Feature Articles

March 2006

Last Days of the Gotti Gang

Part Ten: �Mis-Trial and Error�

By J. R. de Szigethy and Lou Eppolito Jr.

     In the second time in the space of half a year, John "Junior" Gotti has escaped conviction on charges he ordered the 1992 kidnapping of talk show host Curtis Sliwa, an event that left the controversial Guardian Angels boss shot and nearly killed. This second time around, however, the vote count was very different.

     In the first trial, jurors were deadlocked 11-1 to convict Gotti. In the new trial jurors were deadlocked 8-4 for acquittal. The second trial featured only two different circumstances than the first. One was the sensational allegation by government witness �Mikey Scars� DiLeonardo that both Junior Gotti and his father, former Gambino Mafia Family Godfather John Gotti, had an affair with another woman during their marriage and that the Senior Gotti fathered a �love child.� The allegations, not mentioned by DiLeonardo in the first trial, created a Media sensation, as the various publications in New York aggressively pursued the sex scandal story. was perhaps the only publication before the Verdict vote to suggest that there might be a �backlash� amongst the jurors in regards to the sex allegations, given that many Americans do not believe the government has any business poking around in the bedrooms of citizens, even alleged notorious criminals.

     The second major difference in the retrial was the testimony of Ron Kuby, the controversial attorney who is the partner of Curtis Sliwa in their daily, top-ranked WABC radio program, the Curtis and Kuby Show. Kuby was forced to testify under subpoena that �Junior� Gotti complained to him some years ago that he �wanted out� of the Mafia. Central to Junior�s defense was his claim that in 1999 he defied his father�s wishes by accepting a plea bargain to racketeering charges, vowing to leave organized crime forever once having served his sentence, upon which time he would relocate his wife and kids to a Mafia-free location and start a new life.

     However, the only member of the anonymous jury who came forward to speak to the Media was the jury foreman, who claimed that neither the sex allegations nor Kuby�s testimony was a significant factor in his decision to vote to acquit on all charges. Instead, the juror�s public statements suggested he - and at least several others - simply did not believe a single allegation made by the Prosecution�s star witness, Michael DiLeonardo.

     In the Court of public opinion, two events during this Media circus may have turned some public sentiment in Junior Gotti�s favor. One, of course, was the public disdain for the government�s invasion of the Gotti family�s privacy in regards to the sex allegations, although many of those disgusted by this event were surely among those who plunked down pocket change to buy the tabloid�s latest reporting on the scandal.

     Secondly, in a demonstration that nothing is sacred when it comes to the selling of newspapers, members of the Media violated Junior Gotti�s right to privacy by sneaking a reporter and photographer inside a local Church in which he was praying with his kids. Gotti was even criticized for his attire, yet none of the Media involved in this outrage volunteered at to what they were wearing while they violated the privacy of not only Mr. Gotti, but every person in that Congregation. Many Americans do not believe the government should be present in their bedrooms, nor the Media inside their places of worship.

     Thus, the actions of the Feds and the Media may have prejudiced the jury pool in New York to the point where it will be impossible for the Feds to find 12 jurors who can objectively decide this case in the third trial, now scheduled for the day after the Fourth of July.

     Ultimately, the victim in this case may be Curtis Sliwa, who all of his adult life has sought to manipulate the Media to his own advantage. If indeed Junior Gotti was the person who ordered the assault on Curtis Sliwa and yet escapes conviction, then Sliwa has only the Media, or which he is a member, to blame.

To be continued

Related Features

Last Days of the Gotti Gang
Part Nine: The Three Victims

Last Days of the Gotti Gang
Part Eight: A Father�s Sins

Last Days of the Gotti Gang
Part Seven: �Plan B; to �Get Gotti�

Last Days of the Gotti Gang
Part Six: Homecoming for Junior Gotti

Last Days of the Gotti Gang
Part Five: Junior�s Trial Intersects �Mafia Cops� Trial

Last Days of the Gotti Gang
Part Four: Curtis Sliwa Gets His Day In Court

Last Days of the Gotti Gang
Part Three: "Dirty Dozen" Trial of Junior Gotti Begins

Last Days of the Gotti Gang:
Part Two: Peter Gotti Convicted, Junior Awaits Trial

Last Days of the Gotti Gang
Part One: The Two Godfathers vs. the Two Ladies

Ends of Evil: The Final Days of Sammy "The Bull" Gravano


James Ridgway de Szigethy can be reached at:

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