American Mafia History Website

American Mafia Website - DiLeonardo Testimony 2

Note: The testimony of Michael DiLeonardo is presented here for its educational value on the subject of organized crime history only. Defendant John A. Gotti was not convicted of any wrongdoing in this trial or in two other federal racketeering trials. Mr. Gotti publicly acknowledged holding a leadership position in the Gambino Crime Family at one time but insisted that he left the organization long ago. This edited and formatted version of DiLeonardo's testimony is the property of The American Mafia website.

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Gambino Family Chronicles:

DiLeonardo Testimony - Page 2

United States of America v.
John A. Gotti, Jr., defendant

(04 CR 00690 SAS-1)

District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin

United States District Court,
Southern District of New York
New York, N.Y.,
February 22, 2006

Inducted into the Mafia

Q. And now I want to direct your attention to a date you mentioned at the beginning of your testimony, Christmas Eve of 1988. Remind us, again, what happened that day.

A. I got straightened out.

Q. And, how did you first come to learn that that was going to be the day you were going to be inducted as a soldier?

A. Jackie told me.

Q. What did he say to you.

A. He says, oh, put a suit on, you're gonna get straightened out.

Q. Did he give you any directions as to where to meet him?

A. On Mulberry Street.

Q. Did you do as he directed that day?

A. Yes.

Q. So you put on a suit, and headed over to Mulberry Street. Who did you meet there?

A. Jack.

Q. And where did you and Jack D'Amico proceed to at that point?

A. It was a captain named Joe Butch Corrao. He had a building on Mulberry Street. And we were going to use his building for the ceremony.

Q. Sorry. How far from the Ravenite was this?

A. Several blocks.

Q. And on the way to Joe Butch Corrao's apartment, did Jackie Nose give you any instructions on what to do or expect?

A. Yes. He says when they ask you do you know why you're here, say no.

Q. Did you know why you were going to Joe Butch Corrao's apartment?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you have an understanding, at that point in time, why if asked, you would have to falsely claim that you had no idea why you were going there?

A. Well, it was supposed to be a secret ceremony; nobody was supposed to know what is going on that day. And it was a breach; but it goes on all of the time.

Q. Now, you say that you and D'Amico proceeded to Joe Butch's apartment. Who did you meet when you got there?

A. When we first walked in, I seen Bobby Boriello.

Q. And who is Bobby Boriello?

A. He was a soldier with Gotti, Sr.

Q. All right. And when you say with Gotti Sr. what does that term "with" mean?

A. He is close with him, he was his driver at the time.

Q. Okay. And, after you met Boriello, did you meet any other individuals after that?

A. Yes. I went -- Jackie went into one room, separate. And I went to the room, another room, with Bobby. I followed him.

Q. Bobby Boriello brought you to another room?

A. That's correct.

Q. And when Bobby brought you to that other room, who did you meet there?

A. Huck Carbonaro.

Q. Who has he?

A. He was a soldier.

Q. So he had already been inducted into the family?

A. That's right.

Dominick Pizzonia

Dominick Pizzonia

Q. And who else was in that room?

A. John Jr., Skinny Dom Pizzonia. Nicky Lasorsa, and other individual, I don't know his name.

Q. And John Jr., Skinny Dominick Pizzonia, and Nicky Lasorsa, what rank in the family, if any, did they hold at that moment?

A. They were associates.

Q. So none of them had yet been straightened out?

A. No.

Q. And you were an associate at the time, too?

A. That's correct.

Q. What had happened once you and these other associates were assembled in that room together with Tommy -- I'm sorry, with Bobby Boriello and Huck Carbonaro?

A. There came a time when there was a knock on the door.

Q. And who was at the door?

A. Gene Gotti.

Q. And what happened then?

A. They called John out. To go into the other room.

Q. Okay. When the door opened, could you see into the other room?

A. No, they didn't open up that much.

Q. Okay. So you say Gene Gotti came and John Gotti, Jr. What happened next?

A. Knock again. And Gene at the door again, asking for Dominick Pizzonia.

Q. And did Dominick Pizzonia leave the room at that point?

A. Yes.

Q. Okay. And what happened next?

A. Third knock, that was my knock. It was Jackie D'Amico.

Q. And what happened to you at that point?

A. I went into the room.

Q. Jackie Nose brought you into the adjoining room?

A. That's correct.

Q. Describe for the jury the scene that you encountered when you walked into the other room in Joe Butch Corrao's apartment?

A. Yes. There was a long, rectangular table with about ten captains sitting around it. At the head of the table, there was Gravano and Jackie. And at the other end, there was John Jr. and Skinny Dom. And, like I said, there were captains in between.

Q. Okay. Around this long table, you say at one end, is Sammy Gravano. What rank in the family did he hold at this point now in December of 1988?

A. He was consigliere.

Q. And was there another high-ranking member of the family sitting --

A. Yes, that would be Frank Locascio. He was the acting underboss.

Q. You said there were a number of captains in the family assembled around this table. Can you remember who some of them were?

A. Gene Gotti, Joe Butch, Nicky Corozzo, Tony C., Mario Trainor, Patsy Conti, Josey DeCicco, Louie Vallario.

Q. And you mentioned Gene Gotti. What was his relationship, familial relationship, if any, to the defendant, John Gotti, Jr.?

A. That was his uncle.

Q. You say when you went in, you saw that John Gotti, Jr. was already seated at this table?

A. Yes. At the end.

Q. Where did you sit?

A. I sit at the -- they brought me to the head of the table.

Q. And once you were seated at the table, who was next to you?

A. Gravano and Lou Casio, and D'Amico.

Q. And, again, D'Amico is your captain at this point?

A. Yes.

Q. Who spoke, once you were seated the table?

A. Gravano.

Salvatore Gravano

Salvatore Gravano

Q. What did he say?

A. He asked me if I knew why I was there, which I acknowledged no. He then says, do you know these men? I says, yes. He says, do you respect these men? I said yes. He says we have been watching you for a long time. This is not a club. This is a secret society. There is one way in this society, the way you would come in today, and one way out, on a slab. He says do you want to be a part of us. I acknowledged yes. He says which finger do you shoot with. I put up my index finger. There was a saint, a picture of a saint on a table, which was crumbled up and placed in my hand. I had my hand like, this, cupped. Jackie D'Amico pinches my finger, pricks it, drops some blood on to the saint, whereas then Gravano says, I'm going to light it on fire, and roll it around in your hands, and repeat after me. And, he did so. He says, if I betray the oath omerta, may my sole burn in hell like the saint.

