Skip to main content
CNN.com /TRANSCRIPTS

CNN TV
EDITIONS





CNN BREAKING NEWS

John Gotti Dies

Aired June 10, 2002 - 14:22   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Now as you were watching that -- the press briefing, you saw at the bottom of the screen the word that we got this -- that we've just been able to confirm that so-called "Teflon Don," the Gambino crime family boss, John Gotti has died in a federal prison hospital.

Our Charles Feldman now takes a look back at a very colorful life.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHARLES FELDMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Go figure, John Gotti, Mafia godfather, foul mouth killer, a thug in expensive Italian suits, and the crowds loved him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His aggressiveness, his looks, his dress, the image that he liked to portray was definitely out there.

FELDMAN: But Gotti's persona as the godfather who dared you to like him barely hid the monster he truly was.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Gotti's a stone-cold killer who is responsible for the deaths of scores of individuals. He's a very vicious and ruthless boss.

FELDMAN: Gotti was born into a poor Bronx, New York family in 1940. Early on, Gotti learned the lessons of the mean streets of New York.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And this is one of 11 children who had nothing in life as far as money and opportunity, but he made his opportunities. Nobody gave him anything.

FELDMAN: Nobody gave Gotti anything. He took it. By age 14, Gotti was already a member of a street gang. By age 19, Gotti had been arrested some five times.

But 1966 was a key year in the life of John Gotti. He moved to Queens, New York and hooked up with the mob family run by godfather Carlo Gambino. Gambino put the young Gotti to work hijacking freight at JFK Airport.

In 1973, Gambino gave Gotti a plum Mafia assignment. Gotti was to kill the man who had kidnapped and murdered Gambino's nephew. Gotti did the job. But when it came to doing the time,...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Carlo Gambino, who was then the head of the crime family in the '70s, got him a very smart lawyer, Roy Cohn. And, somehow, he managed to get a murder in which there were two eyewitnesses reduced to second-degree manslaughter.

FELDMAN: By the time Gotti got out of prison, Gambino had died and was replaced by his cousin Paul Castellano. But Gotti and his younger crew members soon fell out of favor with their godfather. It was kill or be killed. Gotti made the move. In 1985, Gotti and a band of coconspirators killed Castellano as he went to dinner in Manhattan. John Gotti was now the godfather.

Law enforcement set its sights on Gotti. He was brought to trial three times on various charges. But when Gotti beat the rap three times in a row,...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not guilty.

FELDMAN: ... he seemed invincible. That is until the feds managed to collect hours of secretly recorded video and audio tapes that showed Gotti running his Mafia family.

And when Gotti's own underboss, Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, turned against him and testified in court, Gotti's fate was sealed. This time a jury convicted him on charges that included five murders and he was sentenced to life without parole.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The teflon is gone, the don is covered with velcro, and every charge in the indictment stuck.

FELDMAN: With John Gotti dead, the crime family he ran is a shadow of its former self. But it's Gotti's shadow that lingers over it, the shadow of a true urban legend.

Charles Feldman, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com





 
 
 
 


 Search   

Back to the top