Truth and Lies: The Last Gangster (2022) - full transcript

SAMMY: One by one,
they called us down the basement.

Paul asked me, "Do you know that
we're a brotherhood?

A secret society?"

He says, "If we ask you to kill for
us, would you?"

I said, "Yes."

If you listen to the oath, there's
honor, there's integrity, there's loyalty.

But unfortunately, none
of it is true.

KAREN: I never seen the Sammy the
Bull that the world knows.

To me, he was my father.

SAMMY: Why would I talk about
what I do with a kid?

-(gun cocks)
-(gunshot rings)

I'm doing murders.

What am I going to do,
come home, sit down, and say,

"Hey, you know who
I killed today?"

Break an arm here,
break a leg there.

Hey, you were a tough guy.

TERENCE: They get to rationalize a
lot of really bad behavior.

They're doing this as
part of their job.

JOHN M.:To steal money through fear
and intimidation.

KAREN: Each and every person
that chose that world

knew what they were
getting into.

Some women closed their
eyes to things.

LINDA: For a lot of people, being
wealthy and having whatever you want

is worth whatever it is
that you don't want to know.

There was some dos and don'ts.

Don't kill anybody without
permission. Don't rat. That's the big one.

Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk.

SAMMY: I lived a double life.

I live a family life,
and I'm a gangster.

Once you go in, it's
all in or nothing.

SAMMY: We shook the mafia.

We shook the state of New York.

We shook the whole world.


DETECTIVE: About 5:30 this evening,
right at this location,

46th Street east of 3rd Avenue,

two people were shot
numerous times.

The only thing we can ascertain
at this time

was that it was three males
wearing trench coats.

Tentative identification is that
it's Paul Castellano and Tom Bilotti.

Castellano was, until
two hours ago,

the head of the largest
organized crime family

in the United States of America.

He's gone now.

DETECTIVE: There is a prevailing
wisdom that says

professional hitmen
don't get caught.

That's simply not true.

SAMMY: I lowered the window,
and I looked at Tommy.

He was laying in the street
in a huge puddle of blood.

I couldn't see Paul.

I told him Tommy was gone,
and we took off.

This is what the mob does.
This is what we do.

This is how we live.

This is the true side
of the mafia.

This isn't somebody talking
about the mafia.

I am part of it.

DIANE: Did you say, "What
have I become?

With that blood on my
hands, what am I?"

I'm a gangster.

I mean, as far as being a hitman,
I actually was good at it.

I got the job done.
I shot him in the head. Twice.

And uh... this is
part of the life.

I knew my father was a gangster.

I knew my father was involved
in Paul Castellano's murder.

NARRATOR: (from "Wiseguy") "Murder was
the only way everybody stayed in line.

It was the ultimate weapon.

Nobody was immune.

You got out of line,
you got whacked.

Everybody knew the rules,
but still, people got out of line,

and people still kept
getting whacked."

SAMMY: New York in the '70s
and '80s was like the wild west.

Bodies all over the place.
It was insane.

The city was completely out of
control. Anarchy prevailed.

MICHAEL: The mob was going through
a very violent period.

It was a dangerous time
in the mob's world.

Sammy the Bull is a
serial murderer.

He's a psychopath
and a sociopath

who killed as many people
as Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy combined.

He's not a serial killer.
He's not Jeffrey Dahmer.

That's not what he is.
He was a gangster.

ED: Sammy the Bull was a street thug
who grew up in Bensonhurst.

He gravitated towards the world
of organized crime as a young boy.

-DIANE: Italian neighborhood?
-SAMMY: Yeah.

DIANE: And your father had come over from


-DIANE: Outside Palermo.
-SAMMY: Right.

DIANE: Old school dad?

SAMMY: Old school, old thinking.

Totally legitimate.

What would your father have
said if he had known

that you were underboss
of the Gambino family?

I guess it would have
broke his heart.

Just like it would break my heart
if my son, or if my nephew,

or somebody went into the mob,
because I know their destiny.

In our neighborhoods,
you were a fireman, a cop, or a gangster.

I mean, that's how it went.

When we walked down the block,
it was almost like that movie Goodfellas.

There was all guys out there
with suits or sport jackets,

and hanging out,
and shooting dice in the street.

It was a very protected

and I think a big part of that
is the mob culture,

because they kind of
protect their own.

Everybody knew
everybody's business, but yet,

looked the other way
when they had to.

Nobody knows nothing.

We got window shades on our eyes,
cotton balls in our ears,

a zipper on our mouth.

So they were growing up in a
neighborhood that's basically a campus

for future gangsters.

KAREN: My father could have been
anything, but he chose the street life.

Because that's what he's seen,
that was what was in his community,

that's what was looked up to.

You had no other choice.

You either got tough,
or you fell to the wayside.

And that was it.

Growing up in the streets,
you know,

there were guys,
they were fighting all the time.

It's the neighborhood.
It's how you grow up.

It was just the allure of being,
you know, being bad.

DIANE: And who were you?

How did you introduce yourself,
by the way?

Was it Sammy the Bull?

Not Sammy the Bull.

Sammy the Bull was a nickname
that's made up by other people.

It started when I was
a kid, actually.

A few kids robbed my bike.

And I start fighting like crazy
to get it back.

And across the street there
was our local mob,

mafia hangout, they broke it up.

And one of the guys, he said,

"What are you crying about?
You won the fight."

He says, "Look at him,
he's like a little bull.

Sammy the Bull."

And it stuck all my life.

They would give you a nickname
at an early age,

and now, you felt it was incumbent
upon you to earn that nickname.

Instead of realizing,
that is nonsense.

NARRATOR: (from "Wiseguy")
"The men at the cabstand were not like

anybody else from
the neighborhood.

They wore silk suits
in the morning.

They flashed wads of $20 bills
as round as softballs.

And they sported diamond pinky rings
the size of walnuts.

The sight of all that wealth, and
power, and girth was intoxicating."

The people that get recruited
are typically young men.

They like the cars. They like the
girls. They like the money.

KAREN: You know, I mean, I probably
grew up seeing everybody in my life

having at least, you know,
$5,000, $6,000 cash on them.

That was, like,
the thing back in the day, right?

DIANE: What was their presence
in the neighborhood?

Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, was saturated
with the mafia.

Every club, every bar,
every place you went.

Probably every family
had a social club.

The Genoveses had a social club,
the Colombos, everybody had a social club.

So my father, he started taking me
to all these social clubs

to introduce me to them,
to tell them,

"This is my son, so, if you see him,
look out for him," and all that.

And I was about 13.

The March of the
Wooden Soldiers,

the March of the future gavones
who want to be made men,

and will do anything.
"Oh, we'll break into cars.

We'll boost products."

And they started out by just
being errand boys.

"Hey, give me a cup
of coffee, kid.

Get me the Daily News."

And then, all of a sudden,
he'd spot him with a five,

an Abraham Lincoln,
"Hey, you want the change?"

"Nah, kid, you did a good job."

But they'd start greasing 'em.
It's all about money.

It's all about money.

TOMMY: Back then,
gangs were big.

You know, all ethnicities
had gangs.

Neighborhoods had gangs.

Sammy was in a group
called the Rampers.

I was doing loan sharking,
stealing cars, doing burglaries.

Break an arm here,
break a leg there.

He had all the attributes
of being a gangster.

KAREN: Did he have options
not to join the mob?


But once you go in,
it's all in or nothing.

And when I did finally go
into the mob, it was for money.

It was for greed. It was for women.
It was for fast cars.

It was being part of a society,
part of a brotherhood.

He believed in it so deeply,
you know, with everything inside of him.

He became loyal to Cosa Nostra,
and that was his life.

And that's who he was,
that's what he became.

He worked his way up.

He was a-- He became a made member
of the Gambino crime family.

DIANE: 1970.

You're what, 24, 25 years old?


They tell you to kill someone.
Did you think of saying no?

No. Not at all.

Yeah, but this is murder.

SAMMY: It's going to be murder.

I mean, everybody in this life,
at one point or another,

does work, murders.

This is part of the life.

NARRATOR: (from "Wiseguy") "Life was lived
without a safety net.

They wanted money.
They wanted power.

And they were willing to do anything
necessary to achieve their ends.

