The Chicago Syndicate: Victoria Gotti Speaks Out on Her Father, John Gotti, and Her New Book "This Family of Mine"

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Victoria Gotti Speaks Out on Her Father, John Gotti, and Her New Book "This Family of Mine"

Try as she might to be a typical working mother, Victoria Gotti will always be known as the mob boss's daughter.

So, when her family approached her about writing a memoir about life as a Gotti, she initially balked, worried about adding to more tabloid stories and untruths.

"I think, at some point around the holidays, my family came to me and said, 'Enough. When are you going to set the record straight?'" Gotti said on "Good Morning America" today. "They won out at the end, and I did it."

Gotti's new book, "This Family of Mine," details her life in the family led by John Gotti, head of the Gambino crime family, who, after several government attempts to nab him, was sentenced to life in prison in 1992 on a multitude of charges, including murder and racketeering.

Getting the blessing of her family members, Gotti said, she told them she wanted to tell the full story. "If we're going to do this, it's not going to be halfway," Gotti said she told her family.

In the book, Gotti, 46, wrote that she did not know of her father's deep involvement with the mob in the beginning. John Gotti never brought his business into the family home. "I was 8 years old. I was 10 years old. You believe what you want to believe," Gotti said. "Later in life, things start to come together."

Only in the mid- to late-1980s did Gotti, her sister and her mother finally realize what John Gotti was doing and how powerful he was within the Gambino crime family. "People think that was bizarre, but it's not," Gotti said, adding that her family always believed the tabloid stories were embellished.

The late John Gotti was finally sent to prison after several previous prosecutions had failed to stick. Initially known as "Dapper Don" for his fancy suits, the tabloids christened him "Teflon Don" for his ability to beat the charges repeatedly. But as her father nabbed more and more headlines and her brother, John "Junior" Gotti, faced scrutiny for his position as the acting head of the Gambino crime family, the entire family was subjected to tabloid reports.

"It just got to the point where there were no boundaries anymore," she said. "Everyone was fair game."

The younger Gotti is now facing another trial -- his fourth in five years -- for murder and racketeering.

Victoria Gotti said that while her brother had admitted to past indiscretions, "Junior" Gotti told her he'd sworn off the mob life 10 years ago and simply wanted to enjoy the pleasures of life with his family.

The back cover of "This Family of Mine" shows Victoria Gotti posing with her father at her 1984 wedding to Carmine Agnello, himself now serving prison time.

Gotti had 1,500 guests at her New York wedding, many of them involved in the mob. The picture shows her in tears.

Gotti told "Good Morning America" that she had initially seen the wedding as a way to break free of her father, who had become extremely overprotective, watching over her every move. "I was ambivalent, I think, even about getting married, anyway," she said. "I basically wanted to get out from under dad's rule, under dad's thumb."

The tears, she said, came after realizing she didn't know her husband very well and the realization that, even after wanting more freedom, the marriage would mean leaving the protective cocoon of her family home.

Now a mother to three sons, Carmine, John and Frank, Gotti said she instilled in her sons from an early age that mob life is not for them. "This is the way to break mom's heart," she said she told them. "This is not what I want."

And Gotti said she believes they understand why. "I think they've seen the trial and error," she said. This is not something for them."

Thanks to GMA

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