'Junior' Gotti NYC jury signals deadlock _ again

AP News
Posted: Nov 24, 2009 6:45 PM

A jury considering racketeering and murder charges against John "Junior" Gotti told a judge Tuesday it was deadlocked for a second time before resuming work and indicating it was looking to deliberate into next week.

The end seemed near for the fourth racketeering trial of Gotti when the jury said it could not reach a unanimous verdict in a note late in its ninth day of deliberations, a record for the Gotti trials. Gotti, 45, blew a kiss to his family before taking his seat.

After rejecting a defense request to declare a mistrial, U.S. District Judge Kevin P. Castel summoned the jury and delivered a so-called Allen charge, instructing jurors to try hard once more to come to a consensus.

"This trial has been conducted at considerable expense and human effort to both the government and the defendant," the judge told them. "If your deliberations do not end in a verdict, in all likelihood it would have to be tried again before another jury."

Less than an hour after resuming its talks, the jury sent notes asking for the testimony of seven witnesses from the two-month trial. It also asked for a shortened day of talks on Thanksgiving eve and for instructions on when it would return to deliberate after the holiday.

Castel said the jury could go home at 2 p.m. Wednesday and return Tuesday morning.

A fourth deadlocked jury would be a blow to prosecutors, who brought new witnesses and testimony to their latest attempt to permanently imprison the son of the late infamous mob boss, John J. Gotti, who died in prison in 2002.

The elder Gotti earned the nickname the "Teflon Don" when successive juries could not reach a unanimous verdict on racketeering charges. His eventual conviction on racketeering and murder charges in 1992 resulted in a life prison sentence.

Prosecutors say the younger Gotti followed in the path of his father, ordering or participating in several brutal attacks since the 1980s, including three murders. He has remained jailed since his arrest in the summer of 2008.

Gotti's attorney Charles Carnesi said his client quit the Mafia in 1999 and never participated in murders.

When he requested a mistrial Tuesday, Carnesi said it would be coercive to force the jury to continue deliberations.