The Chicago Syndicate: Junior has Charges Reinstated Against Him
The Mission Impossible Backpack

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Junior has Charges Reinstated Against Him

Friends of ours: John "Junior" Gotti, Gambino Crime Family, John "Dapper Don" Gotti

Four days after tossing out a handful of new charges against John A. Gotti, the Mafia scion, a federal judge reversed herself — and the fortunes of prosecutors — when she reinstated some of the charges against him in a ruling yesterday.

The judge, Shira A. Scheindlin of Federal District Court in Manhattan, had ruled on Monday that federal prosecutors could not pursue money laundering and some racketeering charges against Mr. Gotti at his trial, which is scheduled to begin with jury selection on Monday. But after a contentious hearing on Thursday, Judge Scheindlin changed her mind, saying that the government could charge Mr. Gotti, the son of the late Gambino family don, with the racketeering charges, under which he stands accused of using profits from loan-sharking and extortion to operate two holding companies.

The trial will be Mr. Gotti’s third in two years in federal court in Manhattan and concerns the government’s accusations that he ordered the abduction of Curtis Sliwa, the radio talk-show host and vigilante, in 1992 after Mr. Sliwa criticized the elder Mr. Gotti on the air. Juries have twice deadlocked in the case, unable to decide if Mr. Gotti was, or was not, involved in the abduction and a subsequent assault.

On Thursday, Victor Hou, a federal prosecutor, told Judge Scheindlin that he had doubts about the government’s ability to proceed to trial without the new charges. “We have serious concerns about our ability to go forward, given your ruling,” Mr. Hou told the judge, referring to her initial decision.

The government had sought the new charges, in part, to counteract Mr. Gotti’s claim that he had left the mob in the 1990’s. The reinstated charges concern crimes the government says took place after Mr. Gotti says he left the mob.

The government argues that Mr. Gotti led the Gambino family in the 1990’s after his father was convicted of racketeering and was given a life sentence. He died in prison in 2002. Charles Carnesi, the younger Mr. Gotti’s lawyer, said he had no comment on the case.

Judge Scheindlin’s latest decision still bars the government from charging Mr. Gotti with money laundering — specifically with receiving income from properties the government says he bought with money derived from crime.

The main charges in the case concern the abduction of Mr. Sliwa, who was the founder of the Guardian Angels. He was kidnapped in a taxicab in the East Village in 1992 and shot and wounded.

Thanks to Alan Feuer

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