THE BLOG
08/06/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Tangled Tale Of Lawyer And FBI Informer

The already tarnished credibility of FBI snitch Lewis Kasman, a key prosecution witness at the upcoming racketeering and murder trial of John (Junior) Gotti, was further sullied last week.

Kasman - the self-proclaimed "adopted son" of the late John Gotti who has already admitted stealing $80,000 while working as a paid FBI informer - was accused by a Manhattan attorney of stealing an additional $10,000 that the FBI gave him to use in a sting operation against the lawyer.

Joseph Bondy told Gang Land that - contrary to what Kasman told the FBI - he did not take $10,000 in cash from the wired-up informer at a meeting at the lawyer's office on July 26, 2005 during a discussion about legal fees for Bondy. At the time, Bondy represented Junior's uncle, Peter Gotti, older brother of the late Dapper Don.

"I wish I had," Bondy told Gang Land.

That summer, sources say, the FBI and federal prosecutors in Brooklyn had targeted several mob lawyers in an investigation into tax evasion and money laundering, including Bondy and Jeffrey Lichtman, who represented Junior Gotti during the first of his three Manhattan trials that ended with a hung jury.

"He took it all back after I told him that I needed his Social Security number for an 8300 form that I had to fill out," Bondy said.

Gang Land reached out to Bondy last week when looking into reports that the federal prosecutors in Junior Gotti's case had told the trial judge that they had nothing to do with efforts by Kasman to snare Lichtman during Gotti's trial. The lawyer, say the Manhattan prosecutors, was part of a larger corruption probe by their counterparts in Brooklyn.

According to FBI reports, Kasman was sent out with $11,500 in cash to see if either lawyer would take the funds, which were $1500 over the legal limit for unreported cash transactions.
The FBI report concerning Bondy states that "he retained the $10,000 in cash" and said "he would not file a report."

But Bondy, who told Gang Land that he believed an associate of his was privy to "at least some of the events," said that Kasman offered him even more dough - $13,000 in cash. But he said that the former Gotti family friend left his office with all the money. "I wish I had taken the $10,000," he said.

According to the FBI reports, Lichtman accepted $9500 in cash towards his legal fees, a figure that he has confirmed. "I think it's pitiful that they tried to entrap me in the middle of a trial," Lichtman said when stories first appeared last year that he had taken cash fees from Kasman during the 2005 trial.

In publicly filed court papers, prosecutors told Judge P. Kevin Castel that defense claims that Manhattan federal prosecutors engaged in improprieties by sending Kasman to speak to Lichtman during the first trial "is a fiction."

In redacted portions of their filings, the Gotti prosecutors say their office, and FBI agents involved in the Gotti probe, were shielded from all aspects of the lawyers' probe by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn.

Meanwhile, Castel also scheduled a hearing on a defense motion that the judge reconsider earlier rulings denying Junior bail on the grounds that prosecutors had failed to furnish the judge any allegations of recent criminal activity by Gotti that would call for him to remain behind bars while he awaits trial.

Castel, who has voiced some disagreement with recent arguments by prosecutors that Gotti is a danger to the community or a flight risk, scheduled the hearing for Wednesday (July 8) even before prosecutors could respond to the papers filed by Gotti lawyers Charles Carnesi and John Meringolo.