John Gotti grandson, famed Lufthansa heist suspect plead guilty in arson attack

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017
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Sandra Bookman reports from the courthouse in Queens.

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN, New York (WABC) -- John Gotti's grandson pleaded guilty in a Queens arson attack Tuesday, as did an aging mobster who two years ago beat charges in a legendary heist retold in the film "Goodfellas."

John J. Gotti, 23, and 82-year-old Vincent Asaro were joined in pleading by Matthew "Fat Matt" Rullan during a court appearance in Downtown Brooklyn.

Gotti and Rullan also pleaded guilty to participating in a bank robbery in Queens in 2012, in which they allegedly made off with nearly $5,500. They were arrested in March.

"He's relieved to put this behind him," Rullan's attorney Eric Franz said. "This conduct happened over five years ago, when he was much younger, and he's hoping the judge will exercise leniency."

Authorities said that Asaro was cut off by another driver in April of 2012, became enraged and ordered that the man's car be torched. Gotti was one of the people involved in the arson, along with Rullan and another associate.

"It was a good resolution for him," Asaro's attorney Elizabeth Macedonio said. "It was a fair resolution for him and we are expediting sentencing, hoping to get him thru the system as quickly as possible."

According to the criminal complaint, an NYPD police officer in an unmarked car observed the crime in progress and pursued the Jaguar on a high-speed chase through the streets of Queens until he terminated the pursuit for safety reasons due to Gotti's reckless driving.

Earlier this year, Gotti was sentenced to eight years prison as part of a plea bargain for running a $1.6 million-a-year oxycodone ring in his Queens neighborhood.

Gotti's attorney acknowledged his client's desire to put this behind him, but he added that leaving behind his famous name will not be as easy.

"If your name is Gotti and you think you can fly under the radar and do something undetected, your delusional," attorney Charles Carnesi said.

In 2015, Asaro was acquitted in the Lufthansa heist he allegedly orchestrated with James "Jimmy the Gent" Burke. A turncoat mob associate testified that Asaro and Burke killed a suspected informant with a dog chain, while the defense argued Asaro was framed.