John Gotti denies murders and racketeering in new Mafia case

John Gotti Junior, the son of one of America’s most notorious Mafia bosses, has denied racketeering and murder charges in court in Florida.

In what is the fourth attempt to convict him after a series of mistrials in New York, prosecutors allege he conspired to traffic cocaine and murder three men between 1988 and 1991.

The killings were aimed at creating and maintaining “fear and dread”, according to his indictment.

Gotti, 44, denied the charges at a five minute court hearing in Tampa. No date has been set for the trial but prosecutors have resisted attempts by defence lawyers to have it moved to New York, Gotti’s home town.

Federal prosecutors say Gotti and five other men who have been charged were members of the New York Gambino crime family who were trying at the time to expand to Tampa.

The charges include drug-dealing, obstructing justice and money laundering. Prosecutors say Gotti ordered the killing of the three men in Queens, New York.

Gotti’s family claimed he was being prosecuted because of his father.

“The whole case is ridiculous. He’s definitely not a mobster. He’s changed his life. He tries to live like the average Joe,” said his sister, Victoria.

“If they could pull his father’s body out of that grave three more times and try him, they would. It’s a vendetta.” The elder Gotti, known as the Dapper Don, died in a Missouri prison in 2002 while serving a life sentence for racketeering.

John Gotti denies murders and racketeering in new Mafia case – By Tom Leonard in New York – Last Updated: 6:42PM BST 29 Aug 2008 – Telegraph.co.uk – This story was found at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/2646425/John-Gotti-denies-murders-and-racketeering-in-new-Mafia-case.html