Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sister: Gotti trial is government vendetta

Victoria Gotti talks to the media as she leaves the Sam M. Gibbons United States Courthouse in Tampa on Thursday.


Victoria Gotti talks to the media as she leaves the Sam M. Gibbons United States Courthouse in Tampa on Thursday.

TAMPA — Moments after John Gotti Jr. pleaded not guilty Thursday to racketeering and murder charges, his sister stood on the steps of the federal courthouse in downtown Tampa and called the government's case against him a vendetta.

"The government is going to take the calvary out for this because if they lose, it's going to be an embarrassment. And they are going to lose," said Victoria Gotti, mentioning three Manhattan trials on racketeering charges in 2005 and 2006 for her brother that ended in hung juries and mistrials.

"He can win this trial, and he will," she said. "We're confident."

Gotti, 44, wore a blue jail uniform and shackles around his ankles as he appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth A. Jenkins. He didn't speak during the five-minute hearing but showed an upbeat spirit, smiling and waving to his sister, who hung her head in court and wiped tears when she saw him.

"It's sad," Victoria Gotti said later, before leaving to fly back to her New York home. "I haven't seen or heard from him in a month. … His presence is missed."

Gotti has remained in federal custody since his arrest Aug. 5 at his Oyster Bay, N.Y., home. He left a Brooklyn, N.Y., detention center two weeks ago headed for Tampa. Charles Carnesi, his attorney, said earlier this week that he was unsure where Gotti was being held or whether Gotti would make it to Tampa in time for the arraignment.

Before the hearing, Gotti told Carnesi he had been housed in El Paso, Texas, among other places, before coming to Tampa. Local officials aren't saying where they're keeping Gotti while he's in town. It was also unclear if he would be taken back to New York any time soon.

Gotti's attorneys told the judge they plan to file a motion to have Gotti's trial moved to New York. "You tell me, why are we in Tampa?" Carnesi said, talking with reporters after the hearing. "I don't know. They can try the case on Mars. It's not going to change anything."

Gotti could get life in prison if convicted, but he isn't worried about the charges, Carnesi said.

"He's confident he did nothing wrong," said Carnesi.

The day FBI officials and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tampa announced the indictment against Gotti, they also unsealed a separate indictment charging four other New York area men and one from Tampa with similar charges that included racketeering, murder and drug trafficking.

The Tampa man, James "Jimmy" Cadicamo, 33, called himself a childhood friend of John Gotti Jr.'s. Victoria Gotti doubts his claim.

"I think we raised my brother's friends," Victoria Gotti said. "I don't know those people."

Prosecutors said Cadicamo and the other men committed crimes in the Tampa Bay area that involved John Alite, a close Gotti associate, who is awaiting trial in Tampa on organized crime charges.

"John Alite distanced himself a very long time ago," Victoria Gotti said. "He was a very bad kid from the go. It took John a little longer than the rest of us to realize it."

Victoria Gotti said alleged mob leaders have said her brother is no longer associated with them and that he hasn't been for years. The indictment charges him with three New York murders in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

"He's walked away. He said so. It's been proven. Enough. Enough already," Victoria Gotti said. "He's definitely not a mobster. He doesn't belong here. Maybe years and years ago, but not today and not tomorrow. He's done what he's done, and he's made his admissions."

She said because their father, John "Dapper Don" Gotti, was the onetime boss of the Gambino crime family, John Gotti Jr. "will never be able to live a normal life."

"If they could pull his father out of that grave three more times and try his bones, whatever debris is left, they would," Victoria Gotti said. "It's a vendetta."

Kevin Graham can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3433.

Sister: Gotti trial is government vendetta 08/28/08 [Last modified: Thursday, September 4, 2008 5:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Mom accused of burying guns after fatal teen shooting declines plea deal


    TAMPA — The Valrico mother accused of hiding the guns after her teenage son shot and killed another boy in their garage told a judge Tuesday that she wants a trial, not a plea deal.

    Heidi Quinn is accused of hiding two guns after her son, Cody, fatally shot 17-year-old Jayquon Johnson in their garage. She faces charges of tampering with evidence. Her son was not charged in Johnson's death because authorities ruled it self-defense. He does face related drug charges. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  2. Stone says no coordination between Trump campaign and Russia

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Longtime Donald Trump associate Roger Stone said Tuesday he's "aware of no evidence whatsoever" that Trump's campaign coordinated with Russians during the 2016 election.

  3. Pasco deputies: Citgo gas station was selling pipes for crack and meth


    TRILBY — A Citgo gas station is facing hefty fines after Pasco County Sheriff's deputies said clerks weren't just selling gas, but doling out pipes for crack and meth.

  4. What to expect from the Florida Orchestra's 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' show


    With just a few short tings from the celesta, a small piano-style instrument, and you're instantly transported to Harry Potter's wizarding world.

    Courtesy of the Straz Center
  5. Police: Boy, 12, burglarized Melrose Elementary during Hurricane Irma


    ST. PETERSBURG — A 12-year-old boy is facing a felony charge after police say he burglarized Melrose Elementary while the school was closed for Hurricane Irma.

    Melrose Elementary at 1752 13th Ave. S in St. Petersburg was burglarized while the school was closed for Hurricane Irma. A 12-year-old boy has been charged, police said. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]