Get Gotti (2023) s01e03 Episode Script

Episode 3

[people screaming with excitement]
[Anthony Ruggiano Jr.]
Who is John Gotti to me?
I knew him since I was a young kid.
He was a mentor.
He always looked out for me.
When I was 16 years old,
I got thrown out of school.
I wanted to be a gangster.
And my father wouldn't talk to me.
So, I went to see John Gotti
and Tony Lee, my father's partner.
He goes, "I'll get you
in the bricklayers' union."
I said, "Bro, I don't want to be
no fucking bricklayer."
He goes, "What do you wanna do?"
I go, "I wanna work for you."
[cash register chiming]
I'll never forget.
He looked at me, leaned over,
and he goes, "You wanna work for me?"
"The government hates you."
"You're committing murders.
You're selling drugs."
"You're fucking poisoning the city."
"So, before you get into this life,
go to Washington D.C.
and look
at the Justice Department building."
He said, "And remember one thing."
"That fucking building
is gonna chase you your whole life."
[traffic sounds]
John Gotti, reputed head
of one of the nation's
most powerful organized crime families,
was arraigned today.
[reporter 1] Gotti is accused of ordering
the 1986 shooting of John O'Connor,
a carpenters' union official.
[reporter 2] Unlike past Gotti cases,
this time the Organized Crime Task Force
believe John Gotti will have to deal with
the strongest case yet.
[Frank O'Hara] We charged ahead
with the evidence we had
to bring a state prosecution
against John Gotti.
The focal point of that investigation
became the shooting of John O'Connor
that was ordered by John Gotti.
We were up for this challenge,
and John Gotti was going down.
[judge] How do you plead to these charges?
Guilty or not guilty?
[Gotti] Not guilty.
[reporter 1] After his arraignment,
Gotti was released on $100,000 bail.
So, the Manhattan DA will try to do
what the Brooklyn Feds could not,
put John Gotti away.
[reporter 2] As a repeat offender,
if Gotti is found guilty,
he could be sentenced to life in prison.
[George Gabriel] Right now,
it's almost a competition with the OCTF.
They were able to bring
their case against John before us.
So, this was kind of
a black eye to the Bureau.
We're getting beat up, right?
You know, it's,
"You guys can't put this guy in jail."
[Laura A. Ward] As attorneys,
we worked hand-in-hand with the FBI.
Even though the case
of O'Connor's shooting was going on,
we weren't going to stop.
[Gabriel] When Gotti was out on bail,
we're eight and ten months
into bugging the Ravenite Club.
I wasn't getting
the eureka conversations I needed.
- [rewinding tape and playing]
- [indistinct conversation over tape]
[Gabriel] We were getting snippets.
We're hearing John
move away from the table,
a door opening and shutting.
- [loud footsteps]
- [door opening and shutting]
We don't hear them anymore.
What's going on?
[man 1] Okay, we're rolling.
[man 2] A lot of wise guys, but not John.
[Ward] The FBI agents,
they don't see Gotti leave,
but nobody hears his loud voice.
And if you knew Gotti,
Gotti never shut up.
And we didn't know where he went.
[Gabriel] Suddenly, 20 minutes later,
we hear John's voice again.
[Gotti speaking on recording]
What are we missing?
[Bruce Mouw] We had high-level informants,
and one of them came back and said,
"Oh, by the way,
I was in the club, and I saw John Gotti,
his underboss Frank LoCascio
and Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, consigliere,
they'd get up,
walk through this back door,
and disappeared for an hour and fifteen."
We didn't know there was a back door.
Oh, there's an apartment upstairs
that he's using.
Old lady, wife
of a deceased Gambino soldier
that used to be the caretaker,
lives in this apartment.
You're looking at this like,
"You've got to be kidding me."
There was no doubt in my mind
that's the place I had to get a bug in.
We have to figure out the how.
[man] Fuck.
What I start doing is I dial the phone
on a Friday or Saturday night.
[phone ringing]
If she answered,
obviously I'd know she was home.
[phone continues ringing]
The first time I do this, right?
I wake up at 1:00 in the morning.
I get this poor
90-year-old lady getting on the phone,
and I'm like, "Oh, I'm sorry,
I have the wrong number."
I mean, I felt terrible.
[phone ringing]
But I had to do it again the next week.
And it was the same thing.
[phone ringing]
I was actually astonished the third time.
My heart started racing
when she didn't answer the phone.
It was like, "All right, this is go time."
But it's equally as nerve-racking
because, you know, a lot of risk to this.
[Matt Clifton] On the night of the entry,
there was a high level of anxiety
to get the job done
and get out undetected.
Surveillance watched
the comings and goings in that building.
And just before we were going to do it,
you wanna double
and triple-check everything.
So, a female surveillance agent
went up to the third floor.
[dog barking]
The damn apartment six feet behind us
has a damn dog, and the dog goes crazy.
