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Queens Chronicle

Fourth mistrial in five years for Gotti

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Posted: Thursday, December 3, 2009 12:00 am

The jurors in John Gotti Jr.’s fourth racketeering trial since 2005 weren’t the only ones to receive a Twizzler-sweet treat in court.

Following three months of explosive dramatic interludes, diva-like jury behavior — juror No. 7 reportedly adored being put up in a hotel and having a personal escort accompany her on cigarette breaks — and quibbling among jurors so intense Judge Kevin Castel resorted to calming them with strawberry licorice, one racketeering and two murder charges against Gotti, 45, were dropped this week.

After 11 days of deliberations and a five-day Thanksgiving vacation break, the jury sent Castel its second note on Tuesday, declaring it was still at an impasse.

“While we are disappointed with today’s result, we thank the jurors for their diligent service,” Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York said in a statement. “We are evaluating how to proceed and, in the near future, will inform the court and the defense of our decision.”

In its closing arguments, the prosecution painted the son of the late Gambino crime boss, who faced a life sentence in prison, as a street thug who “built and ran a massive cocaine trafficking operation.” Defense attorney Charles Carnesi struck back, cautioning the jury to not believe everything that had been put forth by the prosecution’s star witness, former drug dealer John Alite.

In his testimony, Alite tied his former friend to eight murders and claimed Gotti was so ruthless he even returned to an Ozone Park bar where he had allegedly stabbed Danny Silva to mock him with a Porky Pig imitation of “Th-th-th-that’s all folks!”

The witness, who confessed to taking part in more than 30 shootings, even hinted at having had an affair with Gotti’s sister Victoria — an accusation the reality TV star denies.

This marks the fourth jury that has been unable to agree on Gotti’s fate. In 2005, allegations against Gotti included extortion, loansharking, security fraud and plotting to kidnap Guardian Angel’s founder Curtis Sliwa. Three juries deadlocked on the charges.

Throughout the latest trial, Gotti has held that he quit the mobster life in 1999, after he pleaded guilty to racketeering charges and spent several years in prison.

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