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August 2008

Last Days of the Gotti Gang

Part Fifteen: "Junior" Gotti Indicted! Again!

By J. R. de Szigethy


     From the day he was born, he was raised by his father to be a murderer. Now, at the age of 44, John "Junior" Gotti faces the most serious crisis of his life, charged with a variety of Federal crimes that could result in his spending the rest of his life in prison, and among the most serious of these crimes is that of murder.

     At the time of his birth, Junior’s father John Gotti was a rising star in the Gambino Mafia Family. His ambition to become Godfather was realized on December 16, 1985, when Gotti’s henchmen murdered Godfather Paul Castellano and his bodyguard outside Sparks Steak House in Manhattan. Once established as Godfather, Gotti plotted the eventual rise of his own son to take his place someday. This entailed, among others things, that Junior become a "Made Member" of the Mob, the prerequisite for attaining such status being his willingness to commit at least one murder on behalf of the ‘Family.’ Junior is now charged with three murders, one of which, that of drug dealer George Grosso, occurred just 4 days before his alleged induction into the Gambino Family during a Mafia blood ritual on Christmas Eve, 1988. It is that first murder, the Feds will likely allege, that the Godfather’s son was being rewarded for in that secret ceremony.

     Junior Gotti thus faces an uncertain Fate, abandoned by death, prosecution, and betrayal by most of those he grew up with, upon whom he felt he could rely on; his father, who died in 2002, his Uncles Gene and Peter, now imprisoned, his friends from his youth "Mikey Scars" DiLeonardo and John Alite, as well as his father’s trusted associates Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, and a man taken into the family as the Godfather’s "adopted son," Lewis Kasman.

     Among the shrinking circle of Junior’s supporters are his wife and 6 children, his sisters Angel and Victoria, his brother Peter, and, the most vocal and determined of his allies, his mother Victoria Gotti, who has waged an unapologetic and focused defense of her son.

     Equally determined to bring Junior down are the Federal Prosecutors for the government, who have achieved guilty verdicts in only 1 of 4 previous prosecutions of Junior. Cheering them on from the sidelines will be Curtis Sliwa, the Guardian Angels Founder and popular talk show host who has made it clear he was cheated from obtaining Justice in the three previous failed prosecutions of Junior in regards to his role in the abduction and near-murder of Sliwa on the streets of Manhattan in 1992. While those trials took place in Federal Courthouses in Manhattan, Junior’s next trial will take place in Tampa Bay, Florida, where, the Feds allege, the Gambino Family’s operations have continued during recent years in satisfaction of the RICO statues that tie such a "Racketeering enterprise" all the way back to the 3 murders Junior is alleged to have participated in going back 2 decades ago.

     Among those murders is that of Louis DiBono, a corrupt contractor who played a key role in the seminal story of our time, that of the destruction by terrorists of the World Trade Center. DiBono was the first person murdered at the World Trade Center, a crime which was discovered on October 4, 1990, in the parking lot underneath the North Tower. The New York Post reported that the dead man had been shot three times as he was approaching his Cadillac and then thrown into the front seat of his car. The fact that the man weighed 350 pounds suggested the murderer had at least one accomplice. A statement by a garage attendant suggested the murder victim had lain in his car for 3 days before being discovered.

     This murder betrayed a shocking gap in the Security in place at the World Trade Center; no video camera surveillance photos existed to document who was responsible for this outrageous crime committed in a public place, and no eyewitnesses or ‘ear witnesses’ could be located. This event should have been sufficient to prove that Security measures at the Trade Center needed to be drastically improved. It should have been self-evident to Trade Center authorities that if a car could be parked for 3 days unexamined in a Trade Center parking lot with a dead body inside, such a vehicle could just as easily be left behind that contained a bomb. These lessons were not learned.

     On February 26, 1993, 6 people were murdered in the parking lot underneath the North Tower of the World Trade Center. On this occasion, a van rented from Ryder Trucks was left in an unauthorized parking zone that went unexamined by Port Authority employees before the bomb inside exploded shortly after noon. The bomb tore a gaping hole through three floors of the sub-level parking lot, sending acrid smoke billowing up the ventilation systems of the North Tower. This required the evacuation of thousands of the building’s occupants, including those who were trapped inside elevators that stalled once the explosion disrupted the Tower’s electrical systems. Some occupants high in the Tower, desperate for fresh air to breathe, broke the windows of the building, waving handkerchiefs of despair as they risked plummeting hundreds of feet to their deaths. The cold Winter air blowing into the towers from the North only added to the upward-spiraling effect of smoke being lifted from the scene of the blast to each successive floor above.

     As a result of this bombing, the security and structural integrity of the World Trade Center was re-evaluated. What officials discovered was that Louis DiBono, the man who held the multi-million dollar contract to fireproof the buildings, had cut corners in order to maximize his profits. Although the inadequate fireproofing was found to exist throughout the buildings, those responsible for correcting this threat to the public safety failed to correct the problem. After the Towers were destroyed on 9/11, various experts investigated the collapse of the buildings and presented evidence before Congress that had the Towers been adequately fireproofed, those buildings would have stood much longer, allowing the evacuation to safety of many more victims of the terrorist attack.