[dog barking]
In New York, it's always
a goddamn curveball.
We had to take the gamble,
take the chance.
It's about two o'clock in the morning.
We get in that hallway,
and it was the quietest hallway
I've ever been in in my life.
Nobody had a television on, a radio on.
It was eerie.
And we figured
when we get up to that door,
that dog is going to be all over us.
But we knew there was no turning back.
There I am, it's November,
and I'm walking around with my socks on.
That would have probably been a clue
that I was a burglar.
My partner started picking.
[pins clicking]
And I could hear the pins
going up and down, it was that quiet.
The lock is giving us
a little bit of a hard time.
A little bit of jiggling and rattling.
Sure as hell it was gonna wake
that damn dog up.
- [clicking]
- [dog whimpers]
We were just holding our breath
all the time.
[dog whimpers]
- About ten minutes later, we were in.
- [door unlocking]
[dog groans]
The dog must have been put
in the back room.
That's the only way
he could've not heard us.
The acoustics
of her apartment were excellent.
It wasn't big. There were no echoes.
There was no background noise.
And within 15 minutes,
they had that bug up and running,
and we really feel that,
"Boy, if they're talking up here,
this is it, we've done it."
It was a home run.
[Gabriel] I get the call the next morning,
the bug's in,
so it's like,
"All right, this should be it."
Well, first night,
Next night, I get a message.
"No principals in the location,
no pertinent conversation."
I know he's in the club.
Third night.
"No principals in the location,
no pertinent conversation."
So, I'm up at least three days,
and I'm getting nothing.
That was a concern.
Did they get made?
Did somebody find the bug?
Loose piece of wire?
Did they make a mistake? You never know.
[Gabriel] Once I had the bug in,
you're not allowed to keep it up forever.
Every 30 days,
I had to go back to the judge and report,
"Here's what I'm getting. It's fruitful.
I'm getting criminal conversations."
So, if I don't, I jeopardize my wire.
A judge could throw the whole thing out.
We've gotta do
something about that and quick.
One of the techniques
when you do an eavesdropping is,
sometimes you want him
to talk about a certain subject,
so you say, "Let's tickle the wire."
You want things
that will tickle conversations.
Tickling meaning something happened,
they're gonna come back and talk about it.
We even went as far as to arrange
that America's Most Wanted
would do a special
on the Paul Castellano homicide case.
We were that desperate.
[ominous music playing]
It was here that
the most powerful crime figure in America
was gunned down four years ago.
Who really killed Paul Castellano?
The cops and the FBI say
that John Gotti orchestrated the killing.
[Hawaiian style music playing]
[Ward] I was on my honeymoon.
[phone ringing]
When I got a phone call
from the FBI to tell me
They're in the apartment,
we can hear everything clear,
and they're even talking about Paul.
We gotta go.
I didn't think I could be
any happier on my honeymoon,
but I was definitely happier.
- [recording playing]
- [ambient room noise]
- [Gotti on recording]
- [man on recording]
[Gotti on recording]
We hear them walk into the apartment,
and there they are.
- [Gotti on recording]
- [music playing in background]
And it's kinda like
The Godfather music in the background.
And I'm like, "No one's gonna believe
I didn't plant this music."
It's just too good to be true.
[Gotti on recording]
So, I'm hearing John Gotti.
I'm hearing Sammy Gravano.
I'm hearing Frank LoCascio.
- [Gotti on recording]
- [man on recording]
[Gotti on recording]
Gotti and these guys start talking
about Castellano and Tommy Bilotti
and how much they hated them.
[Gotti on recording]
Without saying, "We killed Paul,"
John outlines why he was killed.
We were ecstatic with it, um.
Quality, content, everything was there.
And so, what that conversation told me was
I finally was in the right place.
To put a RICO case against
John and the Gambino family,
I need three elements.
I need to prove the existence
of the criminal enterprise.
I need to prove that he's a member.
And then I need two criminal acts.
If I have all of those elements,
I could charge RICO.
But by the time
we get the bug conversations up,
John's got another trial he's gonna face.
This is the O'Connor case
with the Organized Crime Task Force.
[reporter] After a year out on bail,
the alleged Godfather arrives
for his first day in state court.
We were really emboldened.
We were roused up.
We thought we had the evidence
that we would convict John Gotti
in a state case.
[reporter] Gotti made
the trip to the court
through the logjam of cameras
and hangers-on.
Prosecutors are aware of
Gotti's celebrity, his folk hero status.
This larger-than-life guy, smiling,
walks out, not a care in the world.
Everybody wanted a piece of him,
to get him on camera,
to get that one word,
or that smile, or that look.
[Eric Shawn]
The John O'Connor trial was a gift.
I'm Eric Shawn, Fox News New York.
Because it's in the state trial,
and unlike the federal court,
you can have a camera.
[judge] Good afternoon,
ladies and gentlemen of the jury.
All right, be seated, please.
[reporter] From day one, the proceedings
were spiked with bitter salvos.
