John A. "Junior" Gotti pleaded not guilty this afternoon to murder and racketeering charges in Tampa federal court, according to stories from the Associated Press and Reuters news services.
The 44-year-old Gotti, dressed in a blue prison jumpsuit and shackled at the ankles, did not speak during his 5-minute hearing. His attorney Charles Carnesi entered the plea for him.
Prosecutors say Gotti led a crew of the Gambino Crime Family operating in Florida. He has been charged with trafficking in cocaine and with participating in three racketeering-related murders between 1988 and 1991.
Gotti was previously convicted of racketeering and served time in prison. Since then, he has avoided conviction in three major racketeering trials in New York City. He has stated that he left the crime family years ago.
No date has yet been set for the trial.
- Editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer. Publisher of American Mafia history website mafiahistory.us. Moderator of Mafia-related Google+ community and Yahoo discussion group. Author of Wrongly Executed? Coauthor of Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia and DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime. Contributor of American Mafia history to Australian-published Mafia: The Necessary Reference to Organized Crime. Writer/co-writer of crime history articles for Informer, On the Spot Journal, Cigar City Magazine, Tampa Mafia Magazine.