Wiseguy John A. (Junior) Gotti better stop cracking wise.
When Gotti's fourth trial for racketeering got underway yesterday, Junior cracked a little joke. And the judge was none too pleased.
“Good morning. I am John Gotti," the mob scion told the court as the jury election started, the Daily News reported. " Here I am again."
The joke comes after three failed government attempts to nab him for an extensive racketeering conspiracy that involved drug-related slayings, bribery, loan sharking, drug dealing and extortion in the 1980s and 1990s. The conspiracy also includes the murder of George Grosso and John Gotterup, both of Queens.
Judge Kevin Castel doesn’t want potential jurors to know the government's failed attempts because jurors might get the wrong idea and think, “’why are they going after this man?’ That is not a proper line of attack,” the judge said, according to the Daily News.
Defense lawyers said Gotti, 45, has been in jail or court for many years and argued that he couldn’t possibly be involved with the mob. “He is under a microscope,” defense lawyer Charles Carnesi said, the paper reported.
Carnesi’s main defense is that ex-Gambino family assassin, John Alite, wanted to hammer out a deal with the government and knew of the government's desperation, so he altered his testimony to benefit the prosecution’s case.
A defense lawyer also told a court observer that Gotti is broke and can’t even pay for court transcripts.
Gotti claims he left the mob in 1999 and racketeering charges have reached their statute of limitations.
Prosecutors have new evidence and are presenting new witnesses. During jury selection, Gotti took meticulous notes as lawyers questioned 24 potential jurors.
One juror held religious beliefs that forbade him from judging others. He was excuses as well as other who said they had already passed judgment on him. Gotti was a “brand name” in organized crime one prospective juror said, the paper reported.