Junior Gotti Dashes from the media as jury debates his fate

from the NY Daily News:

John A. (Junior) Gotti runs from media outside Manhattan courthouse.

John A. (Junior) Gotti could run – but he couldn’t hide.

The mob scion, who had bantered with the media throughout his kidnapping and extortion trial, suddenly got press-shy yesterday when leaving court.

In a bizarre bid to avoid cameras, the oft-photographed 42-year-old defendant left Manhattan Federal Court from a different exit than usual – then sprinted off when photographers spotted him.

Even before the chase outside the courthouse, Gotti seemed on edge as the jurors deciding his fate finished their first full day of deliberations.

Maybe Gotti, who faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted, picked up some bad vibes as the debate in the jury room at times got loud enough to be heard in the courtroom.

The panel spent much of the day digging through the testimony of a mob informant and asking a judge to explain a key element of Gotti’s defense.

It was draining enough for the eight-man, four-woman panel to ask to go home early and resume its quest for a verdict today.

At the jurors’ request, Judge Shira Scheindlin read back a portion of mob informant Michael (Mikey Scars) DiLeonardo’s testimony regarding a 1992 meeting in Howard Beach, Queens, where he said Gotti hatched the plot to give radio host Curtis Sliwa a "severe hospital beating."

Gotti is accused of sending thugs Michael Yannotti and Joseph (Little Joey) D’Angelo to silence Sliwa’s relentless on-air attacks on his father, the late Dapper Don John Gotti.

Sliwa was shot twice after jumping into a cab whose rear doors had been rigged shut.

Jurors asked Scheindlin to clarify Gotti’s so-called withdrawal defense. Gotti claims that following his July 1999 guilty plea to separate racketeering charges he renounced the mob life he inherited from his father.

To prove a racketeering conspiracy in the current case, prosecutors must show that Gotti continued to commit mob-related crimes at least five years before his 2004 indictment.

Authorities contend Gotti continued to collect racketeering money that he poured into real estate, including a Long Island mansion.

Earlier, five jurors told Scheindlin that they had read or heard news items about the trial. Each juror was questioned behind closed doors but was allowed to continue deliberations.

On Wednesday, one woman juror bailed out of deliberations as they were about to start. Eight jurors told the judge that the woman had been expressing her views and concerns about the case throughout the trial.

A source said that the woman asked for extra security after the verdict because she feared for her personal safety.

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