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John Gotti Jr.’s lawyer is considering making a star defense witness out of the mob rat whose testimony consigned Gambino crime family boss John Gotti Sr. to a life prison term, but this time he may be asked to save the Dapper Don’s son from a similar fate.
The defense is expected to begin presenting its case next week and Charles Carnesi, chief defense counsel for Gotti Jr., said he first wants to question Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano before deciding whether he will bring Gravano into the trial of Gotti Jr. in Manhattan federal court.
“I plan to interview him, then we’ll see,” Carnesi said.
Gravano testified against Gotti Sr. in the 1992 trial that convicted the man that up to then had also been known as the Teflon Don for having avoided conviction in three earlier trials.Gravano was a high-ranking member of the Gambino family.
Gotti Sr., a Howard Beach resident, was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison where he died in 2002.
As with most convicted criminals who testify for the prosecution, Gravano was put into the federal Witness Protection Program. Gravano was relocated to Arizona, but sentenced to a 19-year prison sentence after he was convicted of operating an Ecstasy-selling drug ring.
The defense in Gotti Jr.’s trial is interested in questioning Gravano about the 1990 rub-out of Louis DeBono, whose body was discovered in a Cadillac in a World Trade Center garage. Federal prosecutors have been trying to establish that Gotti Jr. was involved in DeBono’s slaying.
Gotti Jr. is on trial for the fourth time since 2005 on charges of racketeering and two murders.
Federal Judge Kevin Castel, meanwhile, announced he had relieved of duty a second member of the jury, a 39-year-old equities manager, who complained that serving at length on the panel could come at a heavy cost to him.
The juror, who manages a portfolio, told the judge his work required unceasing supervision and if he was not allowed to have access to a computer, “then I have no choice but to respectfully ask that I am relieved.”
The judge had previously dismissed a female juror, who said she was too frightened to continue after a car grazed her near Union Square.
Federal prosecutors said Gotti Jr. was a Mafia mogul who presided over an empire of racketeering and ordered people killed.
The defense maintains that while Gotti Jr. may have once been a La Cosa Nostra higher up, he abdicated and turned his back on organized crime by 1999.
His first three trials ended in hung juries.
Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 136.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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