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Gotti family denounces mobster's testimony

A file photo of John Gotti in New

A file photo of John Gotti in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan (Jan. 20, 1990). Credit: AP

For Victoria Gotti, wife of the late crime boss John Gotti, the latest allegation about her husband is a smear against a dead man who can't defend himself.

Gotti and her children reacted with anger and disbelief to a claim by former Bonanno crime boss Joseph Massino, the first official mob boss to take the witness stand, that the Gambino crime boss plotted to have him rubbed out in the early 1990s.

"So ridiculous and so untrue," said Victoria Gotti in an email to Newsday. "I never, never heard a word against Joe [Massino], nothing but fondness."

Testifying Monday in the Brooklyn federal court racketeering trial of his former crime captain Vincent Basciano, Massino, 68, said he learned that John Gotti and another Bonanno associate were plotting to kill him. Massino said he learned of the purported plot in jail in 2003 from a Genovese crime family member.

But Victoria Gotti dismissed the claim, saying, "As far as we ever heard Johnny thought very highly of Joe. My kids, growing up, thought he was an uncle."

John Gotti was supposed to have plotted with Massino's brother-in-law Sal Vitale, testified Massino. But when Gotti was arrested in late 1990 and sentenced to life in prison, the plan dissolved, Massino said.

Two law enforcement experts, who asked not to be identified, said they had no knowledge of any plot.

However, Bruce Mouw, the former FBI agent who eventually arrested Gotti, said anything was possible in the labyrinthine world of mob politics.

"I don't discount it," Mouw told Newsday yesterday. "John [Gotti] hated every other boss except Vincent 'The Chin' (Gigante)."

Gotti was also jealous of the wealthy Massino, added Mouw. Although the FBI never heard that Gotti plotted against Massino, Mouw said Gotti was in fact very close to Vitale during the period in the late 1980s and early 1990s when Massino was in prison.

But Gotti's daughter Angel said in an email to Newsday that when her father died in prison in June 2002, Massino sent an ornate floral display and sympathy card that moved her to tears.

"It was so beautiful and sad," wrote Angel Gotti.

Victoria Gotti said Massino's testimony amounted to "Open season against one who can't defend himself. Every . . . trial has to throw Gotti in the mix."

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