'Junior' Gotti pleads not guilty in Tampa

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- John A. "Junior" Gotti has pleaded not guilty to federal racketeering charges in Tampa.

The 44-year-old son of the former Gambino family crime boss was arraigned in federal court Thursday afternoon. He faces conspiracy charges that link him to three mob slayings, cocaine distribution and other crimes.

Dressed in a blue jail jumpsuit and shackled at the ankles, Gotti appeared with his attorneys but didn't speak during the five-minute hearing.

Prosecutors say Gotti was a chief in an arm of the Gambino crime family that operated in Florida and other states going back to 1983.

Gotti denies the charges and has said he has long been retired from organized crime. His attorneys said they plan to ask that the trial be moved to New York.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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