Feds arrest John 'Junior' Gotti

August 5, 2008 5:19:07 PM PDT
Despite surviving three mistrials in two years and declaring himself long retired from the mob, John A. "Junior" Gotti was hit with new federal charges Tuesday involving three gangland slayings - including one ordered by his infamous father. The charges marked the latest in a string of attempts in recent years by the government to put away Gotti, who prosecutors say followed in the footsteps of his mob boss father in leading the Gambino crime family. And just like his "Teflon Don" father, the younger Gotti has proved to be highly skilled at evading convictions on a variety of mob indictments brought against him.

"What should be noted today is whether you violate the federal law today, tomorrow, or 20 years ago, the FBI and its law enforcement partners will pursue the matter to its logical conclusions," said Steven E. Ibison, special agent-in-charge of the Tampa, Fla., FBI office.

Gotti's attorney denied the charges and accused the government of holding a grudge against him for beating previous prosecutions. Over the years, a parade of mob turncoats who testified against the Gambinos "never accused John Gotti of drugs or murder - never happened," said Charles Carnesi.

"Wrup in 1991, both in Queens. The indictment also alleges he possessed and trafficked more than 5 kilograms of cocaine.

Gotti "has led a life of violence, including these three murders," prosecutor Elie Honig said while successfully arguing against bail in federal court in Manhattan.

"He's never been charged with murder before," Honig said. "Now he's been charged with three."

A magistrate ordered Gotti held without bail until agents transport him to Florida. It was unclear how soon he would depart.

Gotti, wearing a navy blue polo shirt, shook his head at one point as the prosecutor described the charges, but showed no other reaction. FBI agents had arrested Gotti early Tuesday at his Long Island home.

It is not the first time Gotti has been rounded up by federal agents.

In 1999, he pleaded guilty to racketeering crimes including bribery, extortion, gambling and fraud. He was sentenced to 77 months in prison and was released in 2005.

But less than two months before he was released, prosecutors brought a separate racketeering case for an alleged kidnapping and attempted murder plot against Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa - an outspoken critic of the Gottis. The trials in 2005 and 2006 ended in hung juries and mistrials after Gotti used the defense that he had quit the mob for good in the late 1990s.

"It's enough now. They got to let go," Gotti after the third trial, saying he hoped to return to a quiet life with his wife and six children.

If convicted of the new charges, Gotti faces up to life in prison. His father died in prison six years ago while serving a life term on his 1992 murder and racketeering charge.

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