If a mother's look could kill, John Alite might be a dead man.
The former University of Tampa student is all over the New York tabloids these days, key witness at a Brooklyn mob trial. He apparently managed to enrage the widow of former mob boss John Gotti when he testified last week.
Victoria Gotti heard that Alite claimed in court he'd fooled around with her married daughter, also named Victoria. The next day, the mother planted herself in the front row and stared down Alite.
"My daughter wouldn't spit on the best part of him," Mama Gotti, as she's called by the New York Daily News, told the newspaper. "He's a lying, little runt."
To loyal Gotti associates, Alite is a rat.
To federal prosecutors, he's a star witness — the one most spectators believe is key to convicting John Gotti Jr. on racketeering and murder charges. That trial has not yet begun, but Alite is warming up on Charles Carneglia, an alleged Gambino crime family member accused of racketeering.
The Daily News reports give a glimpse into the mudslinging that Tampa avoided when U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday kicked two Gambino crime family trials back to New York. The judge's latest ruling came Tuesday, when he transferred a case against James "Jimmy" Cadicamo of Tampa and four New York area men with alleged ties to John Gotti Jr.
The younger Victoria Gotti — who stood on the steps of Tampa's Federal Courthouse in August and called Alite a "very bad kid from the go" — defended her honor in a first-person piece in Sunday's Daily News.
"I do so only because of my three sons and the love and respect I have for them," Victoria Gotti said of her decision to respond to Alite's claims.
"It is a lie so ridiculous, it's an out-and-out fairy tale — and one, it seems, that only John Alite experienced," she wrote.
She said Alite's motives seemed clear.
"These days, every trial is about the Gottis," she wrote. "Without the Gotti name, there is no sensation."
Tuesday brought a report that Victoria Gotti claimed to have passed a polygraph test over the alleged affair with Alite.
Alite also testified that Victoria Gotti's husband beat her. She vehemently denied that, too.
Alite was once Gotti Jr.'s best friend.
Prosecutors have called Alite the bridge between the New York mob and its attempts to expand into Tampa through bars, clubs and the valet parking business. Alite pleaded guilty last year to a racketeering conspiracy charge, admitting involvement in three New York-area murders included in an indictment against Gotti Jr.
Last week, after the Brooklyn jury had heard Alite's sensational testimony and left the courtroom, the Daily News reported this from Mama Gotti: "He's a male whore, is what he is."
Kevin Graham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3433.