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Judge Declares Mistrial in Gotti Case

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  • Judge Declares Mistrial in Gotti Case

    Judge Declares Mistrial in Gotti Case

    By TOM HAYS, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 7 minutes ago

    NEW YORK - The judge in the John A. "Junior" Gotti racketeering case declared a mistrial on the most serious charges Tuesday after the jury said it was hopelessly deadlocked.

    After eight days of deliberations, the jury said it could agree on only one count, and acquitted Gotti of conspiracy to commit securities fraud. That verdict will stand if there is a retrial in the case.

    U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin declared a mistrial on the remaining counts, which included an allegation that Gotti plotted the kidnapping of Curtis Sliwa, the founder of the Guardian Angels crime-fighting group.

    Prosecutors told the judge that they would seek to retry Gotti, the son of the late mob boss John Gotti.

    Defense attorneys asked that Gotti be released on bail. Scheindlin said she was likely to grant the request, drawing applause from Gotti's supporters.

    Gotti was smiling in the courtroom after it was announced the trial had ended. He hugged one of his co-defendants and his lawyers.

    "This case, what's left of it, is a limping wreck," said his lawyer, Jeffrey Lichtman, predicting that Gotti would be free on bail within days.

    "John is very pleased. He's going to be home very shortly with his children, which is all he's talked about for the last year."

    The jury did not reach a decision in one of the most serious racketeering allegations against Gotti, an allegation that he ordered his Gambino crew to give Sliwa, a WABC radio host, a severe beating in retaliation for his on-air rants against his father.

    A masked hit man shot Sliwa during a struggle in a taxi. Sliwa survived, and he testified last month, as did admitted mobsters who pleaded guilty and became government cooperators.

    The defense told jurors that Gotti had nothing to do with the Sliwa attack and said he retired from the Gambinos following an unrelated racketeering conviction in 1999. Prosecutors dismissed the claim, saying Gotti used his name to rise in the crime organization and gave orders and collected kickbacks beyond 1999.

    Gotti faced a sentence of up to 30 years in prison if convicted of multiple racketeering charges. His father was sentenced to life in prison in 1992 and died there 10 years later.