The Chicago Syndicate: Junior is Dopey

Rodd & Gunn US

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Junior is Dopey

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

The way John A. (Junior) Gotti sees it, if the feds were so convinced he was a dummy, how could he have run the city's most murderous crime family? In recorded prison chats played for jurors yesterday, Gotti mocks the tag he earned after government agents said he didn't have the smarts his father possessed to run the Gambino crime family.

"I'm the Dopey Don, remember?" he tells pal Steve Dobies during a July 2003 prison conversation intercepted by the feds. "That's what I was. I had no problem with that. But you can't just now say, 'Well, we thought now because we're gonna put him in jail for life, he wasn't really the Dopey Don. You can't do that. ... You gotta lock them into something."

The Dopey Don chat was among more than a dozen prison conversations played for jurors yesterday as prosecutors wrapped up their racketeering case against the 42-year-old mob scion by presenting evidence they say shows Gotti never truly renounced the mob life as he claims he did.

When Gotti's lawyers begin calling witnesses today, they may start with Curtis Sliwa, the radio host allegedly shot twice by thugs prosecutors say were sent by Junior. Sliwa testified for the prosecution at two previous trials but was not called this time.

On the tapes recorded in 2003 and 2004, Gotti weighs in on numerous topics, from "vulture" uncles to a "bum" brother to his interpretation of the Torah.

Among Junior's greatest hits:


Gotti told pal John Ruggiero during a 2003 chat that if uncles Peter or Richie Gotti turned up in the upstate New York prison where he was being housed, they'd suffer the consequences. "I swear it to you on my dead brother and my dead father, I swear to you, I will meet them by the [prison] door, with two padlocks in my hands, and I will crack their skulls."
On brother Peter, whom he crossed off his prison visitors list in 2003, he said: "I love him, but my brother's a bum. That's all he is. No more, no less. ... I have a hard time respecting any man who doesn't spend any time with his wife and kids at all. If Pete has an available moment he'll take whatever's in his pocket, like my father would have done, and go to OTB or go to Atlantic City."

Gotti's anxiety heightens throughout as it becomes clear the feds are preparing to indict him on new charges. He muses about leaving New York once his five-year prison hitch is over. And when Gotti lawyer Richard Rehbock complains about having to buy Dobies - who is Jewish - lunch every day, Gotti offered his take on the Torah. "Isn't that like supposed to be a Jewish pact or something that youse got with each other to feed each other to shelter them in their shelter or some s---?" Gotti asked. "Isn't that in the Torah?"

Thanks to Thomas Zambito

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