Reputed mobster John A. Gotti worked on a children's book while he was in prison, mulling a new life with his wife and family on a ranch somewhere away from New York, his former cellmate testified Monday.
Brian Lindemann, 31, who shared a cell with Gotti in Ray Brook Federal Correction Facility in 2000, said he sometimes discussed Gotti's plans after incarceration.Had he lived, the correctional facility might have helpfully provided Gotti with pictures for his cover
A convicted bank robber from Brooklyn, Lindemann, who has been in jail since he was 19, testified that Gotti mentioned moving away from the tristate area because he was fed up with his New York life.
"He wanted a new life for he and his family, his children especially," Lindemann said.
Gotti, the son of the late Gambino crime boss John Gotti, is on trial for the third time for racketeering. Two previous trials have resulted in mistrials. In the current case, the defense is again contending that Gotti, known as "Junior," turned his back on the mobster life in 1999. The 1999 time period is crucial because it would place the indictment outside of the statute of limitation.
Prosecutors have introduced a number of prison tape recordings made of Gotti while he was being visited by family and friends to show that he considered himself still a member of the mob. They also have introduced testimony from witnesses such as former Gambino mobster Michael "Mickey Scars" DiLeonardo to show that Gotti attempted to obstruct justice.
Lindemann, a bespectacled man currently being held in Lewisburg Penitentiary, a high-security federal prison in Kentucky, described how Gotti wasn't given any privileges out of the ordinary from other inmates. This is an apparent defense tactic to show that other prisoners weren't deferential to him because of his reputation as a mobster.
Under questioning by defense attorney Charles Carnesi, Lindemann said that in 2003 or 2004, he and Gotti worked on a children's book in Ray Brook. Lindemann testified that he did the illustrations, copies of which were shown to the jury. A source familiar with the work said the book, which wasn't published, was based on Chinese mythology and fairy tales.
Earlier, DiLeonardo's 20-year-old son, Michael Anthony Ricci, testified that he visited Gotti once in prison in February 2003. Ricci said he hasn't spoken to his father for about three years and testified that Gotti never told him in the prison visit to ask his father not to cooperate with the government.
This post was last edited by Assignment Robot, 13 Sep 2006, 12:51