They never once,
and I'll prove that to you,
ever saw him commit a crime.
We had one president that was taped
for about a week. He got fired.
[reporter 1] The star
was unquestionably John Gotti himself,
sitting smugly in his silk suits.
[reporter 2] Alongside alleged
Gambino soldier, Tony Lee Guerrieri.
[Gregory Stasiuk] This trial was different
than the Diane Giacalone trial.
The Diane Giacalone trial was primarily
based all on informant testimony.
All on people who were
terrible people in their own right.
Who were pleading guilty
and testifying against John Gotti.
But in this case, John Gotti himself
was intercepted on our bug.
[reporter] Today, the prosecution
will lead with its strongest evidence.
Secretly recorded tapes,
supposedly connecting Gotti
to the O'Connor hit.
We had Gotti on tape
saying what he wanted done
to John O'Connor.
Now please play the tape.
[O'Hara] John Gotti was talking
to Anthony Guerrieri,
also known as Tony Lee,
about busting him up.
[Gotti on recording]
[Tony Lee and Gotti on recording]
[O'Hara] John Gotti knew,
"Yeah, that's what I said."
Of course, he wasn't going to confess,
but he knew that we got the tape.
[Ron Goldstock]
There's nothing better than a tape.
You can't cross-examine a tape,
totally reliable,
jurors can listen to it
and decide for themselves
what it says and who said it.
So, having the tape
in evidence in this case,
as opposed to the previous RICO case,
was a great advantage.
[newscaster] Channel 2's Mary Murphy
is covering the trial
and joins us now live with an update.
Every single person in the courtroom,
they were all wearing headphones.
The defense attorneys,
the prosecutors, the judge, the jury.
John Gotti refused to wear the headphones.
Outside of court, I asked him, "Mr. Gotti
How come you don't listen to the tapes?
- How come you don't put the earphones on?
- I like Julio Iglesias.
[both chuckling]
"I'd rather listen to Julio Iglesias,
the singer."
And Gotti just seemed
amused by the whole thing.
[Ward] One of the good things
about the trial, with the O'Connor case,
was it happened while the bug was up
in the apartment above the Ravenite.
And so, we would wait after the trial
to see if Gotti was gonna
mention something in the trial.
Maybe admit something,
something that we could use in our case.
[Gotti on recording]
[Gabriel] During the trial,
John walked around with that arrogance,
that "we are the best."
Despite that, John is keenly aware
of the stakes with this OCTF trial.
So, you got great conversations.
[Gotti on recording]
He's bothered by the fact
that they were able to record him,
and he's bemoaning all of this
while we're capturing it on tape.
Telling these guys what should not happen
while it's happening.
[Gotti on recording]
He laid it out. I mean, John just saying,
"I'll deal with somebody if they even say
'La' from 'La Cosa Nostra, '"
you just told me it exists.
That conversation, it gives me enterprise.
He just handed it to me.
[reporter] John Gotti has a way of walking
into a courthouse like he owns the place.
A man whose suits are made of silk,
but whose legal armor is made of Teflon.
We had heard that the defense attorneys
were gonna try to challenge
whether John Gotti actually said,
"Bust him up."
[reporter] Both sides argued
over the meaning of words
caught by a government bug.
[Gotti on recording]
[reporter] They were the three words
prosecutors thought
would bring down John Gotti.
[Gotti] Bust him up.
[Stasiuk] The defense attorney
was gaslighting
everything that was on these tapes
Do different people hear different things
when they listen to this tape?
[Gotti on recording]
It's so clear. This is ridiculous.
He clearly says, "Bust him up."
We didn't even pay attention.
We were all laughing at it
that they're gonna make that
as part of their defense.
Those three words
were the key words in the whole trial.
Did John Gotti say
[Gotti] Bust him up.
[Bruce Cutler] Their so-called bust
"Bust him up" phrase,
do you know what was meant by that?
Do you know what was
in Mr. Gotti's mind when he said that?
Yes, sir.
You read his mind?
What was so brilliant
and devious at the same time
is all you have to do
is put some doubt in one juror's mind.
That was Bruce Cutler's job.
- I think it's fairly obvious from his
- Do you know what's in his mind, now?
[witness] I wish I knew.
[Gabriel] One of the days
during the trial,
we're listening to John
when he's coming back,
and he's still concerned about the case.
[Gotti on recording]
During his trial,
he was worried about being convicted,
and rightly so.
On one of the tapes, he has a conversation
with Sammy "The Bull" Gravano,
where he wants to make Sammy
the underboss of the family
to run the family,
in case he has to go away.
[Gotti on recording]
It showed how much respect
he had for Sammy,
the confidence he had in Sammy,
in being able to run the family,
and to keep things going,
while John's in jail.
[Gotti on recording]
Sammy wasn't a guy like John Gotti
that came out at night.
He was more low-key.
Sammy had respect for Gotti,
and he was Cosa Nostra.
