"Junior" Gotti Pleads Not Guilty to New Murder Rap

Prosecutors Won't Seek the Death Penalty

By JONATHAN DIENST
|  Tuesday, Aug 4, 2009  |  Updated 6:16 PM EDT
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"Junior" Gotti Pleads Not Guilty to New Murder Rap

John "Junior" Gotti is led by law enforcement officials.

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Mobster John "Junior'' Gotti pleaded not guilty today to new murder charges in Manhattan federal court.

Prosecutors filed a superseding indictment against Gotti alleging he took part in the drug-related murder of George Grasso in December 1988.  He will was also charged in connection with the November 1991 drug-related murder of Bruce John Gotterup, prosecutors said.

In a letter to Judge Kevin Castel, prosecutors said they do not plan to seek the death penalty if there is a conviction on the murder-conspiracy related counts.

Defense lawyer Charles Carnesi didn't immediately respond to messages following today's arraignment.

"Junior" Gotti is currently awaiting trial on racketeering charges that include allegations of murder, gambling, bribery, kidnapping, extortion and drug dealing. The previous charges included three murder-related counts. The new charges bring the alleged murder count to five.

Read the indictment

Earlier this month, a federal district judge in Manhattan refused to dismiss a conspiracy case against Gotti and also denied a request that he be released on bail while awaiting trial. Gotti maintains he quit organized crime a decade ago.

His lawyers say prosecutors have failed to develop any evidence to show Gotti has participated in organized crime in the last 10 years. They also say prosecutors have indicted Gotti with old evidence that has not worked at three previous trials that ended with hung juries.

Gotti was arrested last year on an indictment brought against him in Tampa, Fla. A judge there transferred the case to Manhattan.

Three previous cases against Gotti ended in hung juries and mistrials in 2005 and 2006.

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