Monday, October 25, 2004

NEW YORK (AP) — Lawyers for John A. “Junior” Gotti want talk-radio host Curtis Sliwa to stop trashing him.

Mr. Sliwa, who founded the Guardian Angels crime-fighting group, once was the target of a failed hit that prosecutors say was arranged by the son of late mob boss John Gotti. Last week, defense attorneys told a federal judge that Mr. Sliwa’s on-air comments against their client could poison a jury in his racketeering case.

Each day, Mr. Sliwa “denigrates Mr. Gotti,” attorney Jeffrey Lichtman said at a pretrial hearing in Manhattan on Wednesday. “He discusses the facts of the case in a highly inflammatory way.”

U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin said she would wait for a formal motion before ruling on a gag order against Mr. Sliwa, a witness in the case.

“That’s a new approach,” Mr. Sliwa said of Mr. Lichtman’s claim. “Previously, they tried to kill me.”

Prosecutors say Mr. Gotti, 40, and two soldiers with the Gambino organized-crime family conspired to kill Mr. Sliwa as payback for his criticizing the elder Gotti on the radio. Mr. Sliwa survived the June 19, 1992, ambush in Manhattan.

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