Sammy really was loyal to Gotti,
he really was.
[Gotti on recording]
This was the first time we've gotten
a mob boss
explaining, literally,
how it all works, who everybody is.
It's a guy tutoring you
on how the mob works.
[Gotti on recording]
Consigliere, underboss,
I'm still the boss.
[Gabriel] This was great for us.
John's basically saying,
"I'm a member of the Gambino family."
That's another one of the pieces
that I need to prove a RICO case.
[Goldstock] During the course
of the trial,
one of my investigators
was at a bar one night
with a bunch of FBI agents.
And they said to him,
"We're just salivating
waiting for you to lose this case,
so we can bring a case against them
and show who can really convict him."
Sounded like the FBI.
[Gabriel] You know, at that time,
all the law enforcement agencies
suspected, I'm sure,
that the FBI had some bugs,
but nobody knew.
We didn't share that with anybody.
[recording playing]
Bruce Mouw drilled into all of our heads,
"You don't tell anybody anything."
We had to really be discreet
and very careful as to
who knows about the tapes
because John Gotti may find out
and will jeopardize the wire.
[O'Hara] There's not a lot of secrets
among law enforcement people,
and I know
we did go to the FBI and say, "Listen,
if you get anything on jury tampering,
we will go into the judge privately
and ask for a mistrial."
So, we made the FBI aware that
"If you hear something, please tell us."
[Gabriel] While John's on trial
with the state,
I'm acutely listening,
and we started hearing conversation
about jurors, and it's not clear.
[Gotti on recording]
[Gabriel] There's no doubt in my mind,
they were gonna try
and get to a jury if they could
because they had done that before.
[Gotti on recording]
[Gabriel] Clearly, to be safe,
we could have disclosed that.
We went back and forth with it,
wrestled with the whole thing.
The decision was we don't have proof
that anybody got compromised.
We'll just live with that
and not expose the wire to help them.
A New York City jury is expected
to begin deliberations today
in the trial of John Gotti.
[Goldstock] I was convinced
having known what the evidence was,
and I think everybody
in the courthouse, from what I heard,
expected there to be a conviction.
I'm just concerned that
I'm gonna be able
to keep this bug up a little bit longer
till I can finish my case.
[newscaster] Jurors asked to have
one tape replayed nine times.
For the first time,
the ever-confident Gotti
looked somewhat concerned.
[O'Hara] They brought
their appeals attorney in,
and he sat at the defense desk
with his law books open
ready to make an appeal on bail.
John Gotti's physical posture
indicated that he had a problem.
I was living with Tony Lee, I was with him
when he left to go to court.
When waiting for the verdict to come in,
John and Tony Lee made a pact
that if they got convicted
or got found not guilty,
they weren't going to give the government
any satisfaction and not make no gestures.
As to the defendant John Gotti,
do you find the defendant
guilty or not guilty
of the first count of the indictment,
charging him with the crime
of conspiracy in the fourth degree?
[Murphy] We had a close-up
of John Gotti's face
with the camera in the courtroom,
and you can see the tension there.
[juror] We find him
not guilty.
And John went like this anyway.
He still made a gesture.
I think everybody in the room,
including John Gotti, was surprised.
[Goldstock] My first assistant
shows up at my door, and he said,
"He's acquitted on all counts."
And both of our faces just dropped.
[Shawn] The verdict was broadcast live,
and that just increased
the celebrity status of John Gotti.
He ran from the courthouse
pumping his fist, waving in the air.
It was like, here is the conquering hero,
here's the victor.
[reporter] John Gotti
is home free once more.
[crowd cheering]
[Shawn] He had a victory party
inside the Ravenite Club,
and that was an all-day
and all-night party.
Later that day, fireworks start going off.
The door opens and John Gotti comes out,
with Sammy "The Bull,"
looking up at the fireworks.
[reporter] On the night of his acquittal,
our city's reputed Godfather
stepped out of his lair
to savor a celebration.
[Nevins Taylor] I rush over there
to talk to John Gotti,
and there's everybody in the world.
Now the press corps
has gotten bigger and bigger and bigger.
Mr. Gotti.
[people clamoring]
- [reporter] How do you feel?
- You happy?
- [reporter] Are you happy?
- We're happy if you're happy.
We're all happy!
- What do you think?
- A good decision.
And John Gotti's brother, Peter,
comes to the door
of the social club and says
- Do you want to come inside?
- Yes. Oh, just me?
"Only Barbara, come in."
- [Peter] Just you.
- Okay.
[woman] Barbara, ask them about
[Nevins Taylor] John Gotti
and Frank LoCascio
are sitting at a huge round table,
and Gotti says, "We're drinking Cristal,
but we only have plastic cups,
is that okay?"
And I raise my glass and say,
"Just remember one thing, gentlemen."
[tape stops]
The good news is he's on the street,
my wire gets to survive.