By birth, certainly, they were not
prepared in any way

to achieve their desires.

They were not the smartest kids
in the neighborhood.

They weren't even the toughest.

In fact, they lacked almost all
the necessary talents

that may have helped them satisfy
the appetites of their dreams.

Except one: their talent
for violence."

My name is Anthony
Ruggiano, Junior.

I'm the son of Anthony "Fat Anthony"

who became a made member
of the American mafia in 1953.

In the mob they call
murder, work.

My father used to tell me
he did a piece of work.

I knew he'd committed
a homicide.

So work was the key word.

Work just meant murder.

That's my father, Fat Anthony,
with a drink in his hand.

He always had a drink
in his hand.

My father would give you the shirt
off his back,

and then hit you on the head with an axe,
and go home and eat dinner.

DIANE: 1970. You're
24, 25 years old.


DIANE: They tell you to kill someone.
Did you think of saying no?


I knew sooner or later
that question would come.

Joe Colucci was a friend
of my father's.

He was also my father's
first murder.

DIANE: What did you
do in this case?

SAMMY: We were all out
drinking together.

And on the way home,

(sighs) I got in the
back of the car.

I shot him in the head.


It sounded like a cannon
that went off.

I felt a feeling of everything going
into like a slow motion.

And I hit him again.

And then, his body shook,
and he slumped down a little bit.

It was like there was nothing
outside this car.

There was no people. There was no road.
Nothing but me and him.

I took him to Far Rockaway,
where we threw his body out of the car,

and I shot him three more times
in the back.

I remember something that surprised me
that I had no remorse at all.

It is horrible, and it is hideous,
and there is hurt,

and there is pain,
because I feel it.

But these men were gangsters.

And each and every person
that chose that world

knew what they were
getting into.

SAMMY: After that murder,
they congratulated me on a job well done.

And then, at that point,
I guess, my life changed.

I would go to the same club,
and got on line, and before you know it,

the bouncers, the
owners came out,

"Sammy, no, no,
you don't have to wait on line.

You just come right in."

And everything started
to change.

KAREN: I could see that my father
was very powerful,

because the way people respected him,
the handshake, the kiss on the cheek.

Everybody knew who Sammy was.

You got to the front of the line.
Even in Manhattan, Studio 54.

CURTIS: It was the disco era,
the silver ball, all of that.

You got to the club, naturally,
you drink,

you do a few lines of cocaine
in the bathroom,

and now you're feeling
like a million bucks.

ANTHONY: I used to
go to the Copa.

Just like in Goodfellas,
in the movie.

I used to go in through the basement,
up through the kitchen.

What do you do?

-What do you do?

I'm in construction.

ANTHONY: And they panned the people
in the Bamboo Lounge.

HENRY HILL (In Goodfellas): And then there
was Mo Black's brother, Fat Andy.

How you doin'?

And they were naming the names.

And then they said Fat Andy,
and all my friends at the same time said,

"That's your father?"
And I said, "Oh! (bleep)"

That was like my life.
That was like my life, that movie.

You know, sitting in the front,
and how everything was given to us,

and the whole lifestyle.

Goodfellas was more real life,

especially talking about the effect
that cocaine had.

White powder.

ANTHONY: Everybody
was doing coke.

The money's pouring in,
and you're hanging out with these people.

David Bowie.

My uncle Junior starts telling
David Bowie dirty jokes.

He's hysterical laughing.

I'm there until 4:00 in the morning
with them.

And that was my life.

And, you know, you just think
it's never going to end.

The mafia, which was
originally called mafioso,

was started in the Middle Ages
as a secret society in Sicily.

And it was to combat the
foreign invaders.

ANGEL: The Sicilian Mafia,
they believed that

this is how you had to
live Cosa Nostra.

Cosa Nostra is this
thing of ours.

The way it was explained to me,
was in Italy,

communities protected their own.

So it was like, this
is ours. We protect.

When we take that oath,
we are told straight out,

Cosa Nostra comes before anything
in your life, anything.

They tell you, if your son is dying
in bed with cancer,

and he's only got an hour left to live,
if we call for you,

you come immediately
and leave his side.

You don't go with
anybody's wife.

Don't rat. That's the big one.

Don't cooperate with
the government.

There's also no drug dealing.

Because it held a stiff sentence

it could possibly put you
in a position to cooperate.

Many of them consider what they do
almost military in nature.

They consider themselves

So they believe when your boss
tells you you have to kill somebody,

they feel they're doing
the right thing.

That being the case,
they get to rationalize

a lot of really bad behavior.

You wouldn't think of calling a soldier
in war a murderer,

so therefore, if they're a soldier,
and they're at war,

they're not murderers, either.

They're doing this as
part of their job.

My father said, "When I took my oath
to Cosa Nostra, I gave up everything."

SAMMY: At the ceremony,
it was 14 guys.

And one by one,
they called us down the basement.

Dim lights. Real smoky.

And when I walked down,
there was Paul Castellano.

And Paul asked me, "Do you know that we're
a brotherhood?

A secret society?"

He says, "Would you want to
belong to this?"

I said yes.

He says, "If we ask you to kill
for us, would you?"

I said yes.

And he asked me, "What finger
would you pull the trigger?"

And I pointed to
my index finger.

There was a picture of a saint
on the table.

They pricked my finger
to get blood out of it.

Put the blood on the saint.

They put it in my hand,
and then they lit it.

And just said,
"If you betray this brotherhood,

may your soul burn
like this saint."

I really believed in it,
with my heart and soul.

And if you listen to the oath,
there's honor, there's respect,

there's integrity,
there's loyalty.

There's a brotherhood,
there's a secret society.


And these are words that
I wanted to hear.

And that I was totally loyal to.

But unfortunately, none
of it is true.

DETECTIVE: Paul Castellano was,
until two hours ago,

the head of the largest organized
crime family

in the United States of America.

LINDA: New York in the '80s and '90s
was a very, very interesting place.

Because, you know, New York was full
of great New York characters then.

People that would make the headlines
day after day.

I didn't think that somebody
like Trump would turn out

to be the president of
the United States,

nor did I think that John Gotti would rise
to become such a prominent celebrity.

But they did, because New York
loves a character.

My father was one of 13 children
from the Bronx.

They moved to east New York,
Brooklyn, where he set up his roots.

Dirt poor.

My father and his siblings
always had to fight their way

to get anything in life.

They had nothing and he strived
for great things.

He strived to be something more.

John, you either loved
him or hated him.

He was that kind of
a lightning rod.

The thing I find most interesting
about John Gotti as a character

is that he is a pure gangster.

He strikes me as the type of guy

that there is nothing else he
ever wanted to be.

When he decided to become a gangster,
he went all the way.

It's almost as if, like, a kid
wants to grow up to be president.

REPORTER: Of course, there were fireworks
in Ozone Park tonight.

Lots of them.
In the air and on the ground.

TERENCE: In Ozone Park,
you know, which was in Queens

or right over the Brooklyn/Queens border
where John Gotti lived, he was a hero.

CURTIS: On top of the roofs,
they had crates of firecrackers,

cherry bombs, M-80s.

And they put on a celebration
that almost equaled Macy's.

And everybody's, "Oh,
what a great guy."

REPORTER: Your "Thanks, John" hat on.
"Thanks, John," who?

-Gotti. Who else?
-REPORTER: For what?

For having this big party.

REPORTER: Yeah? Do you know anything
about John Gotti?

No. If I did, I wouldn't
say anyway.

I think he developed this rep
as a Robin Hood,

and a glamorous Robin Hood.

He wasn't living in the forest.

He was wearing, you know, $1,000 suits
and getting his hair blown out every day.

And the media fed the beast.

He was a stone-cold killer.

And he attracted men who
themselves had a lust for blood.

This guy would have you whacked
because you showed up late

for a meeting at the Bergin Hunt,
Fish, and Shoot Human Beings Club.

DIANE: Do you remember the first time
you met John Gotti?

SAMMY: I was in an after-hour
club which had gambling and stuff.

He seemed smart. He seemed nervy.
He was a tough guy in the street.

Yeah. He impressed
me a little bit.

He knew how to take a punch.
He knew how to give a punch.

He wasn't afraid of the cops.
He wasn't afraid of anybody.

