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‘Junior’ Gotti Celebrates Release

October 2, 1998

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) _ You’d think he’d been acquitted.

Smiling in triumph, John A. ``Junior″ Gotti was escorted through a mob of reporters into a white Mercedes outside a federal courthouse Thursday, then driven to his Long Island home for a victory celebration with his family.

It is only the successful conclusion of Gotti’s long fight to be released on bail. His lawyer, Bruce Cutler, called it: ``The end of the beginning.″

Still ahead is a Jan. 5 trial on charges of robbery, extortion, loansharking, gambling and fraud. Gotti could be sentenced to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors say he is among those who have been running the Gambino crime family since the 1992 conviction of his father in connection with five murders. John J. Gotti, the ``Dapper Don,″ is imprisoned for life without parole.

The $10 million bail package will keep Gotti, 34, under a kind of lockdown at his six-bedroom home. His phone calls _ except to lawyers _ will be taped, and a guard will be posted 24 hours a day. Gotti has to wear an electronic device on his ankle so his movements can be tracked.

The bond was backed by property pledged by various friends and relatives of Gotti.

U.S. District Judge Barrington Parker, who will preside at Gotti’s trial, had rejected bail on the government’s contention that Gotti’s power in the crime family would endanger the community. He later ruled the government failed to back up the claim.

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