Feds Won't Prosecute Gotti Fifth Time

Mob scion walks for good.

By Hasani Gittens
|  Thursday, Jan 14, 2010  |  Updated 7:56 AM EDT
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Feds Won't Prosecute Gotti Fifth Time

AP

John "Junior" Gotti

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John Gotti can stop looking over his shoulder, for the time being. Federal prosecutors decided today that they will not retry the alleged mafia Don on racketeering charges.

If they had pursued prosecution, it would be the fifth time the government went after "Junior."

"In light of the circumstances, the Government has decided not to proceed with the prosecution against John A. Gotti," said Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, in a statement.

After his fourth trial ended in a mistrial last month, law-enforcement sources had speculated that the feds would finally quit because the jury pool had been tainted.

"Obviously we're thrilled," said Gotti's defense lawyer Charles Carnesi. "He wants to savor the moment with his family. I'm very pleased, I think they acted appropriately."

Gotti has been free on $2 million bail since a jury deadlocked on Dec. 1 after deliberating for 11 days.

Seth Ginsberg, another one of his lawyers, called it the "right decision."

"I hope that they stick to it this time and let John and his family be at peace," Ginsberg added.

Three trials in 2005 and 2006 also had ended in hung juries, after the government presented evidence accusing Gotti of ordering a kidnapping and attempted murder plot against Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa.

In the latest trial, prosecutors for the first time attempted to tie Gotti to multiple murders, in addition to the claims about Sliwa.

The repeated hung juries left some comparing Gotti to his father, the late John "Dapper Don" Gotti. The elder Gotti was convicted of racketeering in 1991. He was sentenced to life in prison and died in prison in 2002.

Family members claim "Junior" Gotti has been a government target simply because of his last name. The 45-year-old mobster, born on Valentine's Day in Queens, led the Gambino crime family for much of the 1990s while his father was in prison.

Gotti wants his six children to have something he didn't have while he was growing up – a present father. His dad had already spent nine years behind bars by the time he was 13.

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