GEORGE: He was a mobster's

There was no other career that
John Gotti was going to pursue,

and the same could
be said for Sammy.

I think that they were both
very dangerous men.

I think they were both
very tough men.

GEORGE: Sammy's got a strong reputation,
known to be reliable,

to get things done.

He was a professional killer,
and he caught the eye of John Gotti

right around the same time Gotti
was rising up

and assassinated
Paul Castellano,

who had been the boss
of the Gambino family.

SAMMY: Paul Castellano
wasn't a gangster.

He was a racketeer.
Brilliant man.

He used to sit in that house
in Staten Island

-reading The WSJ and The Times.
-DIANE: Big house.

ANTHONY: You know, John Gotti, Sammy,
they were street guys.

So they were a different breed than him.
He wasn't a gangster.

JOHN M.: Gotti didn't like the way the
family was being run by Castellano.

And he also thought, if
you kill the boss,

you could take over the family,
and then, you could be the boss.

LARRY: When Paul got hit,
it was such a shock

to people that are in
the inner circle.


A boss was just gunned down
in the middle of the street.

I think the Castellano hit,
for me, was the first time I realized

how dangerous my father's life was
outside the home.

GEORGE: There's an organization
within the mob that manages all

of the mob families
in the country.

And it was known as
"The Commission."

And the five bosses

of the New York families sit
on The Commission.

So you'd need the approval
of all five, you know, bosses,

would have to agree
on something like that.

So they say, "We go
to The Commission."

They all sit down.
They take a vote.

And then, even if they say no to me,
I put my tail between my legs,

and I accept it because
it's the dons.

Such nonsense.

Gotti sent his right-hand
man, Angelo.

He says, "Sammy", he says,
"We're going to take out Paul."

We sent word to John that we were
not only going to permit it to happen,

but we were going to join it.
We were taking Paul down.

ANTHONY: So John Gotti,
he didn't have permission to do that,

but he did it anyway, because he knew,
the bottom line was nobody liked Paul.

TOMMY: So they form a crew together that's
going to set up the meeting at Sparks.

SAMMY: The next day when we met,
they were told, "Don't back off.

Don't run, even if there's cops.
Kill them.

And if you-- if it means you
have to die there,

then die there with them.
Do not back off of this hit."

There were four shooters that
actually pulled the trigger.

There were three more backup shooters
out on the street.

I got this little map in front of me
of Sparks Steak House and the hit.

I planned this hit, now I'm going to
tell you how it came down.

Outside of Sparks Steak House,
there's two shooters.

They're ready. There's a shooter here.
Shooter here.

A shooter here. A shooter here.

The hit guys were all dressed
in, like, a white, short trench coat

and black Russian hats.

TOMMY: It was December
16th, 1985.

LINDA: That's when everything
changed. In 1985.

SAMMY: Me and John Gotti
are parked in the car right here

waiting for them to show up.

This car pulls up
right next to me.

It was a Lincoln.

And... I turned around
to my right.

The dome light was on, the tinted windows,
and Paul was in there.

I leaned down in my chair,
and I told John,

I said, "John, they're
right next to us."

I pulled out the-- my gun,
and I told John,

"If he turns in our direction,
I'm going to start shooting,

right here and now."

They never turned. The light changed.
They pulled in front of Sparks.

They parked the car.
As soon as Paul opened up the door--

These two shooters
take out Paul Castellano.

Tommy Bilotti gets
out of the car.

These two shooters
converge on him.

We pulled next to them.
I put the window down slightly.

I looked at Tommy-- he was
stretched out in a huge puddle of blood.

I told John, "He's gone."

And even before we got back to my office,
it was on the news.

After the shooting,
the three gunmen ran that way

towards second avenue
and a waiting car.

Police say that Paul Castellano, the
reputed head of the Gambino crime family,

and another man were
shot and killed.

TOMMY: John Gotti committed
the cardinal sin.

He killed the boss
without a Commission ruling.

That's like an earthquake
in the world of the mob.

Who did it? Why? Who
authorized it?

Was it not authorized?
And then, who will pay for it?

My mind was going over what happened,
what was about to come.

We knew when we did this,
we were at war.

We shook the mafia.
We shook the state of New York.

We shook the whole world.

REPORTER: They said it was
for family only.

The wake tonight for
big Paul Castellano.

REPORTER 2: Gotti allegedly wanted
to show his respects by coming here,

but instead, preferred to stay away,
because of all the undercover cops

in the area who would like to talk to him
about the murder of Paul Castellano.

TOMMY: Before the killing
of Paul Castellano in 1985, I mean,

no one in New York City
knew who John Gotti was.

ANTHONY: John Gotti takes the throne
when they kill Paul Castellano.

TOMMY: Eight days later,
on Christmas Eve,

more than 200 wise guys
or would-be wise guys,

showed up to pay homage to John Gotti
at the Ravenite Social Club.

And that was the end
of Paul Castellano

and the beginning of John Gotti's reign
as boss of the Gambino crime family.

John Gotti was the poster child
for organized crime.

He put his face out there.

He drew people into a world
that you only seen in movies.

It was as if you called
central casting

and said, "Send me a mob boss.
I want the modern version of Capone."

He was flashy, and he was always
well-groomed, and he like, sported around.

And it was like everything that
we learned in The Godfather

that a mafia guy would never do.

I want reliable people,

people that aren't going to
be carried away.

My father was probably the most
charismatic, intelligent,

handsome tough guy that
you'll ever come across in your life.

KAREN: You see him on TV,
and he just has this swagger about him.

He almost commanded respect.

JOHN JR: He was, he
was over the top.

LINDA: And he was taking full
advantage of his celebrity.

MICHAEL: He was dapper.
He looked the part.

I mean, if you wanted to hold
the mob up and say,

"Hey, this is what we look like,"
you'd hold up John Gotti.

I think his problem was that
he fell in love with himself.

He saw himself on television,
in the newspapers,

and he lost touch with what he was,
that he's a gangster, not an actor.

At one point I know back
in New York City,

John Gotti was posing for pictures
with tourists.

He said, "This is my
public. My public."

From my teaching and my understanding
of Cosa Nostra, it's a secret society.

We have no public.

DIANE: What about his life,
the way he lived?

SAMMY: He used to leave his house
about 11:00, 12:00 in the afternoon.

REPORTER: Good morning,
Mr. Gotti.

SAMMY: He had somebody picking
out his shirt and his tie and his shoes.

He used to have a barber come
every single day

and give him a haircut.

You guys and Giuliani
should be in church.

SAMMY: ...and cut the hairs
in his nose.

It was a performance for the media,
or people who were going to see him.

GEORGE: So John Gotti was a guy,
when he was done with his business,

he'd go out gallivanting
all night long

into the early hours
of every night during the week.

Sammy Gravano's going back home
to his family.

The personalities
were a little bit different.

John's first care was the Gambino family,
not the John Gotti personal family.

Sammy kind of split it.

He was very, very loyal
to the Gambino family,

but his personal family
was equally important to him.

SAMMY: This is me and my wife.

And here's a picture of me, my wife,
and my son on our farm.

This farm was gorgeous.

This was something that I literally
got away from the mob

and went to this farm
and chilled out with my family.

It was like really living, uh...
two lives.

About a year or after we
were married, we had my daughter, Karen.

A couple of years after that,
we had my son, Gerard.

I knew my father was respected,
and a lot of people looked up to him

but he never came home and spoke about
what he used to do on the streets.

Growing up, all my memories
were great.

I had a great life.

You know, I grew up very
family oriented.

There was parties.
There was a lot of family around me.

GERARD: Growing up, I feel like he was
home most of the times,

5:00, 6:00 for dinner.

We'd all sit down. Dinner would be ready.
My mother was there. My sister was there.

It was really just a
normal life for me.

KAREN: I'd never seen
the Sammy the Bull that the world knows.

I'd never seen the dangerous side or,
you know, him being so powerful.

To me, he was my father.

I think I'm two people sometimes.
I live a family life, and I'm a gangster.

KAREN: I know my mother's

She wanted the white picket fence,
and the house,

and the backyard
with the dogs running around.

But she loved her husband.

And she loved him
for the way he loved us, her kids.

