Mob Boss John Gotti Convicted Himself
As we all know, mob boss John Gotti was convicted of murder and racketeering in 1992 and sentenced to life in prison.
After serving 10-years of his life sentence, Gotti died from complications of head and neck cancer in a prison hospital in Springfield, Missouri.
Many people, especially Gotti supporters, believe that Gotti's conviction had more to do with the so-called "rat" who testified against him, his underboss and right-hand man in the Gambino crime family, Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano, than did any government tape or piece of evidence against him.
And to me, that has always sounded like sour grapes.
Law enforcement caught Gotti on tape making several damaging admissions. End of story, in my view!
The FBI obtained over six hours worth of conversations involving Gotti and various criminal cohorts.
Thinking he was smart by holding "secret" meetings in an apartment above his Ravenite social club in Manhattan's Little Italy, Gotti was unawares that an informant had tipped off the FBI about the apartment.
Breaking in late one night, FBI technicians planted several listening devices in the dining room area of the apartment.
Several days later, John Gotti ventured into the apartment with an associate and gave the listening agents and earful.
Gotti would return several more times over the course of several weeks, each time making damaging admissions and describing, in detail, a plethora of criminal activities.
On one tape, Gotti was overhead recounting a murder he had authorized, saying, "I was in the can when I whacked him. I knew why it was being done; I done it anyway. I allowed it to be done."
On another tape, Gotti discussed a murder he was planning, saying, "You know why he's dying? He refused to come in when I called. He didn't do nothin' else wrong."
On what can happen when a business partner falls out his favor, Gotti said, "Every time we get a partner who don't agree with us, we kill him. Your boss kills him."
Showing his talent for intimidation, Gotti was overhead on yet another tape instructing an underling to relay a message to a bookmaker who had the tenacity to open up a gambling joint on Gotti's turf: "You tell this punk, I, me, John Gotti, will sever your mother******g head off, you c********r!"
These Gotti quotes were but a fraction of the total mayhem offered up by Gotti during his "apartment" rants.
In one lengthy ramble, Gotti described his plan for creating an indestructible mafia borgata, one that would stand the test of time.
"This is gonna be a Cosa Nostra till I die," Gotti intoned. "Be it an hour from now, or be it tonight, or a hundred years from now when I'm in the can, this is gonna be a Cosa Nostra...It's gonna be the way I say it's gonna be, a Cosa Nostra!"
The so-called "Gotti tapes" were a smoking gun for the government prosecutors who ultimately prevailed in convicting Gotti.
Granted, when Gotti's underboss, Sammy Gravano, decided to flip and testify against his boss in exchange for a reduced sentence, the government welcomed him with open arms.
And while I think the testimony of Gravano was unnecessary for obtaining a conviction against Gotti, I believe the government, after losing three previous trials against Gotti, decided to use as much ammunition against Gotti as possible.
In the end, Gotti was carted off to jail, sentenced to several life terms, while Gravano, who admitted taking part in 19 mafia-related killings, was given a shameful five year prison term in exchange for his testimony.
But for all the people who hate Gravano for turning "rat" and pointing a damning finger at John Gotti, you have to realize that it was Gotti's mouth that brought down the Gambino hierarchy.
It was Gotti's loose lips and damaging admissions that gave the government the evidence to indict the Gambino boss and his two top lieutenants.
You can hate Sammy Gravano for ratting, but don't blame him for John Gotti's conviction!