The bad news is
this guy just became even bigger, right?
It emboldened this guy that much more
and made, again,
law enforcement look incompetent.
Good evening. His name is John Gotti,
and tonight he's becoming known
as the Teflon Don.
[Murphy] When Gotti beat
the case a third time,
that's when he really got the name,
the Teflon Don,
which the government hated, by the way.
Nothing sticked to him.
And he had the media in his palm.
Anything he said,
they would follow up on and report.
You look at it and, you know,
you wonder what's happening.
There were serious doubts
they'd ever be able to pin anything on him
and finally bring him to justice.
[camera shutters clicking]
[Stasiuk] I remember thinking
that was a terrible thing for our society,
that a person
who was a killer and a criminal
was getting all this notoriety.
But I was an eternal optimist
that we could still make another case.
Later on, we learned that the FBI
had their own bug up during the trial.
We had heard that John Gotti was trying
to get to the jury in our trial.
[Gotti on recording]
[Goldstock] When I found out, I was upset.
There is no question about it.
I know that had we found out about it
in the bug that we had,
we would've said something. Um
I don't know how I would have lived
with myself if I had not.
You don't do that in law enforcement.
[people clamoring]
[Giovino] As he would beat these cases,
John changed.
He definitely changed.
He was more arrogant.
He was more flamboyant.
He was more outgoing.
He thought he was a movie star.
He really did.
[Sal Polisi] He was romantically involved
with his own image.
He was vainglorious.
He was like, "Look, I'm John Gotti."
"This is who I am,
and I'll put it in your face."
[Giovino] Strangers were coming up to him.
Everybody, like, "Can I have
your autograph?" I've witnessed that.
Today, they would have said,
"Can we take a selfie?"
So, he gives them the autograph.
We get in the car. Tony Lee goes,
"Is he fucking kidding?"
"How could he do that?
What's wrong with him?"
He actually said, "I have a public
out there. They want to see me."
We're mob guys.
We're not supposed to have a public.
We're not supposed to have fans.
You know if you're street smart,
this is just not gonna end well.
You're not a movie star.
You're a fucking boss
of the Gambino Crime Family.
Act like one.
[Ruggiano] The government has an ego too.
They're saying, "These fucking guys,
are they kidding me?"
He was abusing them.
Like, "I dare you to come get me."
It came to a point
where we were just red-hot.
The feds were all over the place.
They were on everybody,
especially guys that were close to John.
[police chatter over radio]
Twenty-eight, you see a vehicle?
[Ruggiano] Yet none of us
stopped doing what we were doing.
It's like smoking.
I'm not gonna get lung cancer.
The guy behind me is gonna get it.
[Gabriel] There was a lot of pressure
for somebody
to be the one that puts this guy in jail.
We can't afford a defeat.
Because then if we go down, who's left?
I mean, all the other agencies
took their swing.
[Ward] We're getting incredible
information from the apartment tapes.
They're eye-opening,
but they're not enough.
We have the enterprise clear as a bell.
The problem is we need predicate acts.
So, we need to have tapes
where he discusses homicides,
gambling, loan-sharking,
labor racketeering.
[Gabriel] We're listening to
all these conversations.
[Gotti on recording]
[Gabriel] It's a lot of work.
[Gotti on recording]
[Gabriel] And sometimes
it can be defeating.
You wonder if you're ever gonna succeed.
[Gotti on recording]
Oh God, it's 24/7.
[Gotti on recording]
[Ward] And then, lo and behold,
John Gotti was intercepted
talking to Frank LoCascio.
And during that time, he was ranting
and raving about Sammy Gravano.
[Gotti on recording]
He's highlighting the different
construction entities
that Sammy's running.
[Gotti on recording]
He explains labor unions.
He explains
all this criminal conversation.
[Ward] Labor racketeering
is the first out of all predicate acts.
It was clear as a bell.
And then it goes on.
[Gotti on recording]
It's John on a diatribe
talking to Frankie LoCascio,
explaining why he had people killed.
[Gotti on recording]
Robert DiBernardo, they call him "DiB."
[Ruggiano] DiB had
one of the biggest porn operations
in the United States of America.
We're not talking about New York City.
We're talking about
the whole fucking country.
I mean, he was big.
I always wanted him to take me
to the studios in Jersey
where they filmed the porn movies.
I was a kid, like 20 years old.
"DiB, when you gonna take me
to them fucking studios?"
So, he was very rich.
Very, very, very wealthy.
[Gabriel] 1986, DiB disappears,
while John's in jail,
on Diane Giacalone's case, pending trial.
Just, one day he's here, one day he's not.
At the time, we didn't know
why he was killed.
We suspected it was the Gambino family.
But John laid it out
that he was the one behind it.
[Gotti on recording]
[man on recording]
[Gotti speaking]
Whether he was talking bad about John,
I don't know for sure,
but he was definitely a threat.
He signed his own death warrant,
and that was the end of DiB.