ANGEL: The wives took care of the
family. Okay?

They took care of everything
and anything to do with the home.

Most men were married,
had a wife, family,

and then they also had the
girlfriend, the goumada.

I was a girlfriend.

I had said once, "Where families
are involved, you have to become a liar.

You have to."

ANGEL: They were off doing all this
illegal stuff,

and the wife just thought, you know,
he was just off doing his thing.

KAREN: I think-- I would be a liar
if I said she didn't know.

She just knew not to ask questions,
because his life was so,

you know, separate outside.

He never dumped his lifestyle on us,
so she was able to look away.

Some women close their
eyes to things.

They don't want to hear it.
They don't want to know.

I think a lot of it was,
"Oh, look at this beautiful ring I got.

Oh, I'm getting a fur coat."

And for a lot of people, being wealthy
and having whatever you want

is worth whatever it is
that you don't want to know.

I didn't even realize my father was
in the mafia until probably 1990.

As far as I was concerned,

my father was in
the construction business.

Why would I talk about
what I do with a kid?

I'm doing murders.

What am I going to do, come home,
sit down at the table,

"Hey, you know who I killed today?
Joe Blow. You won't see him no more."

(laughs) I mean, I can't
do that. Right?

As my father rose in the mob,
you know, he wanted to try out,

I guess, bigger and
better things.

And he wanted to move to Todt Hill.
He found a beautiful home.

I hated Todt Hill. I
hated living there.

We grew up in Bulls Head,
in Staten Island.

KAREN: Todt Hill was very different
than Bulls Head,

and one of the kids told my brother that
we weren't allowed to come in the house

because of who my father was.

They didn't want my kids playing with
their kids because I was a gangster.

I walked right down the block
to the house, and I rang the bell.

And I said, "Is your husband home?"
"Who are you?"

"I'm Sammy the Bull.

I'm the guy that your (bleep)
kids are not allowed to play with."

A guy came to the door.
"I never said that. I never did that."

"Bro, are you a good
dad to your kids?"

"Yeah, yeah."
"What if they didn't have a dad?

You think this is going to end
good for you?"

He was, I think, petrified.

And it woke me up because I
said, "What the (bleep) are you doing?"

They're legitimate people.

This guy is (bleep)
in his pants right now.

And I left.

KAREN: My father halted construction
on the house.

He sold it and we moved right back
to Bulls Head.

He wanted us to be around people
that we're used to,

that we're you know, we're like them.

Even though I had a lot of friends there,
we were still different in their eyes.

My father was a gangster.

There is a lot of collateral

You have to live it, and see it,

and maybe take the step
to talk about it.

There's a message.
There's a message.

I forget how big of a deal
John Gotti is to people.

My relationship with him was,
like, you know, he was the boss.

I knew him when he was
just a young guy.

Before you were born,
I would take your brother

to the Bergin Hunt and Fish Club,
and he would jump on John,

and pull his tie and everything.

And John used to laugh and,
you know, because you knew him.

So, you know, people ask me,
"Oh, he was a killer, and he was this,

and he was that."
Yeah, they were all that.

But you know what? They loved me.
And I loved them.

ED: The press was totally fascinated
by Gotti after he took over the family.

So many times, you'd see Gotti
walking down Mulberry Street

to the Ravenite Club,
which was their headquarters.

And Sammy the Bull would be,
invariably, with him.

And John Gotti was so enamored
of Sammy the Bull

that he made him his underboss.

Me and John ran the family.

It was me and him against
the world.

So you would go to shake Sammy's hand,
and he would go like this.

And he wouldn't.

Because you had to shake John's hand first
because John was the boss.

You could tell by the body language
that they were very close.

They spoke with their heads
close together.

They whispered to each other.

John Gotti trusted
him implicitly.

John had Sammy to make sure

that what John wanted done
in the family got done.

He would deal with the other families,
and manage or negotiate disputes.

He would oversee the hits
that had to be ordered.

Within the Gambino crime family,
Sammy was looked at as smart

because he had companies,
and legitimate businesses,

and he made money.

ANTHONY: Sammy had all the construction,
state contracts, city contracts.

I mean, they were making money on a scale
like millions upon millions of dollars.

SAMMY: I literally marvel at the
sight of Manhattan when I see it,

because I controlled it.
I literally controlled Manhattan.

When I see it at night, those lights,
and everything about it,

I think of Donald Trump,
and everybody else who couldn't

build a building if I didn't
want them to build it.

That got me off.

Plus I made a lot
of money with it.

I think the most fascinating thing
about Sammy the Bull, to me,

is that if he had not become a gangster,
I think he would have been

an incredibly successful

He could spot something
that was making money.

He could spot the vulnerability
where the threat of force,

and the hand of the mob could reach
in there and exploit that.

He had a pretty good way
of instilling fear in people.

He has 19 murders chalked up
to his record.

How far did your tentacles reach
in the businesses?

Everything. Everything.
You name it, we did it.

The garment industry,
what you pay for your clothes,

there's a tack on for us.

An extra dollar on a window,
gas a penny a gallon.

I remember hearing $4 put on
for every pair of jeans.

MICHAEL: Garbage,
we controlled it.

Restaurants, bartenders, and
waitresses, we controlled it.

The unions, the teamsters.

Transportation, trucking industry.
The waterfront.

KAREN: Whatever it was in buildings
that were being built

in New York City
and the surrounding areas,

the mob had some sort
of involvement.

And my father was the go-to guy.

How much money
was the Gambino family taking in?

I couldn't even imagine it.

I was making a couple
of million a year.

I had a house on Staten Island
worth about a half a mil.

I had a 30-acre horse
farm in New Jersey.

I had a little 560SEL Mercedes.
So I was living pretty decent.

Were there signs?

Yeah, my father would come home,
like, I would help him count the cash.

Like, he had wads of cash.

He would empty them out on the
kitchen table, and I would help him.

That would be like my job.

SAMMY: John was making, uh...

I would say anywhere between $5
and $20 million a year.

We raped the community
on a constant basis

in every way, shape, or form.

What did you say to yourselves?
When you're doing this to other people?

What do we say to ourselves
while we're at the table

cutting up the money?

We didn't say too much.
We'd just cut up the money.

It was-- it was for greed.

There's no honor in a lot of things
that we do.

NARRATOR: (from "Wiseguy") "Violence was
natural to them. It fueled them.

The common knowledge that they
would unquestionably take a life

ironically gave them life.

If they were crossed, denied,
offended, thwarted in any way,

or even mildly annoyed,
retribution was demanded.

And violence was their answer."

We killed amongst ourselves in--
according to our rules.

I never killed a legitimate

I never woke up one morning saying,
"I'd like to go kill somebody."

It was for what you did.

And most of the times, you did something
that you deserve to die for.

So I don't have no mercy
for you, really.

CURTIS: Most times they end up
shooting their own

because who are you hanging out with
most of the time?

You're in the social club
with your own guys.

You hear all the gossip.

This guy did this,
this guy didn't--

Then all of a sudden you want to
go out and settle all scores.

You think, hey, you're
a tough guy.

Very often in the mob,
murder is very personal.

It's people you know.

I mean, they always say,
the guy who will get you

is your best friend, because that's the
person who can make you

comfortable enough to show up
at that meeting where you'll get killed.

So, Louis Milito was actually
Gravano's best childhood friend.

KAREN: Not only someone that I
considered my father's friend,

but he was an uncle to me.

I was around him a lot as a
child growing up.

His family-- he was Cosa Nostra,
like my father.

DEENA: I said, "Uncle Sammy,
I haven't talked to my father in two days,

and he didn't go to work.
Is something wrong?"

He said, "Oh, princess, he's fine.
He's fine."

I said, "I don't know where he is,
and it's just strange."

And her mother said,
when Sammy walked out,

"He killed your father."
Her mother knew.

DIANE: And you felt nothing
then either?

Oh, I absolutely felt something.
Tore me up.

I knew the wife. I knew the children.
It killed me inside.

DEENA: My father was
a wonderful man.

Just the way he used to hold me,
and the way we'd laugh together.

Just his smile.

There was nothing I could do
to stop the hit.

It was done quick.
It was over, and it killed me.

