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Brother of John Gotti Is Convicted

March 17, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) _ The brother of late mob boss John Gotti was found guilty Monday of racketeering charges accusing him of quietly assuming control of the Gambino crime family.

The jury reached the verdict after deliberating six days in federal court in Brooklyn.

Peter Gotti, 63, was the star defendant in a far-reaching mob case alleging a campaign of extortion stretching from the city’s waterfront to Hollywood.

Prosecutors accused Gotti of pocketing thousands of dollars from extortion. In addition to racketeering, Gotti was also charged with racketeering conspiracy and money laundering. The jury was still reading those charges and nearly 70 other counts against Gotti and six co-defendants Monday afternoon.

The verdicts against the six co-defendants, including another Gotti brother, Richard V. Gotti, and a nephew, Richard G. Gotti, were not immediately read.

The case stemmed from an investigation aimed at loosening the Mafia’s grip on New York City’s waterfront. Prosecutors alleged the Gambinos shook down the longshoremen’s union and sought to extort up to $3 million from tough-guy movie star Steven Seagal.

Seagal, who starred in ``Under Siege″ and ``Exit Wounds,″ testified that the mobsters demanded payoffs during a meeting at a steakhouse. Afterward, one told him, ``If you would have said the wrong thing, they would have killed you,″ he said.

Gotti’s lawyer, Gerald Shargel, told the jury that the government had ``failed completely and utterly and miserably to put any evidence before you that Peter Gotti is the acting boss of anything.″

Shargel accused prosecutors of using his unassuming client as a stand-in for his notorious brother, who died of cancer last June.

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