We’ll see if the fourth time is a charm for second-generation mobster John Gotti Jr., 45. As the jury began its deliberation Thursday on racketeering charges against the Gambino Family crime boss, the same circus-like atmosphere and fears of mob retaliation hung like a thick fog in the courtroom, as it had during the three previous trials involving the high-profile gangster -- trials that all resulted in a hung jury. Like his famed father before him, Gotti Jr. has managed to skirt a judicial system that has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to lock him up for the rest of his life. Facing the same fate as his father, John “Dapper Don” Gotti Sr., who died in prison in 2002, Gotti Jr. now waits quietly to see if this particular jury will convict him of racketeering or on two murder charges.
The trial to date has already shown signs of an outcome in Gotti Jr.’s favor, the same problems that plagued the previous trials. Some jurors, fearful of mob retaliation and claims of anonymous threats, have requested to be dismissed, while others are clearly staging their support for the defendant — an act that caused presiding judge Kevin Castel to send two of them packing. His decision caused Gotti Jr.’s mother, Victoria, to have a complete meltdown inside the courtroom, one of many bizarre outbursts and displays by the Gotti family.
“F****** animals!” she screamed at the judge after the jurors were dismissed.
“They’re railroading you! They’re doing to you what you did to your father!”
She was quickly removed from the courtroom but could still be heard yelling in the hallway. Earlier in the trial, Gotti Jr. referred loudly to a prosecution witness as a “dog” and a “punk.” Prosecutors also alleged Gotti Jr. mouthed the words “I’ll kill you” to another witness. However, prosecutors are confident that their star witness, former Gotti Jr. best friend, mobster, and recent rat, John Alite, 47, will be their smoking gun. Unfortunately, Alite’s testimony sounded like it came directly from the "Goodfellas" screenplay.
“When I went to restaurants, I didn’t wait. When I went to shows, I got the best seats,” he testified. “When we went to stores, we got suits custom-made. We got treated like celebrities.
“People looked at me differently and they knew I was somebody. I didn’t have to wait in line at the bakery.”
Alite said he bought “the best of everything,” including $500 Bruno Magli shoes, Rolex watches, gold bars, diamonds, and 24 cars.
It will be interesting to see if Gotti Jr. inherits his father’s Teflon. If so, it will even be more interesting to see just how federal prosecutors get a conviction. No matter the outcome, it’s pretty obvious that the theories of mob extinction are debunked. They’re clearly as strong and powerful as ever.