A federal prosecutor has described John Gotti Jr. as a merciless killer who spent his life harvesting the fruits of organized crime, but his lawyer said Gotti Jr. quit as a mafia don before the time he is accused of leading the mob.
Assistant U.S. attorney Elie Honig kept pointing to the 45-year-old Gotti Jr. as he denounced the son of the late John Gotti Sr.
The scene was the courtroom of federal Judge Kevin Castel in Manhattan, where Gotti Jr. is on trial for the fourth time in five years. His first three trials ended in mistrials.
“He has threatened, extorted, robbed, beaten, kidnapped, stabbed, shot and killed,” Honig said. “Killed with his own hands and ordered others to kill for him.”
But Charles Carnesi, Gotti Jr.’s attorney, said his client may indeed have been a mob kingpin, but he gave it all up before the time the federal government says he committed the crimes for which he was indicted.
Carnesi said his client saw his father die of cancer in prison far from his family and “came face-to-face with hard reality. He said, ‘I’m out. I want no part of this life.’”
It was then that he left the Gambino crime family, Carnesi told the jury.
Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledge
©2009 Community News Group
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