Sunday, October 22, 2006

After 3 Strikes, Gotti's Prosecutors are Out

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

John A. Gotti, who three times in just over a year has escaped conviction on federal racketeering charges, will finally be able to pursue what he claims he has long desired: an ordinary life.

After three trials in Manhattan, each ending in a hung jury, federal prosecutors have announced that they will not seek a fourth trial on those charges for Mr. Gotti, a decision federal officials had indicated was likely. It enshrines him as a defendant even trickier to convict than his father, the Gambino family don, John J. Gotti, who beat the rap three times himself before being found guilty in 1992 and dying in a federal prison hospital 10 years later. (The younger Mr. Gotti is not invulnerable: He was convicted in a previous case and served prison time.)

In a terse statement issued yesterday, Michael J. Garcia, the United States attorney in Manhattan, said this particular case was over. “The government has concluded that a retrial of defendant John A. Gotti on the pending indictment is not in the interests of justice in light of the three prior hung juries in the case,” it read. “Accordingly, we submitted a proposed order which the court has signed and which ends this prosecution.”

That left Mr. Gotti, who has acknowledged through his lawyers that he ran the Gambino family during stretches of the 1990’s, to return to a life as normal as his name will allow — for now. This decision does not preclude the F.B.I. or other authorities from developing new evidence for a different case some day.

At the end of his third trial in September, Mr. Gotti told reporters he wanted to “move on” and expressed a desire to work with children.

His lawyer, Charles F. Carnesi, said Mr. Gotti may turn to academe. “He’s interested in pursuing a degree,” he said. “In social work or counseling or maybe something with the schools.” With the indictment dismissed, he is free to go as he pleases, and the liens on his property securing his bail will soon be lifted, Mr. Carnesi said.

Mr. Gotti’s triumph was a stinging defeat for Curtis Sliwa, the radio talk show host whom prosecutors said was a victim in the case. While the jury agreed that Mr. Gotti ordered the abduction and attack of Mr. Sliwa in 1992 after he called the elder Mr. Gotti a drug dealer on the air, they could not agree on the overall charge that this was part of a racketeering conspiracy.

In a statement from the newsroom of WABC radio, Mr. Sliwa called Mr. Gotti a criminal and a drain on society. He also called Mr. Gotti’s father a serial killer and a disgrace to the human race. He said he intended to sue Mr. Gotti “for not only the bullets that he ordered put into my body, but for the fear and abuse he has heaped on our law-abiding society over the past 20 years.”

He ridiculed Mr. Gotti’s plan to “turn over a new leaf” as a charade. “He claims that he has moved on with his life and just wants to live in peace,” Mr. Sliwa wrote. “He wants to write books for children and raise money for charity, he claims. But part of moving on in life is acknowledging the innocent people hurt in the past. The people he extorted, stole from, had beaten and shot.”

Thanks to Alan Feuer

No comments:

Post a Comment

Mafia Library

Crime Family Index