Q. When you said there is one way into the life, the way you came in, one way out, out on a slab, what did you understand them to mean by that?

A. Death.

Q. And after you -- pledged this oath to never betray the secrets of La Cosa Nostra, what did Gravano do, what was the next part of the ceremony?

A. He congratulated me and says this is your new family, we come first before your blood family. If we call you, you come in when we call you. Even if you have to kill your own brother, this is what it is. He says, Jackie is now your new father. He told me to go around and kiss all of the captains, congratulations. That is what I did. I went around the table and came back to the head of the table.

Q. You went around the table, did you greet John Gotti, Jr.?

A. Yes.

Q. And after you sat down at the table again, after greeting everyone, what was the next step in the ceremony?

A. We were locked in, procedure called "locking in." Everybody stands up, we all hold hands, some words are spoken in Italian to the effect whatever is done here today or discussed here today, stays here. That was supposed to be locking in, keeping the secret.

Q. And after you did that, did the ceremony continue?

A. Yes.

Q. How so?

A. I was instructed to go sit at the end of the table where John and Skinny Dominick were. I did so. They then started to tell us about the hierarchy of our family.

Q. Just to be clear, what happened to the other associates who had been left behind in the room?

A. Excuse me. They called the other two fellows in, the same ceremony, as I sat there, and then they told us about -

Q. Just the same ceremony with the pin, the blood, and the saint, fire and the oath?

A. Exactly the same.

Mafia Family Rules and Hierarchy

Q. Once all five of you had gone through that ceremony, how did it proceed from there?

A. Yes. Then they started to tell us about the hierarchy of our family. Our boss, John Gotti, underboss Frank Locascio, consigliere was Sammy. Captains, roles of captains, roles of soldiers and associates, and how we should treat each other.

Q. What about other Cosa Nostra families, were they discussed?

A. Yes. Then they gave us the hierarchies of the other families in our areas.

Q. Who were some of the bosses that were made known to you at that point?

A. Genovese family, was Vinny "the Chin" Gigante. Bonanno family was Philly Rastelli. DeCavalcantes was Johnny D'Amato, I believe. Lucheses was Vic Amuso, and Junior Persico of the Colombos.

Q. Are you familiar with an individual by the name of John Rig?

A. John Riggi.

Q. Who is John Riggi?

A. DeCavalcante.

Q. Okay. Do you know the relationship between John Riggi and John D'Amato?

A. John was acting family.

Q. John D'Amato was acting boss of the DeCavalcante family at the time?

A. That's correct.

Q. Once you knew who the administrations were of your family and the other families, where did the ceremony proceed to at that point?

A. The captains were then telling us about the don'ts, what not to do, things you could get killed for. Such as, sleeping with another member's wife, you would be killed for that; if you were married and you slept with another member's family, you would be killed for that; if you murdered without permission, you could be killed for that; if you dealt drugs, you would be killed for that; if you dealt in stocks and bonds, you would be killed for that; raise your hands to another member, you would be killed for that; if you robbed from the family, you would be killed for that. And there is a few other ones.

Q. What did you think about all of these rules as they were being laid out for you?

A. It was a big hypocrisy.

Q. How so?

A. Well, you got, John Gotti's brother was a big drug dealer, big heroin dealer. He had a case going.

Q. Who is that?

A. Gene, Gene Gotti. And then you had on the other side of the table, he had Patsy Conti, international heroin dealer, probably one of the biggest in the world at that time. And then he, you had the hierarchy itself who just killed a boss without commission approval. So it was a lot of double standards and hypocrisy there.

Q. You said earlier that while that picture of the saint was burning in your hands, you pledged a -- a blood oath never to reveal the secrets of La Cosa Nostra. Is that what you are doing here today?

A. Absolutely.

Q. And is there a rule in Cosa Nostra about admitting the existence of the Gambino family?

A. You never admitted to an outsider.

Q. And what happens -- give us an example about your walking down the street one day, and you're a made member of the Gambino family, you see someone across the street who is a made member of the Genovese family, can you run over to him and say hi, you don't know me, but I'm Mikey DiLeonardo, a soldier with the Gambinos?

A. Not if I was never introduced. If I was never introduced, that can't happen. I would be sanctioned.

Q. How would it work, what would you say?

A. Well, you would say, hello, that's it. You can't allude to anything about Cosa Nostra.

Q. What if there is a third party present who is also a made member?

A. If he -- if he has been previously introduced to that individual, and introduced to myself, then he could introduce us as friends, as amica nostra, friend of ours.

Q. What is the purpose of these, this rule of not being able to introduce yourself?

A. Complete secrecy. You can't trust who the other guy is, if you don't know for sure, until you meet him, someone else vouches for him with an introduction.

Q. Same thing applies to identifying the name with the Gambino family?

A. Oh, of course.

Q. Now, at the end of this ceremony, were you placed in a particular crew of soldiers?

A. Jack D'Amico's.

Q. And where did you go after the ceremony ended?

A. Up to the club where John was; John, Sr.

Q. What club?

A. Ravenite.

Q. And did you have an understanding at the time why John Gotti, Sr. the boss of the family, did not attend the induction ceremony?

A. Yes. John did a classy thing, being the son was being inducted into the family, he felt it wasn't right for him to be there, and be there for the procedure to pinch his finger and go through the whole ceremony, so he -- he stepped out of it and let others do it.

Q. And after the ceremony when you went to the Ravenite, were you actually introduced to other members of the family as a soldier?

A. John, Sr. first. And then everybody else in the family.

Q. And what about John Gotti, Jr.?

A. I already met him.

Q. Sorry?

A. I already met him at the ceremony.

Q. So you had been introduced to him at the ceremony as a made member of the Gambino family?

A. That's correct.

Working with the Teamsters

Q. At the time you became a soldier in the Gambino family, what were you doing to earn money?

A. I was working with the teamsters, some shylock, and some bookmaking; things like that.

Q. And when did you become affiliated with the teamsters?

A. I believe it was about a year before. '87.

Q. And any particular local of the teamsters?

A. Yes. 282, trucking local.

Q. And you say it is a trucking local. What do you mean by --

A. That all of the union drivers, all of the truck drivers, they belong to that union, just about, that had to do with construction, concrete trucks, and things like that.

