THE BLOG

The Junior Gotti Chronicles

08/02/2009 05:12 am 05:12:01 | Updated May 25, 2011

Prosecutors are still focused on some very old, very violent - and pretty astounding - crimes that they want to raise at John (Junior) Gotti's upcoming trial, in addition to the three specific murders that he is charged with in his indictment.

The crimes involve two murders - one an official suicide now deemed to be an execution - while Gotti was still a teenager, as well as bribes by mobster pals of Junior's late father to a decorated NYPD detective in order to shield the budding mobster from arrest.

All those crimes, sources say, stem from a much-investigated Queens barroom brawl during which young Gotti allegedly stabbed a patron to death a month after the budding Junior Don's 19th birthday.

In a secretly filed "enterprise" letter obtained by Gang Land, assistant U.S. attorneys Elie Honig, Jay Trezevant and Steve Kwok lay out details of those crimes - along with many others - and have asked Judge P. Kevin Castel to allow them to introduce the evidence at trial.

Gotti has long been a suspect in the bar slaying - Gang Land first reported in 2002 that the feds were looking to charge him with that murder. Sources say the FBI now has new information that not only ties Junior to the killing, but to efforts by him and others to obstruct the investigation of it through bribes and the murder of a witness.

Gotti has denied any involvement in that killing or any other murders. But in a controversial "proffer session" he had with the feds in 2005, Junior said now-deceased Gambino solder Angelo Ruggiero paid a $25,000 bribe to a Queens detective, and that Ruggiero and two others killed the witness and made it look like a suicide.

Prosecutors are prohibited from using these statements, or others he made during the session with his prior lawyers. But the allegations contained in the "enterprise" letter are from cooperating witnesses and could be used at trial, if Castel rules they are relevant.

On March 12, 1983, at the Silver Fox Inn, young Gotti started a fight that ended with him fatally stabbing Daniel Silva, prosecutors charge in the letter. Junior and several "other enterprise members" kept "Gotti's name from surfacing as a suspect" by paying off a "local law enforcement officer involved in the investigation, according to the letter.

"After the killing of Silva, other Gambino family members murdered witness John Cennamo, who was cooperating with law enforcement concerning the murder of Silva," the prosecutors wrote.

Sources tell Gang Land that Cennamo told cops that he saw Junior and his cohorts beat and stab Silva and then flee in a 1979 Lincoln that Junior was driving in 1983.

Soon after he cooperated, Cennamo was found hanged, and his death was officially labeled a suicide.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers declined to discuss the Silva murder or its aftermath. But during a brief discussion about Cennamo's mysterious demise in court last month, prosecutor Honig agreed to turn over to Gotti attorney Charles Carnesi all official medical examiner reports that had found the death to be a suicide.

As we reported previously, prosecutors also want to introduce evidence that Junior drove a "crash car" during the 1988 murder of longtime FBI informer Wilfred (Willie Boy) Johnson. They are also seeking to show that he took part in several home invasion robberies, including the residence of a Florida doctor. In addition, prosecutors cite seven alleged murder conspiracies and numerous "discussions" that Gotti had about five other "proposed murders" as evidence they would like to tell the jury about at trial.

In brief remarks, Castel noted the enterprise letter was a lot meatier on Gotti's long ago past than on his more recent failings. The letter, said the judge was "rather rich with detail as to events occurring in the 1980s" but "not very much that's new within the period that would be covered by the defendant's withdrawal defense." During the session, prosecutors promised to amend their letter to include more recent allegations against the erstwhile Junior Don.