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Gotti Jr. chooses Carnesi

Manhattan Federal Court Judge Shira Scheindlin suggested to Gotti last week that he use a free, court-appointed attorney in his forthcoming retrial on racketeering conspiracy charges. Gotti, 41, inherited the family business from his father, the late John Gotti, known as the "Dapper Don, but has maintained that he turned his back on a life of crime some years ago. The Gottis are from Howard Beach.The younger Gotti told the judge that he understood that the services of a lawyer she suggested would be free and the prospect was "appetizing" but that he would proceed with his plan to hire attorney Charles Carnesi. Carnesi represented Louis "Louie Black" Mariani, a co-defendant of Gotti's last year. Mariani was found guilty of securities fraud. Scheindlin cautioned Gotti that Carnesi would not be allowed to use information that might damage Mariani in his appeal or sentencing and thus any defense he could present would be limited. Scheindlin asked whether Gotti understood that it would be "like walking around with one arm tied around your back." "Yes, your honor," Gotti said. " said he felt more comfortable with Carnesi since he was familiar with the case. Gotti was defended in last year's trial by Jeffrey Lichtman, who has a trial opening Jan. 9, with Gotti's trial scheduled to start Feb. 13. The jury in Gotti's first trial, cleared him of securities fraud charges but could not come up with a verdict on charges of racketeering. Among those was a charge that Gotti was involved in promoting an attack on Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels. Sliwa was shot numerous times by a gunman who was hiding in the front seat of a stolen taxi which Sliwa had hailed. Sliwa had verbally attacked Gotti on the radio. The elder Gotti died in prison in 2002 while serving a life sentence for a variety of crimes including murders.Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 136.

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