Feature Articles

October 2006

Last Days of the Gotti Gang

Part Thirteen: Partial Victory for Gotti and Sliwa

By J. R. de Szigethy

     The deadlocked jury in the third trial of John "Junior" Gotti on charges including witness tampering, extortion, racketeering, and the kidnapping of Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa, represented a partial victory for both the son of the former Gambino Mafia Family Godfather and the man the jury found was the victim of his wrath, Curtis Sliwa. For Gotti, the deadlocked jury that resulted in yet another Mis-trial means he once again escaped conviction on charges that would effectively amounted to a life sentence. For Curtis Sliwa, who has been claiming for over a decade that Junior Gotti was behind his kidnapping and near-fatal shooting in a stolen cab back in 1992, the colorful radio talk show host can at last claim �vindication� given that this third jury voted unanimously on the Count that accused Gotti of plotting his assault. Gotti, however, will not go to prison for ordering the assault on Sliwa, given that the jury was deadlocked 8 to 4 in favor of conviction on the racketeering charge, the all-encompassing statute that is invoked under the RICO legislation passed by Congress to dismantle organized crime syndicates. Jurors in the first Gotti trial last Summer were deadlocked 11-1 in favor of conviction on the racketeering charge while jurors in the second trial earlier this year were deadlocked 8-4 in favor of acquittal on the same charge.

     What Federal Prosecutors in the U. S. Attorney�s Office for the Southern District of New York must now decide is whether or not to seek taking Gotti to trial a fourth time. Gotti�s father earned the nickname "Teflon Don" because he escaped conviction in three separate trials, only to be convicted in a fourth trial once Gambino Family Underboss Sammy "The Bull" Gravano agreed to �flip� and become a co-operating witness for the government in order to obtain his �get-out-of-jail- free card.� The Feds in the current case had the Gravano equivalent in Michael "Mikey Scars" DiLeonardo, although jurors in all three trials did not accord the same credibility to DiLeonardo as was given to Gravano.

     The Witness Tampering charge in the case against Gotti revolved around his conversation with DiLeonardo�s son during a prison visit in 2003. Prosecutors alleged that John Gotti Jr. attempted to tamper with DiLeonardo through such communications with his son. However, the son was so disgusted by the personal behavior of his father that he had his name legally changed. John Gotti Jr. similarly has expressed conflicting emotions regarding his father, who aspired to the elevation of his son as Godfather of the Gambino Family, a position he himself earned through the public execution of previous Godfather Paul Castellano. Castellano and his driver Thomas Bilotti were murdered as they stepped outside their car parked in front of one of Castellano�s favorite restaurants, Spark�s Steak House, in December, 1985.

     Thus, John Gotti became Godfather, his driver being trusted aid Bobby Boriello. Boriello was gunned down in the driveway of his Brooklyn home in 1991 in a case of murder that has yet to be solved. "Mafia Cops" Lou Eppolito Sr. and Stephen Caracappa were eventually charged with conspiracy in that murder, although the charges were dropped during their sensational trial in Brooklyn Federal Court earlier this year.

     During the course of the prosecution of John Gotti Jr., the New York Post revealed that after Boriello�s murder, his widow turned to Mikey Scars DiLeonardo for emotional and financial help, only to be spurned. Instead, John Gotti Jr. stepped up to the plate and became a surrogate father for Boriello�s sons.


     It appears unlikely that the Federal Judge in John Gotti Jr.�s case will allow a Fourth trial to go forward, should Federal Prosecutors make that determination to proceed. John Gotti Jr. has made public statements that he intends to pack up his wife and six children and leave New York, starting a new life far removed from the rackets and scams of what was once the Gotti Gang.

     Thus, the man who would have been called "Godfather," will instead be a father figure, to both his own six biological children, as well as to those whom regard him as such, including the sons of Bobby Boriello and the son of Michael DiLeonardo.

     Such are the ends of the American Mafia, in which sons are turned against their fathers, and families against Family.

     From the day he was born, John Gotti Jr.�s father aspired for him to someday be Godfather, and, by definition, a murderer. A child, however, has two parents, and John�s mother Victoria has emerged during the three trials as a formidable force to be reckoned with. Like a lioness protecting her cub, Mrs. Gotti has asserted herself publicly and privately as matriarch of her family, unapologetically defending her son.

     The Godfather�s widow has made it clear that she once lost her son John to the American Mafia, and now that Fate has given him a second chance at life, she will not lose him again.

Related Features

Last Days of the Gotti Gang
Part Twelve: Playing the 'Race Card?'

Last Days of the Gotti Gang
Part Eleven: First Amendment Under Siege

Last Days of the Gotti Gang
Part Ten: Mis-Trial and Error

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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