You cannot possibly expect
me to believe

that killing my father was one of
the hardest things he had to do.

I don't buy it for a day.

But this is the life.

He betrayed us, and he was caught at
it, and he was killed.

DEENA: My father's remains
have never been found.

DIANE: You are the single most important
witness ever to testify against the mob.

I think I am.

This guy was a greedy,
green-eyed little monster.

John is a double crosser.
I'm a master double crosser.

We played chess, and he lost.

He's a rat.

He ate the Parmesan cheese.

SAMMY: This is the true side
of the mafia.

This isn't somebody
talking about the mafia.

I am part of it.


KAREN: "Oh, my God, your father's
'Sammy the Bull,'

can we get an autograph?"

GERARD: He didn't come home
and tell me the details.

I knew he killed a few people.

KAREN: He's like, "19."

I'm like, okay, I didn't think it was--
you know, that was lot.

My father was the 19th victim
of Sammy "The Bull" Gravano.

DIANE: You got it done.

Oh, I got the job done.

ED: He was a professional killer

and he caught
the eye of John Gotti.

KAREN: It's clear that John was
setting my father up.

SAMMY: I look at it as,
I was betrayed,

I betrayed him.

He just looked at me and he said,
"I'm gonna cooperate with the government."

That was everything that
I was taught never to do.


He's a rat!

He ate the Parmesan cheese.


JOHN M.: He became the most famous
mob witness in history.


SAMMY: They could hug you,
they could kiss you,

they could smile, and they could
shoot you in the (bleep) head.


He's got 19 murders,
but at least nine lives.


LAURA: Is he sorry?

Is he remorseful?

Where are his amends?

I've experienced everything that that
lifestyle has brought upon my family,

whether it's heartache,
happiness, betrayal,

I've experienced it all.

♪ Happy birthday ♪

For my Sweet 16, my father had it at
a very well-known "gangster" hangout.

And when I was first introduced
to John Gotti,

I walked over and my father said,
"Say hello to Uncle John."

And I said hello to Uncle John,
and he gave me an envelope

and in the envelope was, you know,
ten $100 bills.

My father chose
an untraditional path.

He chose a career that, you know,
most people don't choose

but, you know, I wish that
we could have had different.

But we don't.

A lot of families, they said were
affected by the mafia, and they were.

I don't think we were.

We became-- we were in a way,
in one way.

KAREN: Right.

In another way,
it made us tighter

and that you guys understood me
and what was going on.

I mean,
I don't-- I don't--

I do disagree with you with that

because I think that every family
was affected in a way.

Um, we were definitely affected but
it's how people deal with the effect,

how people deal with the aftermath.

I've come to understand fully
that there's two sides to people.

So they think that the mafia,
you look at them, they're all animals.

No, it's not so.

KAREN: The men that were
involved in my father's lives,

they weren't gangsters to me.

They were my uncles,
they were people I loved.

People that I felt would take care
of me and protect me.

Cosa Nostra is our thing.

It's everything you've seen in
The Godfather.

It's-- It's all true.

You spend time with your family?

Sure, I do.


Because a man that doesn't spend time
with his family can never be a real man.

It's about family, but it's also
about control and power.

All male dominated.

There's no-- there's nobody
female in the mafia.

Never was--
Not in the Italian one, anyway.

Never will be.

There's no doubt The Godfather was
the greatest mob movie of all time.

It elevated the status of that life.

I mean, look, Don Corleone,
the way he carried himself,

guys on the street started to
carry themselves differently

because of The Godfather.

KAREN: You see a lot of family culture
when they have the big Italian weddings.


I mean, it was just--
everything was over the top

and everything centered around
food and family

and music at that time.

You know,
Frank Sinatra was very big.


Well, I think that The Godfather changed
everybody's perception of the mafia.

Before that, they were just
considered low-life thugs

and Italians in general
were looked down upon.

Then The Godfather told
a different story and glamorized it.

Here was this saint-like figure,
Marlon Brando,

the head of the Corleone family.

He was like ready for beatification.

"Hey, Pope,
you forgot this guy, you know,

He's entitled to sainthood."

When they were all what
we would call "un animales,"

although that's really not saying much
about the animal world that we live in.

They're sub animales, the worst.

ANTHONY: That's the first time
I went to prison.

I'm Toni Lee Ruggiano, I'm the daughter
of Anthony Ruggiano Jr.

and the granddaughter
of "Fat Andy" Ruggiano.

When I was little,
I knew my dad as an inmate.

I knew that he loved me, and like,

I knew that he cared about us as a
family, like, I knew him in pieces.

Look at this picture...
who's that?

What does that bring back?

This was my favorite video
to watch when I was little.

I used to watch it on repeat.

I used to be obsessed with
my parents' wedding video.

I literally would watch it
multiple times a day.

I had it memorized, every single song
that played in it,

how his face looked when
he walked down the aisle,

um, the way he looked at my mom.

Like, it was just-- looked like
such a happy celebration.

Brother was there dancing and like,
you know, being goofy.

-ANTHONY: You were there, too.

Yes, mom was pregnant with me.

And I think it was just a
way for me to see you as well,

outside of like, in a different--

Like, I would have watched
any video with you in it

to see like,
how you interact with other people,

how you interact outside of jail,
you know?

This Cosa Nostra, this whole life,
affects the kids,

the parents, the wives.

It's-- It's far-reaching,
the effects.

Every day of your life
when you're in that life,

you're violating the laws of man
and the laws of God.

That's it.

That's it, and anybody that
tries to sugarcoat it

is just not telling the truth.

He didn't come home
and tell me the details.

I knew he killed a few people.

As far as I'm concerned,
they deserved it.

I would have done anything
for him and my family.

I'm just always fascinated
by the ability of people to--

to completely divorce themselves
from the dark reality

of the consequences of their actions.

If you're in the mob and you're a
killer, you actually desensitize yourself

to even who the victim was,
because often they're very close to you.

When I hear the story of Sammy
and his brother-in-law,

you know, a family member?

Listen, I can tell you this,
if I was put in that position,

I couldn't do it--
I wouldn't do it.

When you talk about killing a best friend
or a brother-in-law like Sammy had to do,

I don't know that the reasons
are there to justify it,

but in that life,

there's been how many murders over
the years and none of them were right.

-Nick Scibetta.
-That was my wife's brother.

That was another one
that killed me.

For 14 years, I mean, going back--
or whatever time passed--

I mean, to see my wife, my
mother-in-law, my father-in-law, people...

It just tore me up.

Did you tell them,
did they know?

No, what do you want me to do?

Go home and tell them,
"I just killed your son?"

Or your brother?

No, of course not.

-They didn't suspect?

Your wife didn't suspect?

When did she find out?

When I told the government
of everything I've done.

Did she say something?

I think she was in
a little bit of shock over it

but she really didn't
say too much about it.

DIANE: A little bit of shock?

Sammy rationalized those 19 murders
irrespective of who the victim was.

They were in the mob, they knew what they
were doing when they broke the rules,

they knew what the penalty was,
I just happened to enforce the penalty.

They committed suicide.

Would I be willing right now to say
I wouldn't do that,

even though it would
cost me my life back then?

No, (bleep) no.


What you do-- I'm not giving up my life
that easy, because of what you did.

So I'm gonna break the golden rule

and I'm gonna get whacked
for what you did?


You did it.

You deserve to die, not me.

I didn't do it.

I'm not in his head
and his heart and his mind,

but, uh, you got to have something,
man, inside of you

to be able to do something like that,
and it's not a good thing.

John barked, I bit.

And a lot of people knew that.

DIANE: You got it done?

I got the job done.

And if he'd said...

"Kill your son."

My son?

I probably would've fought
on that one.

There's no way
I would've killed my son.

I would've died with him or
I would've died trying or--

There's no way.

PRESIDENT REAGAN: For many years,
we have tolerated in America,

a syndicate of organized criminals

whose power is now reaching
unparalleled heights.

WOMAN: The government says
John Gotti is a cold-blooded killer.

Perhaps the most ruthless and
powerful mob boss in America.

This guy was the absolute worst guy
to take over organized crime

because he talked like a yenta.

You guys and Giuliani
should be in church.

Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk.

Gossip, gossip, gossip.

Thank you.

