Defense hits credibility of Gravano's testimony Attire of killers questioned by Gotti lawyer.

March 10, 1992|By New York Times

NEW YORK -- A defense lawyer scornfully attacked the credibility of Salvatore Gravano yesterday, challenging his testimony that four gunmen all wore white raincoats and Russian fur hats when they killed Paul Castellano.

But Gravano, a Mafia turncoat testifying as the prosecution's main witness against John Gotti, stuck to his story.

He recalled planning the murder of Castellano, whom he depicted as the boss of the Gambino crime family, and said he and Gotti met with the team of gunmen in a park shortly before the slaying on Dec. 16, 1985.

As someone who had already participated in eight murders before the Castellano slaying, the lawyer asked, did Gravano think that "maybe it's not the smartest idea in the world" to commit murder on a busy midtown street while wearing unusual clothing?

"I thought just the opposite," Gravano retorted. "I thought it was pretty smart if they all looked alike. It would be very, very hard to I.D. them when everybody had the same exact hat and the same exact jacket, and the confusion of something like that happening -- I thought it was actually smart."

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