NEW YORK — Spitting out the words in a furious outburst, John "Junior" Gotti called former pal and informant John Alite a "punk" and a "dog" during a recess Thursday in Gotti's racketeering trial
Gotti's shouting came after his lawyer tried to suggest that Alite once strangled a girl.
The episode began near the end of cross-examination, when Gotti lawyer Charles Carnesi asked Alite whether he had ever strangled and killed a girl. Alite said he had not, but he had heard about such an incident.
He said it was an uncle of Gotti who once had strangled a girl at a New York motel. As Alite testified, John Gotti spoke up from his seat at the defense table, according to prosecutors who were sitting close enough to hear, saying "You were there" and nodding his head.
As Alite left the witness stand, where he has buried Gotti under accusations of murder, drug dealing and dozens of other crimes during seven days of testimony, Gotti stood and glared at him.
"You got something you want to say to me?" Alite said, looking over at Gotti.
Gotti began shouting.
"Do I kill little girls, you ---?" he yelled at Alite. "Am I strangling little girls in a motel? … You're a punk, you're a dog. You always were."
Gotti's sister, Angel Gotti Forca, and other family members in the courtroom tried to quiet him, but Gotti went on berating Alite. After the brief tirade, he apologized to U.S. District Court Judge Kevin Castel.
As Gotti left the courtroom, he looked at his family, angrily denouncing Alite again.
"For years, for years, he made me get blamed for that," he said.
The case began with federal prosecutors in Tampa, but defense attorneys won a change of venue to New York. Authorities said Alite, who once attended the University of Tampa, led a Gambino family effort to gain a foothold in the area.
When court resumed Thursday afternoon, prosecutors told Castel that a U.S. marshal saw Gotti mouth the words "I'll kill you" at Alite during his morning testimony.
Castel told Gotti that any more outbursts would result in his being held in contempt of court.
Gotti, who faces murder and racketeering charges, is arguing that he withdrew from the mob in the 1990s. His trial is in its third week.