Q. Was there any relationship at that point in time between the Gambino family and local 282 of the teamsters?

A. Oh, they were with us. They were under our control.

Q. What do you mean by that?

A. Well, we had it from the president of the union all of the way down to its membership. Most of it, everybody was with us, so we controlled it, we infiltrated it.

Q. To your knowledge, how long had local 282 been under the control of the Gambino family?

A. First day they signed their charter, they were with us; whenever that was.

Jimmy Hoffa

Jimmy Hoffa

Q. And how far back in the last century would that have been?

A. Go back to the teamsters from Detroit, from them, they were always with us; from Jimmy Hoffa, all of the way until now.

Q. How did the Gambino family come to infiltrate local 282?

A. Oh, you start out with membership. Like I said, you put executives in there; president, secretary, things like that. And that is how we control it.

Q. Can you just tick off in your head a couple of made members of the Gambino family that you knew to have positions in local 282?

A. Myself, Frank Fappiano, Frank DeCicco, Clem Lombardoza, Danny, Louie Valerio's nephew, kid named Chappa, Petey Manicino and his son. There was many people.

Q. And in addition to getting jobs for members of, and associates of, the Gambino family, did the Gambino family's control of local 282 earn money and benefits for the Gambino family in any other way?

A. Oh, sure. The general contractors and jobs in Manhattan or any job over $5,000,000, our salaries would run them probably between 75 and a hundred thousand a year. And depending on the life of the job, could cost them hundreds of thousands. So they would make deals with the union, or we were wiseguys, to keep the teamsters off the job in those years. And they would save that money and they would give us the money. And then on the lower level, if a truck showed up to a job site, and we wanted to shake down the company, we'd tell them where is your book, they didn't have a book, we'd take money from them and then let them drop off their materials. Or just tell them, your union dues are due, up to the driver. And the company would come up with a few dollars, pay us off, 500, 600 dollars, things like that.

Q. What would happen to a construction company if they refused to pay off the Gambino family?

A. They wouldn't be able to drop anything off at that job site.

Q. What happens to the job site?

A. We shut it down.

Q. Did those companies ultimately pay in most instances?

A. Yes.

Q. What particular job did you get with local 282 in 1987?

A. Teamster foreman.

Q. And who got you that job?

A. Sammy Gravano and Frank Fappiano.

Q. What qualifications did you have to be a teamster foreman with the trucking union?

A. I knew Sammy Gravano.

Q. Did you have any other qualifications?

A. I didn't even know how to drive a truck.

Q. And I want to show you, first of all, it is marked for identification. I believe it was -- I show you what is marked for identification as government's exhibit 811

A. Tell us whether you recognize that document.

A. Yes, I do.

Q. What is it?

A. That is the day I signed up for local 282.

Q. Well, what is the document?

A. It is a -- it a, my book, I believe.

Q. Your book. With whom?

A. Local 282.

Q. Okay.

A. It is an application for my book for local 282.

Q. Do you recognize your handwriting on this document?

A. That is mine.

MR. McGOVERN: Your Honor, we offer 811 A.

MR. CARNESI: No objection, Judge.

THE COURT: 811 A is received.

(Government's Exhibit 811 A received in evidence)

Q. And if we could pull it up on the screen, I'm going to ask you, Mr. DiLeonardo, to use the laser pointer and kind of walk us through this document and tell us what we're looking at.

A. Okay. Here is the -- here would be the date.

Q. And what is the date shown on the document?

A. April 23rd of '87. That is how much I paid for my book, plus a month union dues.

Q. Okay. And then, scrolling down on the document a little bit, it says building material, drivers, and chauffeurs, local number 282. Is that the teamsters trucking union you have been discussing?

A. Yes.

Q. And your name is shown there, Michael A. DiLeonardo?

A. That's correct.

Q. And under occupation, it says driver. Were you, in fact, a truck driver?

A. No.

Q. Again, you had no idea how to drive a truck?

A. Never.

Construction and Labor Rackets

Q. It also says that you were employed at Grecco Brothers; who is Grecco Brothers?

A. They were a concrete company in Brooklyn that was with us at the time.

Q. What do you mean "with us"?

A. We controlled them.

Q. Who is "we"?

A. The Gambino family.

Q. Did you actually have a job at Grecco Brothers?

A. No.

Q. And I take it, it says three weeks you were employed at Grecco Brothers, that is also false?

A. That's correct.

Q. Then scrolling down a little bit more to the rest of it, it says teamsters 282 and a voucher signed by Jack D. Who is Jack D?

A. He was one of the officials of the union, an old-timer. They let him sign it, because he was really old.

Q. Okay. Did he answer to the Gambino family?

A. Yes.

MR. McGOVERN: Now, I want to show you on the screen what is already in evidence as government exhibits 107 A and B. Starting with 107 A. This is a little dark, so for anyone who wants to follow along in the photo binder, there might be a clearer photo of it. We'll try to zoom in a little bit more. And Mr. DiLeonardo you can looking at 107 A in front of you, if it makes it easier.

A. Okay.

MR. McGOVERN: And, your Honor, as to these photographs, there is a stipulation that the photographs were taken in the vicinity of East 86 Street in Manhattan, on August 1st, 1989.

Jackie D'Amico

Jackie "Nose" D'Amico

Q. Mr. DiLeonardo, first of all, moving left to right, can you identify any of the individuals in 107 A?

A. That's Jackie Nose. And that is me.

Q. And, again, in August of '89, Jackie Nose is who?

A. He is captain with John Gotti.

Q. And are you a soldier in Jackie Nose's crew?

A. No, associate.

Q. Okay. The date of this is August 1st, '89.

A. Oh, '89. Yes, I'm sorry.

Q. We have moved two years from signing up with 282, and now we're in August '89. So now you have been straightened out and you're a soldier in Jackie's crew?

A. That's correct.

Q. And the location of the photo, do you recognize it?

A. Yes. It is one of the jobs I worked at.

Q. Okay. What was the job; do you recall?

A. It was a Tischman job, I believe. It was Gimbels building being taken down.

Q. Tischman?

A. Tischman General Contractors.

Q. Gimbels?

A. That was like a Macy's type of place.

Q. And you said you -- you recall that it was being taken down; taken down by whom?

A. Big Apple.

Q. Who is Big Apple?

A. Demolition company around us, around the Gambino family.

Q. What do you mean "around the Gambino family"?

A. They come into us, they're with us, we control them.

Q. Who was controlling Big Apple back in 1989?

A. Gravano.

Q. And I'm going to ask you to, looking at 107 B, taken at the same location, the same time frame, August 1989, again, can you make some identifications there for us?

