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Gotti's Orders for Hits Heard on FBI Tapes

August 03, 1991|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — Reputed Mafia boss John Gotti said of one potential victim, "He's gotta get whacked," and of another, "He's gonna die because he refused to come in when I called," according to transcripts of FBI tapes released Friday.

In one key transcript, Gotti is heard denying involvement in the 1985 slaying of "Big Paul" Castellano, a murder that he is accused of ordering to seize control of the Gambino crime family.

Prosecutors, in court papers released by a judge, called Gotti's taped denials so calculated that they "approached the level of a joke." Gotti's denials followed a re-enactment of the Castellano hit on the television show "America's Most Wanted," which linked Gotti to the crime.

The 400-plus pages of government documents, released by the U.S. attorney's office, are laced with references to the killings of others and with discussions about who would run the Gambino operation if Gotti went to prison.

"When I'm in the can, Sammy's in charge," Gotti said at one point, referring to his close friend and co-defendant Salvatore Gravano.

On a Dec. 12, 1989, tape, the 50-year-old Gotti appears to take credit for one slaying that has already occurred and talks about another that he says Gravano asked him to approve.

"I was in jail when I whacked him," Gotti said of alleged mobster Robert DiBernardo, who was murdered in 1986. "I knew why it was being done. I done it anyway. I allowed it to be done anyway . . . . Any time you got a partner who don't agree with us, you kill him."

Gotti is then heard telling another alleged mob associate, Frank Locascio, that Gravano had asked for permission to kill onetime business associate Louis DiBono.

"Know why he's dying? He's gonna die because he refused to come in when I called," Gotti says. "He didn't do nothing else wrong."

DiBono was found dead in his car trunk at the World Trade Center nine months later. Prosecutors added that slaying to four murders already linked to Gotti in his pending racketeering indictment.

The other slayings include the December, 1985, hit on Castellano and his bodyguard.

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