There's always a method
behind the madness.
There's always a dollar sign
somewhere in the scenario.
Because now DiB is out of the picture.
When the wise guy goes,
the family gets the spoils.
Who benefited from it?
John Gotti benefited from it
because he's inherited the porn business.
Today's market with the Internet?
Forget it, the money he was making.
When you play the tape, it's a great
predicate for why they killed this guy.
[tape rewinding]
[Gotti on recording]
[Gabriel] That's our most powerful tape
from a criminal conduct perspective.
For me, it was a smoking gun.
Now, we have all three elements,
I can charge RICO.
And that was kind of a big moment for us.
Our plan was to arrest them all
at the Ravenite in one time.
[Gabriel] We go into the club.
We walk into the back room
and engage John, Sammy, and Frankie
who are sitting at the table.
I said, "Yeah, John,
you know why I'm here."
And John's like, "Oh, your timing is bad,
we just ordered coffee."
[people clamoring]
We had a little conversation
because that's John, right?
It was one of these,
"You know I'm gonna beat this rap, right?"
"I know you're gonna try."
"I'm not sure you're gonna beat it."
"You know, your mother's
probably on my side."
"You don't know my mother."
Then I said, "If I were you, I'd worry
about what you said up in the apartment."
And all of a sudden, he just shut up.
And that was it.
[reporter 1] The reputed head of
the nation's most powerful mafia family
is behind bars this morning.
[reporter 2] Gotti is accused of
several acts of racketeering, including
the 1985 rub out
of Gambino family boss, Paul Castellano.
Similar charges
were brought against Frank LoCascio
and the underboss of the Gambino clan,
Sal "Sammy Bull" Gravano.
We all knew that getting arrested
was part of the job.
We never You don't think about it.
When he got arrested,
you know, that was just the game.
That was the life.
[reporter] Gotti faces
multiple life sentences,
and up to 105 years in prison,
if convicted on all charges.
But if he's not convicted,
this will be Gotti's fourth victory
over the government.
People in the media, they're building up
this aura of he's invincible,
nobody can put this guy in jail,
and we couldn't afford to lose.
[Ward] We reviewed everything
that we had had,
and we realized that we had to bring on
other law enforcement agencies,
which were We were not prone
to playing nice together.
[Gabriel] OCTF had bugged
the Bergin Hunt & Fish Club
before John made himself
the boss of the Gambino family.
It was crucial to see
if there's anything of value there.
[phone ringing]
[Stasiuk] One day, we get a call
from the lead prosecutor
that he wanted to go over our tapes
in case he wanted to use 'em in his trial.
We knew that we had
extraordinary evidence for a RICO case.
[Gotti on recording]
[Gabriel] My concern is
the Organized Crime Task Force
was still upset that
the Bureau ruined their case, right?
So, it's all a problem.
[Goldstock] There are some people
within the Bureau,
they believe that their case
is the single most important,
and they're the only ones
capable of doing it,
and to a large extent,
they want the credit for doing it.
Um, I tend not to think that way.
If the use of our evidence helped,
that's great.
The critical thing was
the conviction of the head of a family.
[reporter] In this trial,
for the first time,
the Organized Crime Task Force and the FBI
have declared a truce
on fighting over who gets the glory.
[Ward] Everybody came together,
it's, "What can I do? When do you want it?
Where should I bring it?"
[Stasiuk] The prosecutor says,
"I love these tapes,
just as much as I love the FBI tapes."
Because our tapes happened in 1986,
whereas, the FBI Ravenite tapes
happened in, like, 1990 and 1989.
So, for example, our tapes occur
before Robert DiBernardo was killed.
Conversations where they're
questioning Robert DiBernardo's loyalty.
[Gotti on recording]
[Stasiuk] And then you had
the FBI tapes in 1990
with Gotti saying it was okay
to whack DiBernardo.
Our tapes also concern
Gotti still hating Paul Castellano.
And our tapes had tremendous
enterprise conversations,
when John Gotti becomes boss.
[Gotti on recording]
[Stasiuk] So, what ends up happening
is our tapes
were woven in with the FBI tapes.
Now, all those conversations we had
showing all their crimes they
had committed, become very relevant
to make a real winnable case.
[reporter 1] The stage is set
for an epic showdown
between the Teflon Don
and the U.S. government.
[reporter 2] A convoy of vans,
driven by heavily armed federal marshals,
had John Gotti moved out
towards Brooklyn Federal Court.
So, we knew this would be
the battle royale
of the United States government
versus John Gotti.
[reporter] In the opposite corner,
some members of the FBI's Gambino Squad.
Many of whom
have spent a career dogging Gotti
and the largest of New York's
five organized crime families.
The scene outside the courthouse
where the cameras were all assembled
was just percolating with excitement.
People wanted to know
will the government get him this time?
And then it became the parade
of Hollywood stars to support him.
