On Monday, opening arguments were heard in the latest case against John “Junior” Gotti, the 45-year-old son of late Mafia boss John Gotti, who is on trial for the fourth time in four years.
The trial takes place in a familiar setting, Manhattan federal court, the same location where Gotti’s three 2005 and 2006 trials all ended in hung juries and mistrials. And while the admitted former mob associate is used to standing for racketeering charges, he also faces murder and drug charges this time around. He is charged with taking part in three gangland killings and drug trafficking.
Even before Assistant U.S. Attorney Elie Honig delivered his opening statement, seven jurors sent a letter to Judge Kevin Castel requesting he dismiss them from the trial. One juror claimed to be “nervous and intimidated.” All the jurors were sworn in anyway.
Honig described Gotti as a “vicious and violent street criminal” who had a hand in three decades of racketeering activity and had evolved into a ruthless business criminal.
Gotti’s lawyer, Charles Carnesi, told the jury that his client had nothing to do with any of the murders and that he had quit the mobster life years before his father died in 2002, while serving a life-long prison sentence.
The jury is expected to hear testimony from John Alite, former friend of Gotti, who claims he was assigned by Gotti the task of killing an associate who defied his family’s orders.