A. Jackie Nose, and me.

Q. Okay. And Jackie Nose to the left, and you on the right?

A. That's correct.

Q. And what are you doing at this job site?

A. I'm collecting my salary, collecting the pay; that's it. Hanging around.

Q. What was your purpose in being on the job site?

A. When Gravano put me there, Big Apple, like I said, was under our control. And they were doing the demolition. My job was to stand there and count the containers at that time, see how many containers, garbage containers were coming off the job. I was to keep count and then give it to Gravano.

Q. And, once Gravano installed you on this job site as a teamsters foreman, how were you getting paid?

A. From Tischman.

Q. Okay. And what was Tischman paying you?

A. They were giving me a check. I had a ceiling, though. They made a deal with Tischman that I would only get five or ten hours in overtime. Usually, the jobs like that, they could get 30 hours a week or better in overtime, but the deal was 5 to 10 hours, plus a hundred a week cash from Big Apple.

Q. Cash payoff?

A. Cash, yeah.

Q. And were you getting health benefits?

A. Oh, yeah; union.

Q. Retirement annuity?

A. Yes. All type of annuities.

Q. And were you actually doing any work on the job?

A. I -- that was my work, standing and counting containers.

Q. What connection, if any, did Jackie D'Amico have to this job site at Gimbels?

A. I had put his son to work there.

Q. How so?

A. Through local 23.

Q. What is local 23?

A. It was labor union we controlled.

Q. Who is "we"?

A. The Gambino family.

Q. Okay. Was Jackie D'Amico's son actually working at the Gimbels site?

A. Yes, he was.

Q. Was he also getting benefits and health care and retirement annuities?

A. Yes.

Q. And what entitled him to have the position at local 23?

A. His father, the Gambino family.

Q. Did you ever know Jackie Nose to put himself on the books of a company so he could get a salary and healthcare benefits too?

A. Yes. There came a time.

Q. And what company was that?

A. Crystal Geyser.

Q. Crystal Geyser, what kind of company is that?

A. It would be a beverage company.

Q. Owned by whom?

A. Fellow named Hal Irving, I believe, and some other partners.

Q. Okay. Who was Hal Irving in addition to being the owner of this company, Crystal Geyser?

A. He was a close associate of Jack D'Amico.

Q. How so?

A. Jackie knew him for years. He was a liquor salesman in Manhattan. And he was with Jackie.

Q. And did Hal Irving have any other business relationships with anyone else in the Gambino family?

A. Oh, with anyone else?

Q. Yeah.

A. At that time?

Q. Or any time. Was there a time that he had a relationship why John Gotti, Sr.?

A. Oh, yeah, sure. It was put on record with John Gotti, Sr. Also, there was a restaurant that Jackie was building in Manhattan for John. It was going to be John's restaurant. And Hal Irving put up $50,000 to invest into the restaurant.

Q. What restaurant was that?

A. Da'Noi.

Q. And how do you spell Da'Noi?

A. D-a, apostrophe, N-o-i.

Q. And do you know what that means in English?

A. No.

Q. Okay. This Da'Noi Restaurant, was it ever opened?

A. Sure.

Q. And you say Hal Irving invested in that?

A. With others.

Q. Okay. And, after Da'Noi opened, at whose headquarters did it become?

A. It was John's restaurants; John, Sr.

Q. John, Sr. And would you go to Da'Noi --

A. Sure.

Q. -- from time to time? Who would you see there?

A. John, Joe Watts. Jackie Giordano, Danny Marino, Jackie Nose, Junior, Boriello, myself --

Q. What about Hal Irving?

A. Hal Irving, yes.

Q. What did Hal Irving get in exchange for his investment in Johnny Gotti's Sr.'s restaurant?

MR. CARNESI: Objection.

Q. If you know.

THE COURT: Repeat the question.

Q. What did Hal Irving get in exchange for his investment in John Gotti, Sr.'s restaurant?

THE COURT: If he knows, I'll allow that.

A. He got the protection of the Gambino family; he got umbrella, and he got bragging rights.

Q. Let me show you what is already -- not already in evidence. Can you check your binder there for government exhibit 171. Let me know when you have it.

A. Okay.

Q. Do you recognize anyone in that photo, sir?

A. Yes.

Q. Who?

A. Hal Irving.

Q. Your Honor, we offer 171.

MR. CARNESI: No objection.

THE COURT: All right, received.

(Government's Exhibit 171 received in evidence)

Q. Would you bring it up on the screen, sir. And using the laser pointer, would you identify any of those individuals, moving from left to right.

A. That is Hal Irving.

Q. The second person from the left?

A. That's correct.

Q. How many times have you met Hal Irving in your life?

A. Oh, dozens.

Q. Anybody else in the photo you recognize?

A. No.

Q. Okay. Let's just leave that up there for a second. You said that there came a time that Jackie D'Amico actually put himself on the books of Hal Irving's company, Crystal Geyser.

A. That's correct.

Q. How did that work out?

A. He went to Hal, told him to put me on the books.

Q. And what does it mean to be "on the books" of the company if you're a Gambino?

A. Well, he, Jackie, needed a -- to show an income coming in so he could pay his bills. So he had to go onto a company to get his check, so he could show the government how you live, and to get health insurance, and things of that nature. And then show a job.

Q. And in addition to salary and healthcare, did Jackie Nose get any other benefits from Hal Irving's company?

A. Yes. He was getting cash.

Q. Did he get a company car?

A. Oh, he got a company car; yeah, sure.

Q. What was that?

A. I believe they -- he paid the -- the Lincoln he had for a while, and then Jackie wound up getting an Jaguar.

Q. And when you were with Jackie Nose, I think you said you saw him several times a week. Would you see him in this Jaguar?

A. Oh, sure.

Q. And when he was visiting with you in his Jaguar, was he doing Gambino family business, or Crystal Geyser business?

A. Gambino family business.

Beef over a Soda Route

Q. To your knowledge, what did Hal Irving get in exchange for paying Jackie D'Amico a salary, paying his health care benefits and giving him a Jaguar?