     In February, 2008 Charles Carneglia was indicted as the triggerman in the murder of Louis DiBono. Godfather John Gotti had previously been convicted for ordering this murder. Carneglia was charged with 5 murders, and was among 62 Mafia figures indicted in one of the most massive criminal cases in U. S. history. Given that it would be logistically impossible to take to trial 62 Defendants and their criminal lawyers, the Feds in New York offered plea bargains to almost all of those indicted. The few remaining Defendants include Carneglia, who is being held without bail.

     The murder of Louis DiBono is the first major crime alleged that links both Godfather Gotti and his son in the same crime. Through his attorney Gotti has maintained his innocence. While Junior Gotti’s current predicament is the result of his father’s machinations, his Fate may be determined by his ‘adopted brother,’ Lewis Kasman. What is sometimes overlooked by the Media is that Kasman was a long-time confidant of the entire family, including the Godfather’s widow, Victoria. Earlier this year it was revealed that Kasman had turned against the family and had been secretly tape-recording conversations with several of the Gottis. It’s probable that these tapes and other information provided by Kasman has provided the Feds with the evidence that solves their ‘statute of limitations’ problem in a racketeering case. Junior Gotti has maintained that he was a member of his father’s crime family for many years but withdrew once he accepted a plea bargain in 1999 to charges including bribing a Union leader, gambling rackets, and income tax evasion. After a 6 year prison term, Gotti resumed life with his wife and children.

     Crimes committed in the furtherance of a "racketeering enterprise" have a 5-year expiration; thus the Feds need evidence of criminal activity for that enterprise within the last 5 years to tie the entire case into such a Federal prosecution. However, there are frequently problems that arise in such cases, namely satisfying the legal definition or racketeering. Such a problem arose in the trial of the two "Mafia Cops," Lou Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa, who were convicted for several murders committed on behalf of "Gaspipe" Casso, the deranged hitman for the Luchese Mafia Family. However, the Federal Judge in that case, Jack Weinstein, ruled post-conviction that the "racketeering enterprise" had expired when the two corrupt cops moved from New York to Las Vegas, and thus the entire convictions were thrown out. However, if that decision is upheld, the two cops can be tried on State murder charges, for which there is no statute of limitation and those charges would not violate the legal concept of "double jeopardy."

     The current charges against Junior Gotti also include a "Mafia Cop," that of a retired NYPD Detective who is alleged to have participated in the murder of George Grosso. Junior Gotti is also alleged to have participated in a third murder, that of drug dealer Bruce John Gotterup in 1991.

EPILOGUE

     John "Junior" Gotti is being held without bail in a case that probably will not go to trial for over a year from now. Until his next day in Court, he will have a lot of time to examine his life, as he did during his previous incarceration, during which he was reported to have made statements questioning the life his father had gotten him into. It remains to be seen whether this will be yet another example of the Biblical admonition that "the Sins of the Fathers" will be visited on their sons.

To be continued

Related Features by this Author:

Crime Scene - World Trade Center
http://www.americanmafia.com/feature_articles_275.html

Last Days of the Gotti Gang
Part Fourteen: Heroin Chic
http://www.americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_387.html

Last Days of the Gotti Gang
Part Thirteen: Partial Victory for Gotti and Sliwa
http://americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_363.html

Last Days of the Gotti Gang
Part Twelve: Playing the 'Race Card?'
http://americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_358.html

Last Days of the Gotti Gang
Part Eleven: First Amendment Under Siege
http://americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_350.html

Last Days of the Gotti Gang
Part Ten: Mis-Trial and Error
http://americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_342.html

Last Days of the Gotti Gang
Part Nine: The Three Victims
http://americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_339.html

Last Days of the Gotti Gang
Part Eight: A Father’s Sins
http://americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_338.html

Last Days of the Gotti Gang
Part Seven: ‘Plan B; to ‘Get Gotti’
http://americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_320.html

Last Days of the Gotti Gang
Part Six: Homecoming for Junior Gotti
http://www.americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_318.html

Last Days of the Gotti Gang
Part Five: Junior’s Trial Intersects ‘Mafia Cops’ Trial
http://www.americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_315.html

Last Days of the Gotti Gang
Part Four: Curtis Sliwa Gets His Day In Court
http://www.americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_314.html

Last Days of the Gotti Gang
Part Three: "Dirty Dozen" Trial of Junior Gotti Begins
http://www.americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_308.html

Last Days of the Gotti Gang:
Part Two: Peter Gotti Convicted, Junior Awaits Trial
http://www.americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_292.html

Last Days of the Gotti Gang
Part One: The Two Godfathers vs. the Two Ladies
http://www.americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_280.html

 


James Ridgway de Szigethy can be reached at:
writer10065@peoplepc.com

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