Thursday, April 8, 2010
John "Junior" Gotti feared he'd be whacked when he was a member of the Gambino crime family.
"Every day it's a possibility," Gotti told CBS's "60 Minutes" in an interview that will air on Sunday. "It's a possibility that something can happen to you every day of your life. And you know something, when you hang out in the streets, you're hanging with a different type of a person. ... Who knows? Everything is possible. It's a volatile experience."
Gotti, 46, said the best part of that volatile existence was the actual moment he joined the mob.
He said the "proudest moment" of his life was when he was "made" as a member of the Gambinos -- the Mafia's way of formally inducting someone into a crime family.
After the secret ceremony, Gotti said his father, the late John "Teflon Don" Gotti who was the family boss at the time, hugged him.
"I was slowly becoming like [my father]. ... I think he was very happy," said Gotti.
The interview comes four months after the Teflon Don's son scored a fourth hung jury that eventually led the feds to drop the case against him
Gotti had spent more than a year behind bars waiting for his last trial, but was sprung on $2 million bond after the jury deadlocked this past Dec. 1 after 11 days of deliberations.
The case against Gotti involved a laundry list of mob crimes that grew even longer after the feds flipped former Gambino associate John Alite. Gotti was also accused of ordering a 1992 attack on radio talker and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa.
The jury didn't entirely buy it.
As for Gotti, he never used the words mob or Mafia during the "60 Minutes" interview when talking about his role as a member of the Gambinos, saying instead that he was "a street guy."
"I was in the streets," he added.
Gotti said his induction was a lifelong dream for him after growing up on the streets of Howard Beach, Queens.
"I'd go to the Bergin Hunt and Fish Club all the time and I would just watch ... they'd be playing cards ... hanging out … breaking balls … and laughing and commiserating," he recalled, "And you're right there and you’re saying, 'This is where I belong.'"
Gotti, who claims he quit the mob in 1999, also said he never got angry when the city's newspapers mocked him.
"Every time [we] were in the tabloids on the first page, the sales would go up about eight percent. ... Who cares? I don't really care. 'Dopey don!' Who cares? Have fun with it."