Gotti and his prosecutors engage in a courtroom stare-down

March 13, 1992|By New York Daily News

NEW YORK -- A four-person team of federal prosecutors had their own stare-down with John Gotti yesterday after their star witness and birthday boy, Salvatore Gravano, testified that when Gotti barked, Sammy Bull bit.

While Gravano, who turned 47 yesterday, and the jury were out of the courtroom on a break, the prosecutors lined up in a row against the jury-box railing and, with ironic smiles, stared at Gotti.

Gotti, who has engaged his former underboss in similar displays of will, stared right back at John Gleeson and Assistant Prosecutors Laura Ward, Patrick Cotter and James Orenstein.

The contest ended inconclusively when other people milling in the well of the court interrupted the combatants' sightlines.

Earlier, on his fifth day of cross-examination at Gotti's Brooklyn federal trial, Gravano stood by his story that Gotti ordered the killing of an associate because the man failed to keep an appointment.

Trying to suggest that such a motive was too slight for murder, Anthony Cardinale, lawyer for Gotti co-defendant Frank LoCascio, scornfully asked Gravano whether he then told Gotti, "That's OK with me, boss."

"I was a good, loyal soldier," Gravano said matter-of-factly. "John barked and I bit."

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