A. He had our protection from other families, or anybody else that would bother; whenever he needed help, he would be -- we'd be there for him.

Q. How do you know that personally?

A. I sat down on a beef.

Q. What do you mean you "sat down on a beef?"

A. There was a -- a time when there was an associate around Eddie Garafola who bought a route off of Hal Irving. And he was not getting along with Hal. There was a discrepancy of how many people he was putting on Staten Island, being Hal, interfering with his business. And Eddie had asked me to go with him to see Hal Irving and iron this thing out. He felt Jackie Nose was going to be there, in which Jackie was there. And we sat down, and Jackie and Hal, against Eddie and myself.

Q. And can you give us a time frame of this sit-down?

A. Early '90.

Q. And you said there was a dispute over a route. What do you mean by a "route?"

A. Soda route. They have different stores and stops that they go to and supply this Crystal Geyser.

Q. And who had this route?

A. Hal Irving was giving them out. And this fellow, Anthony that Eddie was sitting down for, had the route.

Q. Okay. And what -- where was this sit-down held?

A. At Hal's office.

Q. Do you recall where that was located at the time?

A. Long Island City, near Midtown Tunnel.

Q. And what borough?

A. I believe that is Queens.

Q. Okay. And can you describe for us the building that you arrived at that day for the sit-down.

A. Yes. It was a warehouse where it had all of the hi lows and all of the sodas stored downstairs. And upstairs in the second floor was their office space.

Q. Is that where you conducted the sit-down?

A. That's correct.

Q. And you said that it was Jackie Nose and Hal Irving on one side of the table, and you and Eddie Garafola on the other?

A. That's correct.

Q. What is the result of the sit-down?

A. We win.

Q. How so?

A. He lost the beef. Our case was stronger than theirs. And we won the beef. And the kid was allowed to operate out there.

Q. In addition to Jackie Nose and other associates, to your knowledge, did any Gambino members or associates get jobs at Crystal Geyser through Hal Irving and his connections with the Gambino family?

A. Yes. He was having a lot of problems with pilfering; there was some people in the warehouse that were moving a lot of sodas out. And they believed it was one of the supers or managers on the floor that were doing it. Jackie had asked me to put some kids in there to watch over there and find out what was going on, and I put Noel Modica there, and some other kids; I don't remember who it was.

Q. Noel Modica, who was he at the time that you got him this job at Crystal Geyser?

A. He is an associate of mine and Jack's. And his father is also a wiseguy.

Q. Soldier?

A. Soldier.

Q. And, Noel Modica at the time was an associate of the Gambino family?

A. That's correct.

Conspiracy to Kill Fred Weiss

Q. Now, at the time that you were working as a teamster foreman at that Gimbels site that we saw in the photo, August of 1989, were you asked to participate in another murder for the Gambino family?

A. Yes.

Q. And who asked for your help?

A. John Gotti, Sr.

Q. Okay. Who came to you directly with John Gotti, Sr.'s wishes?

A. Fella named Joe Watts.

Q. And remind us, who is Joe Watts at the time?

A. He was a close associate, a member of the inner circle, and a prolific murderer.

Q. And this prolific murderer, Joe Watts, what did he ask from you?

A. I was in a club with Fat Downs Club in Staten Island with Jackie and the rest of our crew. Joe Watts came and asked for Jackie, and Dom, and myself to step outside; he had something to tell us. And then he proceeded to tell us that, coming from the boss, John, we had to do a piece of work.

Q. And, again, what did you understand that to mean?

A. Kill somebody.

Q. At that time, did Joe Watts identify who the intended victim was?

A. Yes, Fred Weiss.

Q. Fred?

A. Weiss.

Q. And did he explain why Gotti, Sr. wanted to see Fred Weiss dead?

A. Yes. It was -- he was involved with the garbage industry in Staten Island with a fellow named Angelo Paccione, was big in the private sanitation business. And Angelo was partners with Fred Weiss. And they had just been indicted, or was going to get indicted in a case. And they thought that Fred would cooperate, and that is why they wanted to have him murdered.

Q. And at the time that Fred Weiss was indicted with these others, what was the relationship between the garbage industry and the Gambino family?

A. Oh, they were with us; the Trade Waste Association.

Q. And if the Trade Waste Association was with your family, what threat did Fred Weiss possess to you if he cooperated?

A. Well, Jimmy Brown ran the association. And Angelo was extremely close to Jimmy Brown. So whatever secrets they had at that time, Fred Weiss became a liability in somebody's eyes.

Q. Did you actually end up playing a role in the murder of Fred Weiss?

A. Leading up to his murder; yes.

Q. Okay. What did -- what did you do, at least to contribute to the conspiracy to murder Fred Weiss?

A. Well, I was instructed after that night to get together with Fat Dom Borghese, which I did, in his club at some days later. And we went out and started to dig a hole.

Q. For what?

A. To put a body. Of Fred Weiss after he would be murdered. And to do some homework to follow him around, get his routine down, and find the right moment to execute him.

Q. And did you do anything else in furtherance of this conspiracy?

A. Yes. At a later time, we went by an individual's -- from New Jersey, who was a soldier with the DeCavalcantes over to his house where he would be brought there to be murdered.

Q. When who would be brought there?

A. Excuse me. Fred Weiss.

Q. Did you actually go to this house on Staten Island that belonged to this DeCavalcante individual?

A. Yes, we did.

Q. And what did do you when you got there?

A. I was instructed by Joe Watts along with my brother-in-law Frankie Fappiano to stay in the yard, pose as a construction worker. Because, his house, he had a massive house, it was under construction. And that Danny Nunziato was going to go out, find Weiss, bring him back to the house, lure him into the house, where Watts would kill him.

Q. Watts had a weapon with him at the time?

A. Yes. He had a silencer and a handgun.

Q. Did you see it?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. And did Fred Weiss end up getting killed that day?

A. No, he did not. He didn't show up.

Q. Do you know what ultimately became of Fred Weiss?

A. I would say he was murdered within a few days or that week.

Q. Were you anywhere near the crime scene when Fred Weiss was killed?

A. No.

Q. Do you have any idea who killed him?

A. We found out later it was the Jersey family who killed him.

Q. Still, even though you weren't there that day and he was killed by a different family, to your mind, what makes you guilty of the murder of Fred Weiss?

