Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

John Gotti, the Last Mafia Icon

Twilight of the Gotti Gangsters

It was not a typical mob case. It hopped on the public radar screen with the testimony of popular actor Steven Seagal. An amazing story followed that showed how the mob tried to get a foothold in the American film industry.  

Steven Seagal, 50, had a partner named Julius Nasso, who prosecutors claim was a Gambino crime family associate.   They had caught Nasso on tape agreeing to force Seagal to pay $150,000 to the crime family for every film Seagal made. This agreement, valued at some $3 million, was to be executed by Anthony "Sonny" Ciccone who tried to extort the money from Seagal at a restaurant.  

Seagal testified that Ciccone said, "Look at me when I talk to you. We are proud people. Work with Jules and we'll split the pie."  The government had the restaurant bugged and the mobsters commented on how frightened Seagal appeared to be after they delivered their extortion threat.

After the meeting, Seagal said that his former partner told him, "If you would have said the wrong thing, they would have killed you"

On March 18, 2003, Peter Gotti, 63, brother of the late crime czar John Gotti, was found guilty of racketeering and taking control of the Gambino crime enterprise. Along with Gotti were six co-defendants including the men who had tried to extort money from Seagal.

Peter Gotti
Peter Gotti (AP)

"They got me," Peter Gotti said afterwards. "It's easy to convict a Gotti.  All you have to have is the name."

The Associated Press reported that Gotti "was the star defendant in the far-reaching mob case alleging a campaign of extortion stretching from the city's waterfront to Hollywood. Prosecutors accused him of pocketing thousands of dollars from various schemes. In addition to racketeering, Gotti also was found guilty of conspiracy and multiple counts of money laundering."

Two other Gotti family members were also convicted of racketeering, Richard V. Gotti, another brother of John Gotti, and Richard G. Gotti, a nephew of the late crime boss.

Court TV reported, "On Gotti's watch, a violent Gambino crew used threats to assume control of local chapters of the International Longshoremen's Association. The family then rigged union elections and secured the award of a lucrative union health service contract for a mob-controlled company.

"During a six-week trial, prosecutors presented a series of surveillance photos and tapes of known gangsters paying homage and cash to Gotti," proving that Peter Gotti was "not only a mobster, but a mob leader."

Newsday reported that "despite lacking evidence showing the reputed mob boss Peter Gotti actually took money from anyone, federal prosecutors were able to connect enough dots between bits of circumstantial evidence to convict him of money laundering and racketeering."

Things are not looking good these days for the Gotti dynasty's hold on the Gambino crime family. First, the notorious John Gotti was convicted. Then his son, John Gotti, known as "Junior," was also convicted and jailed. And now Peter and his brother Richard and nephew will also go to jail. It cannot be denied that the Gotti mobster line is in its twilight.


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