'Junior' Gotti seeks bail in NY

January 5, 2009 9:41:38 PM PST
Mob heir John A. "Junior" Gotti should be freed on bail while he awaits trial on racketeering charges, his lawyers argued Monday. Gotti's lawyers said in papers filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan that their client should be freed because he has always complied with bail conditions, there is strong evidence he is no longer connected to organized crime and he is not a risk to flee.

The lawyers said he also should benefit from the fact prosecutors made inaccurate claims regarding his possible danger to the community before three other Manhattan racketeering trials, which ended in hung juries.

"In this case, as in the previous three trials, the government will undoubtedly struggle to cobble together some attenuated theory with which it will attempt to defeat Gotti's defense that he withdrew from the charged conspiracy and renounced his former life of crime," the lawyers said.

Gotti's lawyers said new evidence gathered by prosecutors through cooperating witnesses in the last two years has shown members of organized crime no longer consider Gotti among their ranks.

The court papers also noted that the government in February 2008 did not include Gotti when it indicted 62 people accused of being members and associates of the Gambino family, which was headed by his father, John Gotti, before he was convicted of racketeering.

The elder Gotti died in prison while serving a life sentence.

The younger Gotti was arrested last year on an indictment brought against him in Tampa, Fla. A judge there found the charges in the case similar to those he had faced in the three New York racketeering trials and transferred the case to Manhattan. Gotti has not yet been moved to New York.

Gotti's lawyers described as "nonsensical" the government's argument that he should not get bail because a conviction could result in a life sentence.

"He has a proven record of standing to face whatever fight is before him," they said.

Prosecutors declined through a spokeswoman to comment on the defense submission.

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