Michael Yannotti, a Gambino Crime Family Soldier, Was Killed in the Point-Blank Shooting of Curtis Sliwa in 1992
One of the Gotti faction’s mobster turned state’s evidence, testifying against family members – including John “Junior” Gotti who is serving a 20 year prison sentence for shooting Curtis Sliwa point-blank and racketeering charges in 1992.
Yannotti contends that the district court improperly employed a preponderance of evidence standard when calculating his Guidelines range. In particular, he contends that admitting testimony by Andrew DiDonato regarding two intercepted loansharking conversations constituted error on its part.
Early Life and Education
Curtis Sliwa was abducted and shot by two individuals inside a stolen taxi. They believed he had muscled into rival mob families’ territories; Sliwa managed to escape his captors by jumping out the front window.
Corozzo had longstanding connections to the Gambino crime family and was considered their “house counsel.” Yet he refused to step aside due to any potential conflicts of interest in this case.
Yannotti asserts that he was denied adequate representation by Diarmuid White due to his attorney’s limited understanding of law, failing to defend against securities fraud and construction industry extortion conspiracy charges against him. According to Yannotti, had his counsel known the legal requirements surrounding these acts predicated against him then they could have neutralized those charges effectively and removed them altogether from their case against them.
As part of the Gambino Crime Family, Yannotti participated in its affairs – not only loansharking. He also engaged in other illegal activities like cocaine dealing and assaults.
The District Court sentenced Yannotti to 240 months after finding that the jury did not find his involvement in the Sliwa incident beyond reasonable doubt, but that his conduct could still be taken into consideration under Guidelines when sentencing him.
Prosecutors at Yannotti’s racketeering trial charged him with engaging in a mob plot to assassinate Alan Sliwa after he had criticised Junior Gotti and the family’s mafia operations, with Corozzo not providing adequate representation due to his allegiance with Gambino family operations.
Achievement and Honors
Michael Yannotti was an exceptional individual; a loving family man and great friend to many. His death was heartbreaking for those close to him – including his wife, children, nieces and nephews and extended family members who grieve for his departure from this life.
He served in Iraq and Afghanistan with the U.S. Navy.
The district court correctly determined that, given the credibility of government witnesses and evidence presented at trial, and given its sheer volume, evidence established beyond reasonable doubt that Yannotti participated in enterprise affairs through racketeering activities charged in Count One. Therefore, it was appropriate for them to consider this conduct when sentencing him under Guidelines SS 1B1.3.
As part of the case against Yannotti and Marenga’s murders, law enforcement authorities presented testimony from members of Gambino Family and law enforcement officers as well as surveillance photographs from Yannotti’s apartment building, beeper found at Arena/Marenga murder scenes, loansharking records, as well as his confession denying involvement in their killings.
District court denied Yannotti’s Rule 29(c) motion as to Count Two, upholding his conviction of participating in a RICO conspiracy. Yannotti claims that because loansharking was found within its statute of limitations period, reliance was improperly made upon out-of-time acts such as assaulting Curtis Sliwa in 1992 to determine his Guidelines range.
Sliwa testified that Yannotti and Joey DiLeonardo staked out his apartment, watched him leave his front door, then “like jack-in-the-box,” appeared behind him with weapons in hand.
Yannotti contends in his appellate brief that the district court made an error in upholding his conviction for participation in a RICO conspiracy by not accepting evidence sufficient to establish its scope and pattern of racketeering activity. According to him, this allowed for improper treatment of crimes in Count One as separate criminal enterprises rather than one continuous enterprise by treating all predicate acts listed under Count Two- including securities fraud and extortion within the construction industry- as one entity.
He asserts that the district court erred by mistaking his participation in a loansharking conspiracy as sufficient proof of involvement with racketeering activities detailed in Counts Nine and Ten, as well as by failing to grant his Rule 29(c) motion with regards to Count Seven-the loansharking conspiracy.