Gotti took the underworld
and put it out for the world.

CURTIS: Meantime,
the FBI is following him.

SAMMY: They had surveillance.

All they had to do was sit across
the street, set up some cameras

and just video this thing nonstop.

GEORGE: John, especially once he
ascended to being the boss,

he made everybody come and
really kind of kowtowed to him.

That made the Ravenite Social Club
a key target

for me as the investigator
in that case.

The Ravenite had been a well-known
Gambino social club in Mulberry street.

The Ravenite club was an exclusive

and guys would play cards
and drink coffee.

It was like being allowed into the,
you know,

one of the private clubs in New York
City, except this was a club of mobsters.

MICHAEL: Their social clubs were
really our headquarters.

They were our safe havens,
the place we hung out,

the place we held court.

GEORGE: The whole family had to show
up at the Ravenite on a weekly basis.

John, he was there
five nights a week.

He brought captains
and made guys down there,

told them how to dress
and how to act.

He would tell you how to dress?


Basically, he would tell guys to
wear suits and shirts and ties,

and this and that.

You know,
walking into a restaurant,

John Gotti with 14 guys all
dressed to the hilt is what he wanted.

CURTIS: There were so many things
that you had to do

to show you were one of them.

But if you wanted to hang with
them, you had to look like them.

LARRY: This is my good luck pinky

They would have their drink,
and they would be sipping it like that,

so their pinky would be out.

It was all show, all a look.

Gangsters made double-breasted
pinstriped suits popular.

We wore expensive watches.

It's a Rolex,
it's a Presidential.

And naturally,
you had to have the chains.

You know, like, 52 crucifixes

which probably represented
all the people you killed.

matches the burgundy tux.

Every culture has their thing,

and I think in the Italian mob
culture, they exuded power.

SAMMY: I don't think any of the old
timers would believe that Cosa Nostra

was to be run like this
in any way, shape or form.

You know, power has a way where
you can believe, after awhile,

you can walk on water.

TOMMY: Sammy told them, "tone it
down, don't have everybody coming here"

It was supposed to be
a secret thing, you know.

Guys go meet-- you know,
go meet on the "B" train somewhere

or the "R" train and talk.

That's the way you're
supposed to do it.

SAMMY: I would tell him, John, there's the
whole government sitting outside the club.

There's news people
wandering around outside.

What are we doing here?

He would just shut you up
and say, "No, no, no.

I'll show you, watch.

I'll show you how to beat cases."

He showed us real good.

When you're the boss
of a crime family

and you're on
the cover of Time Magazine

in a caricature painted by Andy Warhol,
you're bringing heat on yourself.

That's a given.

But by extension, you're bringing heat
on the other families, too.

You're supposed to be invisible.

He made my job easier.

He introduced me to
that whole family.

KAREN: Was he supposed
to be out there like that?

Was he supposed to give
the whole mob

on a silver platter to the FBI?

WOMAN: The FBI and New York State's
organized crime task force

set a trap for Gotti.

GEORGE: So the whole strategy was
to put bugs where John was having

his most secret conversations,

where he was gonna talk the most
about the criminal conduct.

The best places wound up
being the Ravenite,

and then the apartment above the

JOHN M.: That bug is the mother lode.

Because now you have the boss,
the underboss, and the senior advisor.

Basically the administration
of the Gambino crime family,

having a board meeting about what to
do about various problems.

Everybody would warn him,
"Hey, don't have a sit-down in that room.

It's wired up like a Christmas tree."

"Yeah, I'm impervious,
they can't touch me.

Like MC Hammer,
'You Can't Touch This'."

ED: We're able to pick up conversations
about labor racketeering, it turned out.

But invariably, when you're in
the inner sanctums of the mafia dons,

the mafia bosses,
they were talking about murders.

This was John.

He thinks he could
say anything he wants.

And you start talking about
murders on the phone.

GEORGE: He was the best witness
I ever had,

and he couldn't dispute anything, because
it was his voice coming off the tapes.

Listening to the Gotti tapes,
it's clear John was setting my father up.

In other words, poor John Gotti.

He lost control of
Sammy "The Bull."

He's killing people.

He wasn't gonna take the fall for

And I guess his other option
was to kill him.

How would you have done it?
How could you?

Me and Frankie would've just went in,
started stabbing to the body,

and I would've cut his throat.

And, uh, it would've been over.

The reputed mob leader John Gotti
was acquitted on assault charges.

WOMAN: Extortion, loan sharking,
racketeering, bribing witnesses.

MAN: We find him not guilty.


MAN: John Gotti walked out of court
today still a free man.

Three times police have
brought charges against Gotti

and three times he has
beaten the rap.

Well, John was known as the "Teflon
Don" because the cases that he beat.

I mean, he was indicted several
times, but nothing stuck to him.

Every charge that the government
charged him with wouldn't stick--

Teflon-- so "Teflon Don."

MAN: Hey, John, you gonna beat it?

No, no.

He never beat the system.

Sammy "The Bull"
was fixing the trial.

I was reaching jurors...

and bribing them.

And he didn't win the trial
fair and square.

I rigged the whole trial.

TERENCE: I think the dynamic between
John Gotti and Sammy "The Bull"

was always interesting to me
because I think it was

a begrudging respect that Sammy
seemed to have for John Gotti.

He respected the rules, respected
the fact that John Gotti was the boss,

but I suspect that Sammy thought he
probably could have done that job better.

GEORGE: John starts recognizing that
everybody knows and respects Sammy.

He's the guy interacting with

That becomes a threat to the boss
because now all of a sudden,

I can be replaced by this guy
and we don't miss a beat, right?

KAREN: So, that's when my father and John
started to really fall out on the street.

You can't be jealous of your own
teammate or it's gonna crumble.

And that's exactly what happened,
it crumbled.

JOHN JR.: I believe it was
December 11, 1990.

We just left the Ravenite,

It was all over the radio that
John Gotti was just indicted.

I remember it very vividly.

I was watching the news
and there he and Gotti

were on TV being arrested.

I was like, "Whoa!"


I said, you know,
it may be a matter of time

when this all goes down badly.

I think the demise between them
came at the first day of arraignments

when they played the tapes and Sammy
heard all the diverse things

that John was saying about him.

He was trying to convince people
that my father was a loose cannon.

ANTHONY: On the tapes, John was making all
kinds of derogatory comments about Sammy.

That every time he kills somebody,
he takes over their business.

He wants to kill this guy,
he wants to kill that guy.

So John, more or less,
was throwing Sammy under the bus.

In case he ever got arrested,
Sammy would, you know, take the weight.

JOHN JR.: That was the Gravano

That was the worst of all the tapes.

My father tells him, "Look, if I have
any more complaints about you,

I'm gonna have to deal with it."

From that moment on,
Sammy walked with two feet in one shoe.

That was the reason for that conversation,
in all fairness to my father,

that was the reason for that

And I realized that John,
probably eventually, would take me out

for no other reason but he wants one
show, one boss-- John Gotti.

He don't want anybody to be his

He don't want anybody in any
way, shape or form, to shine.

And I guess
I was shining too much.

You make it sound like high school.

Yeah, but the only thing is
that in high school,

you could throw
a spit ball at somebody.

We use bullets.

Sammy thought at first,
"Well, I'll just kill him in prison."

But then he said, "Well, but then I'll be
spending the rest of my life in prison.

So killing him is not gonna
bring me any satisfaction."

How would you have done it?
How could you?

We could have got some,
what they call shanks,

knives in prison,
homemade knives.

Me and Frankie would've just went in,

Frankie would've started stabbing to
the body and I would've cut his throat.

And, uh, it would've been over.

ANGEL: He thought about his family
and he said,

"The only thing I can do is give the
government what they really want,

give him John Gotti on a silver

So that's what he did.

GEORGE: Within a year of them
being in jail,

we get word that
Sammy wants to cooperate.

It was November 8, 1991-- he flipped.

And the day Gravano became a
rat, it changed our lives.

Because he's been around a lot of

and he knew a lot of secrets
about a lot of different people.

Sammy had the business mind.

"There is an opportunity here
for me to continue living a life

a little more normal than spending it
behind jail for the rest of my life."

JOHN JR: Gravano never did one day
in jail in his life.