The Gotti trial
is the hottest show off-Broadway,
with spectators lining up
as early as 2:00 in the morning
for a chance to get inside the courtroom.
[Shawn] Anthony Quinn, Mickey Rourke.
[Murphy] There was the TV star, John Amos.
He thought John Gotti was a winner.
I think he's a fascinating man.
[reporter] What is it about him
that strikes you?
I just like the way he carries himself.
[Ward] The first day of the trial
was nerve-racking.
We walked to the courtroom,
and the halls were filled with wise guys,
news media, people from the public
trying to get seats.
I had never tried a case
that was standing-room only.
[Gabriel] We knew that John Gotti
and Sammy and Frankie
were going to get to hear
just how good
and how strong these tapes were.
[playing recording]
[Gotti on recording]
What brought
this trial alive were the tapes,
were the Ravenite tapes.
[Gotti on recording]
We had a tape about loan-sharking.
[Gotti on recording]
We had tapes about gambling.
[Gotti on recording]
[Ward] We had tapes about murder.
[Gotti on recording]
We had tapes about conspiring to murder.
[Gotti on recording]
[Ward] We had tapes
about union organizations.
[Gotti on recording]
[Ward] We had tapes
about labor racketeering.
[Gotti on recording]
Every crime that we charged
we had a tape that would cover that crime.
And it was Gotti's mouth
and Gotti's words
that set forth the crime.
[Gotti on recording]
The tapes were exceptionally clear.
There was no doubt
about what he was saying.
[Shawn] He was exposed as a vulgar thug
with all of his cursing.
And I don't think people had ever
really heard that to that extent.
[Gotti on recording]
Now, we're hearing that he's ruthless,
and he's ordering people killed,
and there's
this whole other side to John Gotti
than the persona that we sort of
helped create making him a celebrity.
[Shawn] The media wrote
about the $2000 Baroni suits,
but we really didn't write about
where the $2000 came from.
[Gotti on recording]
[Mouw] We played that tape
where John just bad-mouths
Sammy "The Bull" for an hour straight.
[Gotti on recording]
When he says,
"People think these are my green eyes,"
John's angry that he's being blamed,
that he's the greedy guy
and he's looking bad,
and that's all John really cares about.
[Ward] And what we're hearing is Gotti
ranting and raving about Sammy Gravano.
What we're not hearing is
what Sammy Gravano is hearing, which is
"This guy is going to kill me."
[phone ringing]
[Gabriel] I'm at home,
and I get a call from the office.
[phone ringing]
Sammy Gravano
was interested in talking to us.
He wanted to cooperate.
And that actually concerned me.
You cannot cross-examine tapes,
but you can cross-examine Sammy.
All of a sudden going through my mind was,
"Well, they can blame
everything on Sammy."
But you can't ignore something like that.
As we were debriefing Sammy,
not only did he give us even more insights
into the conversations we had.
You know, we talk about
all of John's trials before
and how John beat the government
in that Diane Giacalone case,
and Sammy proudly spoke about,
"John didn't win that trial.
I fixed it for him."
"What do you mean?" He says, "I'm the one
who paid the juror the $60,000."
I was literally astonished by this.
I mean, I'm almost in disbelief.
He brought greater detail
and expanded our evidence, if you will,
because he could fill in so many blanks.
You had to give it a shot.
[reporter] Unprecedented,
the highest ranking admitted member
of the Gambino Crime Family
to turn state's evidence
ever in the history of New York State.
People immediately
started calling Sammy a rat
and started putting posters up of a rat
with Sammy's head on top of it.
Oh God. Sammy Gravano?
It just was like so shocking. Sammy?
When I heard Sammy flipped, I thought
he was a scumbag. It was a scumbag move.
He was the underboss.
Sammy was a die-hard street guy.
Never in a million years
would I think Sammy Gravano
was going to inform on John Gotti.
How could a guy in that position
cooperate with the government?
[Ward] One of the days
I remember the clearest
is the first day
that Gravano took the stand.
There were these huge FBI and SWAT teams.
Stand back! Stand back!
[reporter] You've seen it in the movies,
but this is real life.
In a Brooklyn courtroom,
Sammy "The Bull" Gravano
is violating the blood oath he took
when he joined the mob,
testifying against his boss,
the so-called Teflon Don, John Gotti.
[Nevins Taylor] The government dances
with the devil,
you know, they use bad guys
to get other bad guys.
In the first federal trial
against John Gotti,
they used a string of bad guys,
whom the jury didn't,
apparently, deem credible.
He beat the federal government.
He's a winner.
Now, they're using
Sammy "The Bull" Gravano,
a guy with a hateful record,
a guy who is a stone-cold killer,
a guy who is an enforcer,
killed his own brother-in-law.
This is a bad human being.
So, why would they take the risk?
[reporter] In a flat, chilling tone,
Gravano detailed seven murders
he either took part in directly
or helped set up.
All with the assistance or approval,
he said, of John Gotti.
