The Chicago Syndicate: Junior Sings in Court

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Junior Sings in Court

Friends of ours: John "Junior" Gotti

Junior sang in court yesterday - but he didn't give up any secrets.

John A. (Junior) Gotti did croon "Happy Birthday" to the judge presiding over his racketeering trial. "I led the attack," the mob scion joked afterward. "Everyone said, 'We're going to sing, we're going to sing,' and then they chickened out."

The command performance came after Manhattan Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin's courtroom deputy opened the third day of jury selection by asking everyone to sing in honor of the judge's 60th birthday. Prosecutors and defense attorneys who seldom find themselves tongue-tied in a courtroom squirmed at the unusual request but managed to muddle their way through.

Both sides have so far amassed a pool of 40 jurors and will begin whittling the panel down to 18 today. Opening statements are expected to begin in the afternoon.

This is Gotti's third trial after jurors deadlocked at two previous trials. Gotti is accused in a wide-ranging racketeering conspiracy case of ordering a 1992 assault on radio host Curtis Sliwa.

Thanks to Thomas Zambito

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