John Gotti, the Infamous "Teflon Don"

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NEW YORK, Apr. 2, 1992 -- The infamous “Teflon Don,” John Gotti, former head of the Gambino family was convicted and sentenced to life in prison today without possibility of parole. He was convicted on 5 counts of murder (Castellano and Bilotti, Robert DiBernardo, Liborio Milito and Louis Dibono), conspiracy to commit murder, illegal gambling, loan sharking, racketeering, extortion, obstruction of justice, bribing a public official and tax evasion (Goodstein, 1992). Acting as boss, John Gotti was believed to have made the Gambino family more than $500 million in revenue from illegal gambling, drug trafficking, extortion, and stock fraud (“John Joseph Gotti Jr”, 2014). During the trial, the judge ordered that the jurors stay anonymous, identified only by number, in order to avert a repeat of the jury tampering that occurred involving previous trials with Mr. Gotti (FBI, 2007). Gotti is recorded as keeping the same half smile he wore the entire trial, even as he was informed that the rest of his life would be spent in a cell block (Lubasch, 1992). Born on the 27th of October, 1940, to a blue collar family in the South Bronx, John Gotti was the fifth of 13 children born to Fannie and J. Joseph Gotti. The family’s income was less than consistent because of John’s father’s unpredictable work as a day laborer. After moving constantly, the family finally settled in East New York: an area notorious for its youth gang activity (“John Joseph Gotti Jr”, 2014). During his teenage years, Gotti became affiliated with the Gambino family, one of the “Five Families” that control most organized crime in New York (Jenkins). He started out as an errand boy for an underground club, where he met Aniello Dellacroce, who would eventually become his men... ... middle of paper ... ...lon Don,” because the charges just wouldn’t stick. Gotti used his newfound status as boss to move the Gambino family headquarters to Manhattan at the Ravenite social club. The move made him a target for further surveillance from law enforcement, and by 1989 no less than nine men were informing on him. Conversations recorded by bugs were enough to indict him on RICO charges once again; however, the final decision to prosecute came when Sammy Gravanno, Gotti’s consigliore, struck a deal and agreed to testify against him. With Gravanno’s testimony and the taped evidence, the prosecution’s case was irrefutable. After deliberating for only 14 hours, the jury found Gotti guilty on all counts (Mustain & Capeci, 1988). Assistant director of the FBI’s New York branch, James M. Fox, is documented in saying, “The don is covered with Velcro and every charge stuck” (FBI, 2007).

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