That was his first time
being incarcerated.

He didn't like it.

My father was disappointed in

He knew he should have never
brought that guy into the inner circle.

At that point it became a reality,
that he made a horrible mistake.

The day my father told me
that he was gonna cooperate

probably was the worst day of my

That was everything that
I was taught never to do.

It was almost like as if he'd
just stabbed me in the heart.

I felt betrayed.

And she ran out, crying.

I came close to not doing it.

It killed me to
see her that way.

After he did cooperate, I just--
I didn't want no part of him.

Because my own people that I grew up
with, that I trusted, that I loved,

they were told that they couldn't
hang out with me anymore.

That's the one time
that I can honestly say

that I ever felt rejection
and it affected me.

GEORGE: He contacted me and said,
you know,

"I think I'm gonna have to pull the

And I looked at him and said,
"What are you talking about?"

He goes, "I have a problem
with my daughter.

She's adamantly
opposed to me taking this deal.

If she can't go along with this,
this isn't happening."

KAREN: When we had
that meeting in Quantico

and we sat down and I came out there,
I didn't know anything.

-Not one thing.
-SAMMY: Right.

Well, then I was forced to.

Now we're dealing with a situation where
there's a life or death situation now.

-SAMMY: This isn't a game.

When you cooperate,
there can be people getting killed

and all kinds of (bleep) going on.

Some of the people
you're gonna be dealing with,

they could hug you, they could kiss
you, they could smile,

and they could
shoot you in the (bleep) head.

I had already known, a week before
my father told me he was gonna cooperate

but it didn't break to the world yet.

So I got on the plane with them
and they took us to Virginia,

which is FBI headquarters.

And he sat there and told me, "You
know, things are gonna come out."

And I'm like, okay.

He's like, "About murder."


He's like, 19.

I'm like, okay, I didn't think it
was-- you know, that was lot.

But, um, I didn't question him,
I just listened.

And when I left the room that day,
I still wasn't on board.

I told him I will never
be on board with this.

GEORGE: We had to have a couple of
conversations to convince her,

to be able make that deal go through.

So that left a real impression on me,
just how important his family was.

MAN: Sammy "The Bull" Gravano.

For years, he claims he was
John Gotti's hitman.

But now his Target is John Gotti

LARRY: When it hit the papers
that Sammy flipped,

there wasn't a person in that life
that wasn't totally shocked by it.

He's a rat!

Sammy "The Bull" Gravano.

Sammy "The Bull"

Sammy Gravano has killed 19 people.

His five-page government agreement
calls for him to testify

in exchange for a 20-year prison

DEENA: This man took away our

There's so many things
that I've missed

about my dad through the years.

My father won't be
at my daughter's wedding.

My father can't come over
my house for Sunday dinner.

There's so much I miss about
my father not being here.

I'm Laura Garofalo,
my father was Eddie Garofalo,

the 19th victim of
Sammy "The Bull" Gravano.

He was in construction,
demolition, excavation.

In the course of doing business
in New York in the construction world,

there was that underworld element.

It was very hard for my father
to function because

so much of the construction industry
had a stranglehold from the mob

and so much of it then
was controlled by Gravano.

So because my father wouldn't
comply, he paid with his life.

He was crossing the street
to walk to his car

and two cars full of guys
opened fire on him and killed him.

TOMMY: The only way
organized crime exists---

there's only one reason it exists--
and that's on intimidation.

Because if you tell me to do something
and I'm not intimidated or afraid of you,

then what's the repercussions of me
not doing what you're asking me to do?

REPORTER: Mr. Gotti, what do you
think about the Times' report

that they're preparing
new charges against you?

My father's prosecution was
a win-at-all-costs prosecution.

He was facing five murders.

All in all, it was 13 counts.

The prosecutors in the Eastern district
wanted the head of Gotti so badly

that they made a deal with Gravano.

He was Gotti's right hand.

He was the underboss of the
Gambino crime family.

This is the United States Department
of Justice and the rule of law

against the most famous gangster
in America and the mob.

The deal he got was a maximum penalty
of 20 years,

which he got five years sentenced.

JOHN M.: Sammy's a survivor.

He's got, like, 19 murders,
but at least nine lives.

LAURA: I mean, it was shocking,
it was absolutely shocking.

People do more time for one murder--
this is 19.

It was one more scam.

It was one more scheme.

He knew that there was
nobody else in the world

that the government wanted more than
John Joseph Gotti.

JOHN M.: Why did Sammy flip?

Well, Sammy's a hustler.

While everybody was looking at one angle,
he was looking at three other angles.

Sammy Gravano flipped because
Sammy Gravano is a self-centered man.

And when he got to prison, the
reality, his needs became far greater.

He couldn't do not one more day in
prison and he wasn't going to.

DIANE: So there's a word that you use
for people who turn, right?


-Who cooperate.
-DIANE: Yeah.

Are you trying to goat me into the

-"Rat," is that the word?
-DIANE: That's the word.

Are you a rat?

If that's the term you'd like to use.

I don't look at myself as that.

I look at it as-- I was betrayed,
I betrayed him.

That's what the mob is.

DIANE: Double-crosser?

SAMMY: John's the double-crosser.

I'm a master double-crosser.

We played chess, and he lost.

MAN: Here in New York,
the government's top mob witness

has begun testifying in the trial of
reputed crime boss John Gotti.

Everybody in that room is waiting for
one witness and one witness only.

SAMMY: I was real nervous
about testifying.

I'll never forget
walking through the door,

when the door opened
and then I came out,

you couldn't hear anything.

I mean, the only thing I heard
was my own heart pumping away.

JOHN M.: He proved to be
an outstanding witness.

"Who was the boss of that family?"
"It was John Gotti."

"Do you see John Gotti
in this courtroom?"

"Yes, he's right there."

And, you know,
eye contact is made.

It's like there's laser beams
that go across between the two.

He had this icy glare...

that he was staring at me, to try to,
I guess, intimidate me with.

It didn't work.

JOHN M.: I think he must have been on
the stand for nine days, direct testimony,

and then brutal cross-examination,
which he was unflappable for.

There was more to come,
but you also knew the case was over.

MAN: It took six years and four
trials, but today,

federal prosecutors got a guilty
verdict against John Gotti.

My father, John Gotti,
was found guilty on all counts.

I wasn't shocked by the outcome
of the case,

but the reality now set in
that he wasn't invincible.

The Teflon is gone,
The Don is covered with Velcro

and every charge in the indictment

MAN: In New York today,
the crime boss, John Gotti,

has been sentenced to life in prison
with no parole.

When the word comes out that Gotti's
been sentenced to life without parole...

(crowd chanting)

...the crowd storms
the front of the courthouse.

JOHN JR: It was supposed to be a
peaceful rally and it turned into a riot.

JOHN M.: They're rocking the U.S.
Marshals' cars in front,

smashing the roofs and
kicking in the windshields.

And there's literally a riot going on
about the outrage

that he should be sent to jail.

And you start to realize just how
upside down the world had become.

LAWYER: I said it in the court,
I say it here:

our country is sick to the core

if it is willing to pay for
testimony, by literally,

absolving a person of
19 confessed murders.

My father is the last of the

They don't make men like him anymore,
and they never will.

JOHN M.: We live in a society
that romanticizes those loners

who go up against authority.

DIANE: They have said you are
the single most important witness

ever to testify against the mob.

I think I am.

An underboss is the highest position
who's ever cooperated.

But I think I'm in a position of

the most knowledgeable underboss
who's cooperated.

Sammy helped me
shut out the rest of the family,

and bosses and underbosses
of the other families.

I think we totaled over 38

He arguably led to the demise of
organized crime in New York.

JOHN M: Making the deal with Gravano
did not come without criticism.

There was blow back from the family
members of people that he killed.

LAURA: The feeling was
us against the behemoth.

What do we do?
We have no recourse.

They said this was okay.

They wrapped him in the American flag
and they sent him off.

SAMMY: It was a great deal.

Five years for 19 murders,
can't beat that.

DEENA: And from that day forward,

he continues to be pardoned
for the things that he has done.

JOHN M.: When he got out
in the witness protection program

under his new identity,

he's living in a town
outside of Phoenix.

