Prosecutors: Don't Believe Gotti's 'I Quit' Excuse

Closing arguments get underway in John "Junior" Gotti's 4th racketeering trial

By LARRY NEUMEISTER
|  Monday, Nov 9, 2009  |  Updated 11:45 PM EDT
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John Gotti, Jr. Trial Coming to an End

John "Junior" Gotti will learn his fate soon after closing arguments are finished this week.

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John Gotti, Jr. Trial Coming to an End

Closing arguments Monday in the trial of John Gotti, Jr.
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Don't believe a defense lawyer's argument that John "Junior" Gotti quit organized crime with a sudden epiphany more than a decade ago, a prosecutor told a jury Monday during closing arguments in Gotti's fourth trial on racketeering charges in as many years.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James Trezevant called the claim contrary to evidence. "It makes no sense," he said as he started daylong closings.

Gotti would have had to turn against hundreds of mobsters working for him and immediately stop more than a decade of "nonstop crime," Trezevant said.

"He has never, never quit that life," the prosecutor said as Gotti sat calmly at the defense table at the 2-month trial. Three others ended in mistrials.

Gotti's lawyer, Charles Carnesi, countered the prosecution's closing by attacking the government's turncoat witnesses, saying they were willing to tell lies about Gotti to reduce their own prison sentences.

"The trial should be a search for the truth. The truth should not be for sale," Carnesi said.

Carnesi finished for the day without addressing the prosecutor's claims that Gotti never quit organized crime. He left the subject for Tuesday morning, when he will resume his argument.

Carnesi has maintained that Gotti quit the Gambino family business when he pleaded guilty in 1999 to racketeering and agreed to serve five years in prison.

Just before he concluded the defense case earlier Monday, Carnesi introduced evidence to show that a fellow mobster threatened Gotti's life after hearing he had given up organized crime.

Trezevant told the jury to convict Gotti of racketeering conspiracy and two drug-related murders, saying he had made millions of dollars by creating a mob-run network of drug dealers in the 1980s that he maintained using violence, including murder.

He said Gotti joined the Gambinos in the early 1980s out of lust for power and fortune. He called him an "unrepentant street thug."

Trezevant said Gotti "embraced the violence and treachery of mob life from the very beginning."

He recalled testimony by witnesses who claimed Gotti sliced a man to death in a bar in 1983 and left, only to pop back into the bar's entrance while his victim was dying to shout, "Th-th-that's all folks," like Porky Pig.

He said Gotti later "cartoonishly" mocked the forced hanging of another man.

Gotti's father, also named John, was sentenced to life in prison after he was convicted of racketeering in 1991. The former Gambino boss died there in 2002.

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