3rd Gotti Jr. Trial Ends in Mistrial

The Associated Press
Thursday, September 28, 2006; 11:45 AM

NEW YORK -- John A. "Junior" Gotti says he's ready to move on _ to the Midwest, to college, to a quiet life _ now that a third jury couldn't reach a verdict in the government's racketeering case against him.

But whether prosecutors are ready to move on remains to be seen.

After a judge dismissed the jury Wednesday, a weary Gotti looked victorious in his effort to prove he has left behind the Gambino crime family.

"It's enough now. They got to let go," Gotti told reporters as he talked at length about wanting to return to a quiet life at his Long Island home with his wife and six children before moving to the Midwest and attending college.

"If they let us alone, I'll leave. I'll take my family and I'll go," he said.

Gotti became a fixture in U.S. District Court in Manhattan during the past year as the government tried three times to prove he followed in father John Gotti's footsteps as head of the Gambino crime family.

U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin ended the latest trial after reading a second note from the jury in two days saying it was deadlocked. She told jurors the mistrial was "not your failure" and acknowledged "the case has its difficulties."

A relieved Gotti hugged his brother Peter and other supporters, then wiped his eyes while sitting at the defense table. He spoke to his wife from the courtroom via cell phone, telling her he was coming home.

"It was a tough one," Gotti said. "This one drained the life from me."

In a statement, U.S. Attorney Michael J. Garcia said prosecutors would tell the court soon how they will proceed in the case.

"We are disappointed by today's outcome," he said.

Three anonymous jurors who spoke to reporters afterward said the jury had agreed unanimously that Gotti was responsible for two 1992 attacks on Guardian Angels founder and radio talk show host Curtis Sliwa, including a shooting that nearly killed him.

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