He's got a book out.

So, he's breaking all the rules
and he's making all the money.

There were laws in the place,
the "Son of Sam" law,

which protected us from him
profiting from his life of crime.

How could a guy who admitted to
killing 19 people profit from that?

How can he write a book?

And we went ahead,
filed in Arizona.

So, you know,
we were vindicated.

It's funny, because in the end,
Sammy's always Sammy.

CURTIS: His son comes home one day
and says, "Dad, dad,

these kids, they're buying this Molly
and Ecstasy like no tomorrow."

And what does he do?

Rather than go back
a changed man to say,

"Hey, I'm a different guy...
I found the Lord..."

he goes back and
he schemes all over again.

Former mafia hitman,
Salvatore "Sammy The Bull" Gravano

has been arrested in Phoenix,

Police say Gravano financed
a statewide narcotics ring.

GERARD: Growing up,
people expected me to be violent.

People expected me to live up to
my father's reputation.

I got arrested once or twice growing

I wanted to do certain things
and go out and make him proud.

It was just the allure of being, you
know, of being bad.

-I never wanted that life for you.
- And I know that.

You didn't come home and talk about
what you did on the streets--

And there's a reason for that.

I didn't want to inspire you to the
life, make you look up to the life.

Yeah, but you knew I wasn't gonna be a
doctor or a lawyer or something like that.

We don't have to be doctors
and we don't have to be lawyers.

We could be anything.

I think, in an Italian people,

we always want our kids to be better
than us and do more than us.

Famously in The Godfather,

Don Corleone was very upset
when Michael came home from the army

and then ultimately ended up
in the family business.

What's bothering you?

I told you I can handle it,
I'll handle it.

I never wanted this for you.

When you have a famous parent,
you become a part of that famous parent

Doors open to you everywhere.

But the stress
is tremendous because

there's only one person like your

You're living under that shadow
from the time you're born.

KAREN: After my father cooperated,

my mother moved to Arizona with my
brother and I later followed.

CURTIS: The guy ended up going into
the witness protection program.

He's out in North Phoenix,

he's installing pools out in the
open, his family has a restaurant.

I was still angry.

Me and my father weren't in a good

Everything that happened in Arizona,
it was like I was hung up on a lifestyle

that I couldn't let go
because I didn't understand.

I was hurt at the time and I was

My kids were devastated
by my cooperation.

They had to leave,
they were belittled,

They were just--
they shrunk to nothing.

KAREN: At the time,
he had wrote a book.

His book was a New York Times bestseller
and everybody became interested.

I land in Arizona
and these people are like,

"Oh, my God, your father's
'Sammy the Bull,'

can we get an autograph?"

We kind of let
the wrong people around us.

And I wanted to join them

because I felt like being bad
is when you gain respect.

He was already a very well-known gangster
and, of course, they sought him out

and got to him through his son.

I just made poor decisions,
my brother made poor decisions.

And, um, at the time, we were
involved in some Ecstasy deals.

GERARD: Everybody I was
running around with

was telling everyone
that had two ears,

that this was
Sammy "The Bull's" Ecstasy ring.

That's all it took.

Former mafia hitman,
Salvatore "Sammy The Bull" Gravano

has been arrested in Phoenix,

Police say Gravano financed a statewide
narcotics ring that sold the drug Ecstasy.

Sammy "The Bull" always with
his beak in the trough said,

"Hey, what are these--
what do these kids out here know?"

I'm caught.

My son's in it,
my daughter's in it.

I become the focus of the thing
and it doubles and quadruples

in stature and everything.

So... I'm an Ecstasy King.

Sammy's explanation was that
he was actually trying to help them,

extricate themselves from that.

You got to say, well,
was he really trying to help his family

or is this the Sammy Gravano story,
which is,

"It wasn't me,
it was my children.

I was just trying to be the good

It's kind of what
he said about Gotti.

GEORGE: He was able to
make a deal to save them

and take the brunt of the punishment.

JOHN M.: His son gets sentenced
to nine years.

His daughter and his wife
are sentenced to probation.

He did 20 years for trying to
save my life.

Most fathers, I think-- I hope--
would do that for their son.

But that's a heavy burden
I live with, even though--

Don't let it be a heavy burden.

I did what I'm supposed to do as a

Don't carry no burden.

But realize how much I love you.

Let's not make mistakes no more,
they're done.

The life is done.

I got to take that responsibility
that it did trickle down,

what I did hurt them.

So we all (bleep) up,
don't live with guilt.

We're going forward.

You made mistakes,
I made mistakes.

Everybody makes mistakes.

And I'm proud of you.

You're a man's man.

You've got four kids,
and, uh, and you're a man.

I just hope I can leave
the same impression on my kids.

You will.

SAMMY: I was the underboss of the most
powerful crime family in American history.

I was respected, loved,
dedicated, and feared.

Now look at Sammy "The Bull" Gravano,
he has a podcast,

he's battling with Michael Franzese,
the son of Sonny Franzese,

the stone-cold killer
in the Colombo family.

Do you have any idea what
you're talking about?

No, yeah-- no, do you?

So instead of shooting at one
another, they battle on podcasts.

Stop, your--
you're talking like a clown right now.

It's crazy!

I'm retired now,
I'm 76, March I'll be 77.

The podcast is going good,
we just put out a few more episodes.

JOHN JR.: Anyone saying anything
in New York?

KAREN: They watch it, they see it.

I mean, listen, one thing about

whether people like him
or they don't like him,

they know what he's saying is

DEENA: If I can have a voice
35 years later,

I can tell his subscribers
and people who listen to his podcasts,

not to glorify this man.

He is not noble,
He is not a hero.

He's nothing but a sociopath.

It took me 20-something years
to get to this point,

to have a full understanding
and to actually sit back and go...

"I understand it all,

I respect the lifestyle you chose,
I understand why."

But I also knew you
as a father and a friend.

So that's, you know, how I choose
my relationship with you.

The podcast is actually something
that he monetizes from.

And, um, it's a subscriber service.

SAMMY: When I think back about my past,
I feel like I've lived three lifetimes.

He has this arena, he has this forum
where he's talking about it,

but what is the other side for him?

Is he sorry?
Is he remorseful?

Because I don't see that.

Where are his amends?

He is still glorifying this life.

When does he let it go?

SAMMY: Is there anything
that I feel I regret

and that I would do differently?

Of course.

At what point do you take accountability
for the lives that you destroyed?

No matter how I feel now,
I couldn't change what happened.

It was ugly, but I know what people
want me to say.

It was so ugly,
would you change it?

Yes, the way I feel now.

But even looking now,
I couldn't.

Sammy is,
"I'm Cosa Nostra until I die.

Cosa Nostra's still part of me."

And I said,
"No, Sammy, that's not true.

We're not Cosa Nostra anymore.

We might have believed in it
at one time.

But you can't say that,
you violated omertà, so did I."

I betrayed my oath.

I'm not in that life anymore
and neither are you.

DIANE: Did you love The Godfather?

I loved The Godfather.

Is there part of you that misses it?

If it was what it is in that movie,

if it was total honor
and total respect...


But not what I've come to learn
what it was, what it is.

It's not what this is,
it's not the respect.

In this picture,
that's what it was supposed to be,

that's what it was supposed to mean.

ANTHONY: Sometimes I wish
I was still in that life.

I loved the, you know,
the respect I got,

I loved sitting in the front row.

I can't afford
the front row anymore.

-You're right, there's grandpa.

"Fat Andy."

I know you always get mad
when I say sometimes I miss the life.

You go, "What do you miss about it?"

TONI: You know,
I look at these pictures and--

Here, look at this picture, this is when
I used to take you and your brother

every year to see Santa Claus.

Well, not every year, unfortunately,
I only took you three times.

That's the life that I wish that
we could have continued living.

And it just wasn't--

It wasn't meant to be.

GEORGE: I think a lot of them wondered
to this day what it was all about

and was it really as worthwhile
as they thought.

Because the fabric just

There really was never this loyalty,
there really was never this ethos.

It was really all about the

DIANE: Are you a good man?

I think I'm a decent man.

DIANE:You don't worry about
a final judgment?

SAMMY: I'll worry about that,
that day.

And we'll see what happens.