A. I was part of the conspiracy to kill Fred Weiss.

Q. Again from whom did that conspiracy to kill Fred Weiss emanate?

A. That was from John Gotti, Sr.

The Trials of John J. Gotti

Q. During the 1980s approximately how many times was John Gotti, Sr. charged in a criminal case?

A. I believe it was three.

Q. Do you remember the results of all three of those criminal cases?

A. Yes, he was acquitted.

Q. Each time?

A. Each time.

Q. Do you recall celebrating those acquittals with John Gotti, Sr.?

A. Yes.

Ravenite Social Club

Ravenite Social Club

Q. Where would you typically have those celebrations?

A. Usually at the club, the Ravenite.

Q. I am going to ask you to take a look at Government's Exhibit 162. Do you recognize anyone in that photo?

A. Yes.

Q. Who?

A. John, Sr., myself, Pete Gotti, Gravano, Vinnie Corrao, Skinny Dom.

Q. Do you recognize the location shown in that photo?

A. That's the Ravenite.

Q. Do you recognize the occasion that's depicted in that photo?

A. Yes. That's his last case that he won.

MR. McGOVERN: We move 162, your Honor.

MR. CARNESI: No objection.

THE COURT: Received.

(Government's Exhibit 162 received in evidence)

MR. McGOVERN: Would you pull 162 up on the screen, please.

Q. Moving from left to right, can you tell us who you see in that photo, identifying them by name and rank in the family, if any, in 1989?

A. Pete Gotti was a captain. John Gotti was the boss. I am a soldier, right there.

Q. That's you behind John Gotti, Sr.'s left shoulder?

A. That is correct. Gravano, he was the consigliere. Corrao at the time was an associate. And Skinny Dom was a soldier. This guy I don't know.

Q. OK. By late 1989, who was John Gotti, Sr.'s underboss?

A. Late '89?

Q. Late '89.

A. Locascio, I believe.

Q. What's his first name?

A. Frank Locascio.

Q. Can we bring up Government's Exhibit 38, please. Do you recognize that individual?

A. That's Frank.

Q. And this is Frank Locascio, who you say was John Gotti, Sr.'s underboss in late 1989?

A. Acting underboss.

Q. Essentially second in command?

A. Yes.

Q. Who was third in command?

A. Gravano.

Q. Can we bring up Government's Exhibit 35. Again, is that Sammy Gravano?

A. That's correct.

Q. I now want to show you what's been marked for identification as Government's Exhibits 452A and B together with a transcript. I am going to first show you 452A and B, which are CDs. I just ask you whether you recognize those, sir?

A. Yes, my initials are on them.

Q. What do you recognize them to be?

A. These are audiotapes from the Ravenite.

Q. What's the date shown on those audiotapes? Well, I can point it out. December 12, 1989? Is that indicated at the top?

A. I don't know. Unless I missed it. Oh, yeah.

Q. December 12, 1989. Also handing you what's been marked for identification as Government's Exhibit 452T, a transcript. Are you familiar with that transcript, sir?

A. Yes, I've seen it before.

Q. Have you listened to these audiotapes?

A. Yes.

Q. Prior to initialing them?

A. Yes.

Q. As you listened to these, did you follow along in the transcript?

A. Yes.

Q. As you listened, did you find the transcript to be a fair and accurate rendition of what we're hearing on the CDs?

A. Yes.

Q. By the way, from time to time did you note some typos on the transcript?

A. Yes, I think I did.

(The audio setup and use of headphone sets is explained to the jury.)

Q. Mr. DiLeonardo, just directing your attention to 452T, the transcript in evidence as an aid, do you see the date December, 1989?

A. Correct.

Q. Do you see the participants, John Gotti and Frank Locascio?

A. Yes.

Q. One more time, to remind us: What are their respective positions in the Gambino family at the time this conversation is recorded?

A. John was the boss and Frankie is acting underboss.

THE COURT: This is John Gotti, Sr.?

THE WITNESS: John Gotti, Sr., yes.


(Audio tapes are played. The judge and two jurors have trouble hearing the audio tapes. The attorneys discuss how to proceed. The judge notes that the tapes and not the transcript must be the evidence used by the jury.)


(Additional discussion regarding the audio tape evidence.)


Q. Mr. DiLeonardo, can you get the transcript 452 T in front of you again?

A. Yes.

Q. Okay. And I'm just going to ask you to help us interpret just a handful of the -- the phrases and portions of conversation that were on the tape. Starting with page one of the transcript and beginning about four lines down, John Gotti, Sr. says -

THE COURT: I'm sorry, what page. I apologize.

MR. McGOVERN: I'm on page 1, Judge.

THE COURT: Oh, okay.

Q. Four lines down: As far as this life, no one knows it better than me. If a guy offends me, I'll break him. That is the end of it. But not for me. It is this thing of ours. It has gotten to be a circus. I'm not gonna leave a circus when I go to jail, Frankie. Couple of questions --

THE COURT: Well, well, to tell the jury. Now, Mr. McGovern is a very polite fellow. And he just left out a word. We'll call it in brackets. He just has trouble saying it. But it was there, you've probably heard it. I'll let him skip it, since he is not comfortable.

MR. McGOVERN: Only in court, Judge.

THE COURT: Oh no, I would have said that it would be only in court that you would read such a word. But, in any event, we'll let you skip it each time. Okay, go ahead.

MR. McGOVERN: Thank you, Judge.

Q. First of all, when he says "as far as this life" do you have an understanding "this life"?

A. Cosa Nostra.

Q. When he says, "If a guy offends me, I'll break him." What does it mean to "break" someone?

A. Take him down from their position. If they're a captain to soldier, or even in hierarchy, could break him down to soldier or nonentity.

Q. Are you familiar with the term "to shelf".

A. Yes, same thing as breaking somebody. Make him a nonentity; disenfranchise him.

Q. Disenfranchise?

A. Yes.

Q. And he -- couple more lines down, he says "this thing of ours". Again, what does that mean?

A. Our "thing", that is Cosa Nostra.

The Murder of Robert DiBernardo

Q. Turning over to page 2, about nine lines down from the top, do you see this entry: When DB got whacked, they told me a story. I was in jail when I whacked him. First of all, let please stop there. Who is "DB"?