Gravano was basically looking over us
to Gotti and Gotti looking back.
And you could feel
the daggers flying back and forth.
It was absolutely silent in the courtroom.
[reporter] At that moment,
if the courtroom could've been cleared,
Gotti and Gravano
might have gone right at each other.
None of the jurors look at this guy
because this is a mass murderer.
This is the guy they've been waiting
to hear from, but nobody looks at him.
[reporter] The jury saw
FBI surveillance video tapes,
taken outside Gotti's
Ravenite Social Club in Little Italy,
which showed Sammy "The Bull" Gravano
they saw on the witness stand
in scene after scene
as a close associate of John Gotti.
One of the best things
that Sammy Gravano was able to tell us
was exactly how the hit for Castellano
and Bilotti was executed.
Sammy was able
to give the jury the blow-by-blow
of how the details went down.
[Ward] Who were the shooters?
Who was at the scene?
That he and John were in the car together.
Who shot.
[Ward] Gravano and Gotti
actually drove by the scene,
looked down
to make sure that they were dead.
And they all then left the scene. So, he
He gave all of that,
and that was detail we just didn't have.
[reporter] The Gotti trial
is drawing to a dramatic close.
The jury begins deliberations tomorrow
and the outcome is anyone's guess.
[Ward] We didn't know how long
they were going to be out.
It's nerve-racking for everybody.
They came back with a note saying
that they had reached a verdict
after about a day and a half.
[people clamoring]
[Gabriel] When the jury came back
sooner than we expected,
it put a little bit of
a pit in the stomach. I mean, it's
You know, you hear it's not a good sign
if they come back quickly.
I was nervous. I mean, I wasn't sure
which way this was going to go.
It's still a jury.
There's still people
who like John Gotti throughout the city.
I was scared I wouldn't be able
to stand up when the jury walked in
because my knees were shaking so much.
[Murphy] My heart was pounding.
I let my news desk know,
"There's a verdict. Get ready.
Get in the control room. We're coming on."
[reporter] At 1:19 p.m.,
the jury forewoman stood
and read the verdict.
Gotti sat there smirking
in his impeccably tailored black suit.
[Ward] The jurors were anonymous.
They were given a number, not a name.
There was no real identification.
But I was watching to see how nervous
and scared they were, looking at Gotti.
I felt, "Oh my God. No one
would have the strength to convict him."
And it was actually one juror,
she was tearing up,
and I wasn't sure how to read that.
[Ward] And you hear
[distortion on mic]
"Guilty, guilty, proven, proven,
proven, proven, guilty, guilty."
And I was going, "Thank you, thank you,
thank you, thank you."
Tonight, the Dapper Don
trades his pinstripes for prison stripes.
John Gotti is convicted
of all charges and faces life behind bars.
The Teflon is gone.
The Don is covered with Velcro
and every charge in the indictment stuck.
The mob as we have known it
in New York City and in the United States
is on the way out.
I had a hard time not crying,
I was so broken up about it.
It was a good day.
[Gabriel] I was just really, really happy.
It was a relief.
This is over, and we did it.
And that took a little bit of time
to really kind of sink in.
[Stasiuk] It was a great moment.
It was a terrific moment
for the whole OCTF,
because everybody
had worked so well together.
And, finally, we were working
with the FBI again.
If we had been this way before,
the mob would not have survived.
[man] Flip it over!
[reporter] The voices of triumph
and of defeat reverberated in the air.
John Gotti's supporters
were left with a bitter taste.
The judge, the jury, they're all feds,
every one of them. They're rats.
I lost a good friend.
You know, I lost a mentor.
I lost someone that I knew had my back.
I knew I would never see him again.
I was sad.
So, now the party's over.
It was a sickening feeling because life,
never seeing daylight, you know?
But that's the life they choose.
People blame John Gotti
for being on the cover of Time Magazine,
John Gotti for being in the media,
Sammy Gravano, he brought down
organized crime because he ratted.
That's not true.
I have to give law enforcement
the credit for that.
These guys worked diligently,
watching them
and taping them and following them,
sometimes a year, 18 months,
until they actually get them,
arrest them, and put them behind bars.
They did their job,
and they did a damn good job at it.
You have to be honest about that,
whether you're from the streets or not,
they brought it down.
Nobody else should get that credit
of bringing it down. They did it.
[police siren blaring]
[reporter 1] John Gotti
was whisked to federal prison
just over the Brooklyn Bridge
next to City Hall,
that's been his home since his arrest.
[prison cell door slamming]
[cell door opening]
[reporter 2] Now that Gotti's gone,
it's clear
the infrastructure of the mob
here in New York is weakening.
John Gotti and his big mouth,
and his use of the media,
turned a secret society
into a national spectacle.
So, I think that if anybody is responsible
for the downfall of the mob,
it's not me, it's not the FBI,
it's not the other prosecutors, it's
[Gotti] John Gotti.
[up-tempo music playing]
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