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Valparaiso Univ. Law School

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Monday, May 23, 2005

Cases: The Velcro Don

John Gotti has lost a good many arguments under the criminal laws, and now he’s lost one based on breach of contract.

A New York federal court has held that Gotti’s 1999 plea bargain on RICO, loan sharking, and tax charges, did not bar the government from proceeding against him on new charges.  Gotti’s plea agreement stated, “The Offices have no present intention to indict defendant Gotti for additional crimes based on the evidence currently known to the Offices.”  When prosecutors went after him on more RICO charges in June 2004, Gotti moved to dismiss the indictment based on the 1999 plea agreement.

Sorry, said the court.  The court analyzed the agreement as a contract, but noted that it was proper to take parol evidence into account in deciding whether the government’s representation was a promise.  The court noted that during negotiations Gotti had repeatedly asked for assurances that he would not be prosecuted again, which the prosecutors refused to give him.  The prosecutors insisted on the “no present intention” language, which, said the court, did not create a promise.  Motion denied.

United States v. Gotti, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9031 (S.D.N.Y. 2005).

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