A. DB was a captain in our family, in charge of the local 282 in the porno district.

Q. And what became of the DB?

A. He got killed.

Q. Same thing?

A. He was murdered.

Q. Same thing as "whacked"?

A. Whacked is murdered.

Q. And do you know who was responsible for whacking DB?

A. Gravano and Ruggiero.

Q. On whose orders?

A. Gotti, Sr.

THE COURT: How do you know that; not in this transcript, right?

THE WITNESS: No, I know it from the street.

THE COURT: You know it from the street?


THE COURT: All right.

Q. Well, to be clear, from inside your family?

A. Yes.

THE COURT: Well, I don't -- anybody objecting to that?

MR. CARNESI: No, your Honor.

MS. KARLSTEIN: Objection.

THE COURT: You got to get together; he said no. Okay, fine.

MR. McGOVERN: I'll attempt to lay a foundation, Judge.

THE COURT: All right.

Q. Who in particular did you speak to about the murder of Robert DiBernardo?

A. Gravano at times, Garafola at time, other members.

Q. You say Gravano was one of the participants in the murder?

A. Yes.

Q. And for what purpose was Sammy Gravano telling you about the murder of Robert DiBernardo?

A. He took over local 282. It became his after that.

Salvatore Gravano

Salvatore Gravano

Q. And was it important for you, as a member of the family, to understand how Sammy came to control local 282?

A. That is how Sammy did things; he killed you and took it.

Q. Moving down a few lines, John Gotti, Sr. says: I knew why it was being done, I done it anyway. I allowed it to be done. He got there, I saved that whole industry. Do you know what he is referring to?

A. Yes. He knows it was a story Sammy was telling him that DB was not knocking John behind his back, that is the story they went in with, I believe, and that Sammy just wanted to take control of the union. Angelo Ruggiero had owed some money to DB, a hundred thousand dollars, and that was his motivation, part and parcel.

Q. And when he says "the whole industry" he is referring to what industry?

A. Construction industry; concrete, specific.

Q. Going over to page three, about ten lines from the top where it says there is a builder up in the Bronx, a billionaire builder. The guy's with me through Arc Plumbing. Do you have an understanding of who Arc Plumbing is?

A. Yes. That was a company that John was you know, on the payroll, and controlled, and a very good friend of his, one of the Guarinos, I believe.

Q. When you say that John was "on the payroll," you're referring to John Gotti, Sr.?

A. That's correct.

Q. When you say he was on the payroll, how does this situation compare to the one you told us earlier about Jack D'Amico being on the to payroll of Crystal Geyser?

A. Same thing. He was creating a salary for himself, an air of legitimacy, he can show the government that he earns income; benefits and stuff like that.

Q. Further down that page, about five lines down from there where Gotti says: I sat with the owner of the building today, they don't know who Sammy is, and they don't know who Marathon is. Do you have an understanding of what "Marathon" was?

A. That was Gravano's company; one of his companies.

Q. What kind of company?

A. That was a concrete company, I believe, Marathon.

Q. And, continuing, it says: They knew Marine and them way before that. They were told this is where I want it to go, so it went to Marathon. Who is Marathon, he says today, that's Sammy. What is Marine?

A. That was a company that was controlled by the Irish guys Westies faction of our family.

Q. W-e-s-t-i-e-s?

A. Yes. And they went directly into John and Joe Watts at that time.

Problems with Sammy Gravano

Q. This Irish faction, what is the problem they're having here with Marathon, Sammy's company?

A. Yes. Sammy looks like he robbed the job from him, took a job right out from under Buddy Leahy who was one of the Irish guys.

Q. At the bottom of the page, Gotti says: Every time I turn around there is a new company popping up. Building, consulting, concrete. And every time we got a partner that don't agree with us, we kill him. You go to the boss, and your boss kills him.

A. He is referring again, once again, to Gravano being completely aggressive and trying to take over the industry under John's nose, and everybody else's nose. And when he didn't like where it was going, he killed the guy. He went to John, John gave permission, and he had him killed.

Q. Over to page 4 where, four lines from the top Gotti says: What do I do with the rest of the Borgata. What does that term mean?

A. "Borgata" means family.

Q. And he says: You throw them in the street, the rest of the Borgata. What are we gonna do with the rest of this Borgata; capodecinas, we got 22, 25 beef to me. Do you understand what he is referring to?

A. Yes. We got 25 crews in our family and Sammy seems to be trying to control everything at this point. And everybody is going to John complaining about Sammy's aggressiveness.

Q. Over to page 6, please, about seven lines from the top, where Gotti, Sr. again says: When Nasabeak died you were nothing. Louie had Gem Steel. You told me that guy was talking behind my back, talk behind my back, now you got Gem Steel. First of all, do you have an understanding of who "Nasabeak" is, what that reference is?

A. Yes. That is Paul Castellano.

Q. When Gotti says when Nasabeak died, what is he referring to?

A. Well, Paul Castellano was murdered at that point in time.

Q. By whom?

A. By Gotti and Gravano and DeCicco.

Q. And he says: Louie had Gem Steel, now you got Gem Steel. First of all, who I Louie?

A. That would be Louie Milito who used the be Gravano's partner for years, they were very, very close at one time. And Gravano was not partners with Milito in Gem Steel, that was his exclusively. And Sammy went to John saying Louie was talking about him behind his back, which was a lie. John approved his murder, and they killed him.

Q. And after Gravano and others killed Milito, what became of Gem Steel?

A. Sammy took it over.

Q. And what kind of company was it?

A. Steel erectors.

Q. And couple lines down there he says: The other things you told me, DB cried behind my back. Now you got all that. And, you got Bobby Sasso. Can you tell us who Bobby Sasso was?

A. He is the president of local 282. Teamsters.

Q. Let me show you what has been marked for identification as government's exhibit 43. Tell us if you recognize that individual.

A. That would be Bobby Sasso.

MR. McGOVERN: Your Honor, we offer 43.

MR. CARNESI: No objection.

THE COURT: Forty-three is received.

(Government's Exhibit 43 received in evidence)

Q. And tell us again who Bobby Sasso is at this point in time in December of 1989?

A. He is president of local 282.

Q. And what is his relationship if any to the Gambino family?

A. He is directly with us.

Q. And when Gotti Sr. says on this tape, you got Bobby Sasso who is he referring to?

A. Gravano.

Q. And what was the particular relationship between Gravano and Bobby Sasso?

A. He handled him directly.

Q. How so?

A. He was a going right into Sammy and, and he was taking orders directly from Sammy.

Q. Over to page 7, about six lines from the top, it says, Gotti says: These people are being taken away from him. He is not a capodecina, he wants to be a capodecina, I'll take him down from consigliere, and I'll make him a capodecina. Could you interpret that for us?

