on the latest charges just before he was due to be released from prison.

Gotti remained in jail throughout the previous trial but was freed on bail following the last mistrial.

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