- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 5, 2002

NEW YORK (AP) Seventeen suspected members and associates of the Gambino crime family, including John Gotti's brother, were arrested on racketeering and other charges, authorities announced yesterday.

Prosecutors said at a Brooklyn news conference that convictions in the case would deal a crushing blow to the mob infiltration of unions and businesses along New York City's waterfront.

"When it comes to the waterfront, the greedy grip of organized crime knows no bounds," said Alan Vinegrad, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, whose office will prosecute the case.

The 68-count federal indictment includes charges of extortion, money laundering and witness tampering. Among the defendants is Peter Gotti, a brother of imprisoned "Teflon Don" John Gotti. Peter Gotti has reportedly been the acting head of the Gambino family since the jailings of his nephew, John A. "Junior" Gotti, and other Gambino leaders.

Among the crimes was an attempt to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars "from an individual in the film industry," according to a letter filed by prosecutors in Brooklyn federal court.

Defendant Julius Nasso, identified as a Gambino family associate, and others demanded $150,000 for every film the victim made, the letter said.

The film industry figure was not identified.

Mr. Nasso is a former business partner of action film star Steven Seagal. He sued the action movie star earlier this year for $60 million, accusing him of backing out of a contract to perform in four motion pictures.

Mr. Seagal's publicist referred calls to the actor's attorney, Martin Polner, who declined to comment.

Mr. Gotti, Mr. Nasso and the other defendants were awaiting arraignment. Their defense attorneys were not immediately available for comment.

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