Reputed mob boss John Gotti has been jailed in relative isolation since Dec. 11 in a tiny, dark cell under conditions both unconstitutional and inhuman, his attorneys argued Wednesday.
But Gotti, accused of heading America's most powerful underworld crime family and ordering four mob murders, will remain under "administrative detention" at the Metropolitan Correctional Center until a federal judge decides whether to either release him, change jail conditions, or hold a hearing on the matter.Meanwhile, U.S. District Court Judge I. Leo Glasser, in Brooklyn, lashed out at leaks to the media of supposedly sealed material in the much-publicized case, admonishing U.S. Attorney Andrew Maloney: "Whatever the source of the leak may be, I want it plugged."
During a 90-minute hearing in the Brooklyn federal courthouse, where Gotti and co-defendants Frank Locascio and Salvatore Gravano were not present, attorneys said prison officials had failed to give an adequate reason for keeping the reputed mobsters segregated from other inmates in a ninth-floor block.
Jailmates refer to the administrative detention block as "Roach Motel."
In addition, Gerald Shargel, who represents Gravano, told Glasser the three were being deprived "of basic human rights." Shargel asked Glasser to hold a hearing so he could prove his case that the conditions amount to "punitive" detention.
The government argued that Gotti and his associates are being treated no differently than any other inmate accused of such crimes.