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GOTTI TEAM CALLS PROSECUTION'S CASE A FRAME-UP

Defense lawyers attacked secretly recorded tapes and a turncoat mobster's testimony as "a glorified frame-up" Saturday in arguing that jurors should acquit reputed mob boss John Gotti and his fellow defendant.

The jury could begin deliberations in the federal racketeering and murder trial as soon as Sunday. Both Gotti, 51, and his co-defendant and reputed crime family underboss, Frank Locascio, 59, face life in prison if convicted.Lawyer Anthony Cardinale, who represents Locascio, attacked the prosecution for misleading the jury about what was said on many of the tapes that caught Gotti and Locascio talking in the recesses of their Little Italy headquarters.

He also tried to pin the blame on three of the five murders in the trial on Mafia turncoat Salvatore (Sammy the Bull) Gravano, 47.

Cardinale called Gravano a "treacherous survivor" who made up a story about Gotti to escape a potential sentence of life in prison.

"These charges (are) nothing but a glorified frame-up," he said. "What we're talking about is these men's freedom and coming out of a penitentiary in a box. It doesn't get any more serious than that."

Gotti is accused of taking over the so-called Gambino crime family, said to be the country's most powerful criminal organization, after masterminding the December 1985 murders of former boss Paul Castellano and his driver, Thomas Bilotti.