Mazarano: My father was also a smart man. That’s why he lived to the age of 92. He used to say, Never be the guy in the chair. Be the guy behind the guy in the chair. Because someone’s going to whisper in your ear one day, and the whisper may say, Whack the guy, I give you a piece. [omitted] Paul Castellano was a big man. He got whacked.
Miller: This is the boss of the largest Crime family in the United States, and this is the biggest Mob hit in decades. Somebody who had pulled that off had to make a major, major move. Someone took me aside that night and said, Listen, Remember his name, John Gatti. He didn’t even say it right. He didn’t say, Gotti, he said, John Gatti. And I said, Who the hell is John Gatti?
Narrator: John Gotti, the Dapper Don. $2,000 Brioni suit, big pinky ring. Overnight, with the Murder of Paul Castellano, Gotti moved from capo to boss. He looks likes a boss, he acts like a boss. He’s a throwback to the glory days of Al Capone. And like Capone, the People love him.
Miller: He didn’t just blend onto the scene. He exploded onto the scene. Some of them was about him, a lot of it. And some of them was about us. [omitted] We in the Press have been steeped in the 20-years Mob bosses who were 80 year old men, who strolled around in overcoats and flannel shirts buttoned up to the top, come in the courtroom with lawyers and say, Your honour, my client is old and sickly, and if he spends five minutes in Jail, he’ll keel over dead, and he has nothing to do with this. He’s a legitimate businessman who just grows tomatoes in the backyards. And suddenly, John Gotti bursted on the scene. He looks like Al Copone. He dresses like a gangster in the movie. He talks like the gangster in the movie. There is no ‘My client is old and sick’ stuff. His lawyer says, This case is garbage, we’re going to fight it, and we welcome the day in the Court.
Leonetti: Gotti, he liked the Publicity. He liked it. He thrived on it. But also, it’s La Cosa Nostra. He’s very serious about La Cosa Nostra. He wants to go out as the boss of La Cosa Nostra. He’s like my uncle. They’re old fashioned. They’re like dinosaurs. They want to go out as being members of the boss of La Cosa Nostra. That’s how they want to die. That’s how they want People to remember them by, because that’s how they are.
Miller: We watched this character burst onto scene out of a very dramatic Murder, the bumping off of Paul Castellano. He was too good to be true. We knew right away that the Public would want plenty of this guy, and we started to serve it up as fast as possible. [New York Daily News & New York Post.]
Narrator: Gotti is a master of escape. Three time he beats the Government. He’s called Teflon Don. Nothing sticks to him. But even Gotti’s days are numbered, thanks to a little-known Law called RICO. The Rocketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act. Prosecutors love it. They can put a guy away forever. Facing life in the Joint, even wiseguys begin to cooperate. They tell all. In Mob circle, they call it flipping.
With respect to the charge of Assault in second degree, did you find the defedant, John Gotti, Guilty or Not Guilty?
Beattie: I witnessed a Murder. And the Murder I witnessed, I knew that day forward, my life had ended. And everybody involved in that is either now dead or doing life or in the Witness Protection Program.
Narrator: March 1986. Mickey Featherstone is the first Westie to flip. He gets put into the Witness Protection Program. In return, Featherstone tells all he knows about Jimmy Coonan and his crew. It’s an ugly story.
Beattie: I said, That guy just flipped. I said, That means, for one thing, they’re coming for me. They want to know why, and I sat and told my Family everything. And they all looked at me brokne-heart, because my daughter was involved. I said, Here are my options. I can run away, because I ain’t got the Money to take everybody with me. We can all attempt to get in this beat-up car and try to run. I said, I can stay here and get whacked, which is going to happen. They were attempting to whack the year before that, during that time before Mickey flipped. I can wait for the men comes, and I can take them all down for what they’d done to us, because we were broke, Poverty-stricken at the time. [omitted] It was kind of devastating for them to say, Dad’s going to be a rat. Kind of blown away. But I told them, The monsters that I knew of, I kind of have to do this to take these monsters out.
Leonetti: I tell you, what gave me the strength to call the Government was when my cousin, Mark Scarfo, hung himself. Because after that, I said, Hell with this stuff, I can’t take it anymore. I’m worried about my son, because my son was a best friend with Mark Scarfo. The kid wanted to be a normal kid, but around our Family, you can’t be normal growing up. You have to live the way his father wanted him to live. 17 year old kid, they wanted him to play Sports in School. You’re a jerk. Don’t you play Sports in School. Mark wanted to work for somebody, like delivering bread. No, you ain’t working for nobody at the gravy. He didn’t even want to be a Cosa Nostra member before he grew up. The kid wanted to be a kid first. He didn’t want to get involved in this. He didn’t want this. He wanted to be a normal kid. So one day, he went into the bathroom of my office and hung himself, like out of a clear blue sky like that. Just like that, didn’t show no signs of anything being Wrong. That was it. That’s how he held everything inside, this kid. He went into the bathroom of my office and hung himself. [omitted] I ratted, I guess. The only way to say. I informed. I testified for a Government. I made an Agreement with the Government, to cooperate. If they had helped my Family, they moved my Family and got my son situated. Got him out of that life, and moved him somewhere, so I can get his life back on track.
Montiglio: Once they found out I was in Jail and Gene Greene told me, Word’s out that the Dagos are going to whack you while you’re in here. He said, Do you want us to help. I said, No, this is my shit. I know what I’ve got to do. That’s when I made the phone call.
Art Ruffels: Dominick got arrested. And we made an offer to him that he didn’t refuse. And from that point on, he came our strongest witness.
Montiglio: In trial, they brought everybody. They brought my grandmother, who was 93, in crutches. They brought her to the courtroom. They do anything to rattle you.
Narrator: Nobody’s exposed to the insides of the Gambino Family like Dominick Montiglio. His testimony puts his uncle, Nino, and dozens of his top guys away for ever. Mickey Featherstone and Billy Beattie’s testimonies put an end to the Westies. Jimmy Coonan and his gang gets 75 years in the can with no chance for Parole. Philip Leonetti testifies about ten Mob hits and sends his uncle, Little Nicky Scarfo, to Prison for life. Scarfo’s capos and footsoldiers go down with him. That’s only the beginning. Next to fall? The big boss himself.