Jury Hears More of Mob Killing and Business
NEW YORK (AP) _ Evidence presented in the trial of John Gotti on Thursday focused on how the reputed mob boss ran the Gambino crime family and allegedly sanctioned killing to settle disputes.
Prosecutors played a lengthy conversation, intercepted by an FBI bug secretly planted in Gotti’s Manhattan hangout in December 1989. In it, Gotti told Frank ″Frankie Locs″ Locascio how, as boss, Gotti put the interests of the Gambino family over his own.
″I don’t believe in bulldozin’. That’s what made me hate, really, Paul,″ Gotti said, complaining that his predecessor, Paul Castellano, put his own financial interests ahead of the Gambino’s.
Gotti, the crime family’s reputed boss, and Locascio, allegedly a top lieutenant, are on trial on federal racketeering charges.
As part of those charges, Gotti is accused of orchestrating the December 1985 assassination of Castellano to seize control of the Gambino family. Both defendants face life in prison if convicted.
Parts of the tape also focused on the slaying of Robert ″Di B″ DiBernardo, who disappeared days after a June 1986 family picnic celebrating his 50th birthday.
″When Di B got whacked, they told me a story,″ Gotti told Locascio, according to the transcript. ″I was in jail when I whacked him. I knew why it was being done. I done it anyway. I allowed it to be done, anyway.″
Prosecutors say Gotti sanctioned the killing of DiBernardo - who allegedly controlled a corrupt Teamsters union - at the request of Salvatore ″Sammy Bull″ Gravano, his former right-hand man.
Before the tape was played, DiBernardo’s daughter tearfully testified about his disappearance.
″We still haven’t seen or heard from him,″ Lori Kunen said. She told the jury her family has begun legal proceedings to have him declared dead.
Gravano turned against his underworld friends last fall and began cooperating with federal prosecutors. He is expected to testify against Gotti later in the trial.