‘Junior’ Gotti begins new trial for racketeering and murder

September 22, 2009

(ChattahBox) — The racketeering trial of alleged Mafia boss John “Junior” Gotti began Monday with the government portraying the mob heir as a career criminal who has dodged prison by intimidating witnesses and obstructing justice. Gotti, 45, has previously served prison time for racketeering, but three later trials where he was accused of plotting to kidnap Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels crime-fighting group ended in hung juries and mistrials after Mr Gotti used the defense that he had quit the mob for good in the 1990s.

This time around Junior has been charged with conspiracy linked to cocaine trafficking and three gangland murders, in 1988, 1990 and 1991. Prosecutors have a new star witness named John Alite, a former friend and business of Mr Gotti who ties him to the drug charges and the three murders.

“Here I am again,” Mr Gotti said last week when introducing himself to prospective jurors. Just before the trial began, the judge announced that seven jurors had made a last-minute appeal to be dismissed. The reasons were not disclosed, and they were sworn in anyway. Gotti’s father John died in prison in 2002 after he was convicted of racketeering a decade earlier.

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