A. Yes. Capodecina's role is to handle your crew and different aspects of the family, like construction industry or trade waste, things of that nature. When you get into the hierarchy, boss, underboss, consigliere, you're supposed to oversees your captains with those industries. Here, Sammy is directly hands-on and John is being sarcastic saying, and rightfully so, this is what he wants, to act like a captain? I'll make him a captain.

Q. Over to page 8, please. Just about ten lines from the top, it says: You take a guy like Johnny G, you make this guy rebel against his own cousin. Do you understand who "Johnny G" is?

A. Yeah, that he would be Johnny Gammarano. He was on the construction force at that time that Gravano -- under his control.

Q. Handling what in particular for Gravano?

A. Local 23 and any other construction jobs that would pop up here and bring them into Sammy direct.

Q. Can we pull up government exhibit 27 in evidence. Apparently not. We'll come back to that. See if Mr. Hou can do it. Okay, do you see 27 on the screen?

A. Yes. That is John Gammarano.

John Gammarano

John Gammarano

Q. Also known as Johnny G?

A. Johnny G, Johnny Grease.

Q. Okay. And then further down on page 8, it says: I think he is in charge of two unions. You've got him, Johnny G, working hand in hand with Joe Brewster in local 23. Who is Joe Brewster?

A. He is also handling 23, soldier in Jimmy Brown's crew at this time, and handling local. He is a delegate in local 23.

Q. Local 23 is the laborers union?

A. That's correct.

Q. And what is Joe Brewster's real name?

A. Joe Delmonico.

Q. Show government exhibit 32, please. I'm sorry. I must have that wrong number. We'll come back to Joe Delmonico. And further down there it says you convinced me that is good for me, you got Joe Francolino working hand in hand. Who is Joe Francolino?

A. He is also a soldier that Sammy winds up taken in his crew to stay close to Jimmy Brown with the garbage industry. Sammy promotes Francolino to learn his business. He knows the business, he is in the business, but to learn the trade waste, to get involved directly.

Q. Okay. Top of page 15, about three lines down. Actually we have government's exhibit 19 on the screen. Who is that, sir?

A. That would be Joe Delmonico, Joe Brewster.

Q. Three lines down: I want to know when and how they got in them, these are all businesses that nobody had a year ago. Frank on my back? I got a million good guys. What does it mean "I got a million good guys"?

A. Associates and soldiers and captains that he could use to put in these industries and he could use this is people instead of Gravano using everybody he knows.

Q. And the next line reads: My son didn't open no new companies up, my brother didn't, my son-in-laws didn't, nobody opened up no new companies up. The reference to his son, who do you understand that to be?

A. John, Jr.

Q. And he also mentions brothers and son-in-laws as not opening any new companies. What is he complaining about there?

A. Well, he is saying that I'm not bringing this all to me, I'm the boss, I could hog it all myself and I'm not doing it. I could give it to my immediate family and let them earn that kind of living, but he don't want to set that kind of precedent to the rest of the family. And he's making a comparison hat Sammy don't care, he is running right through everything.

Q. In what sense was Sammy Gravano, by opening up his own companies, making more than anyone else?

A. In a sense, was he making more than everyone else?

Q. Yes?

A. He controlled everyone, controlling everybody in every industry in the Borgata that we controlled and letting everybody come to him.

Q. And over to page 17. At the very bottom where Gotti complains or says: Who is going to challenge me, who is going to defy me? What are you going to do, take a shot, sleeping like I did to the other guy. Do you have an understanding as to who is he referring to there?

A. Yes. That was the overthrow of Paul Castellano. And ultimately murder of Paul. Paul went to sleep in his eyes because John had circumvented his power with a lot of the skippers. And Paul essentially went to sleep, they called that. He was not aware of his surroundings and that was what enabled him to sneak up and kill him that easily.

Q. And on the bottom of page 20, about 12 lines from to top: I meet this, Buddy Leahy. Is that to same Buddy Leahy you mentioned before, was with the Westies?

A. That's correct.

Q. The guy's the nicest guy in the world. He is giving that punk 10,000 a month in jail with Jimmy Coonan. Who is Jimmy Coonan?

A. He was the head of the Westies at one time, Hell's Kitchen. And it was a murderous group. And he went to jail, Jim, with some others.

Q. He says: The kid is getting shaken down for 30 thousand a month. Who is getting shaken down?

A. I believe that is Buddy Leahy.

Q. And two lines from there, Gotti says: What happened with that job down there. He says: Carbone, whatever his name is, Mike Carbone called up and hollered at me. I'm not to go bid any jobs. Do you understand who Mike Carbone is.

A. Yes, he was a delegate with local 282, who later became -- Sammy promoted him to secretary/treasurer I believe. And he was Sammy's pit bull, to get out there and shake up the contractors and tried to force bids our way.

Q. Show you what has been marked for identification as government's exhibit seven. Actually, it may -- I believe seven is in evidence. Why don't we go ahead and pull it up. Can you tell us who is shown on the screen now?

A. That is Mike Carbone.

Q. And, again, his relationship to the union?

A. He was sort of, at the end, the secretary/treasurer.

Q. And then, moving over to page 26, Locascio says, the way yous told him, construction you take care of, anything with construction. When it comes to the garbage Jimmy Brown's decision. Again, who is being put, by Gotti, in charge of construction.

A. Gravano.

Q. And who is in charge of the garbage industry?

A. Supposedly Jimmy Brown.

Q. And you said "supposedly" why?

A. Because Sammy is pushing up on him. He is putting his guy in there. Jimmy keeps beefing to John about Sammy and Joe Francolino.

Q. And then over to page 31, please. At the very top, where Gotti says: I took Sammy's word. Louie DeBono, and I sat with this guy. I saw the papers and everything. He didn't rob nothing. Do you know why he is dying? He is going to die because he refused to come in when I called. He didn't do nothing else wrong. First of all, who is the Louie DeBono?

A. He was a soldier in our family.

Q. And do you recall what happened to Louie DeBono about four months after this tape was made?

A. He was murdered.

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