A notorious New York gangster who became arguably the most momentous cloak in organized crime history reinvents himself as a social media star and promises to tell the full story of "our thing".
Salvatore & # 39; Sammy the Bull & # 39; Gravano, 75, became a government informant in 1991 and helped kill 39 gangsters, including John Gotti, head of the Gambino family.
Gravano, an underboss in the Gambino family, was the highest-ranking member of the five New York families – Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese and Lucchese – to ever "freak out" and testified against Gotti in court.
& # 39; Sammy The Bull & # 39; Gravano has started posting such pictures from his studio on Instagram
Gravano opens the door for John Gotti in Little Italy in April 1990
Gravano was sentenced to one year in 1994 and then went to the Arizona witness protection system, only to request removal a year later so he could give interviews and write his 1997 book Underboss.
In 2001 he pleaded guilty to drug trafficking – Gravano is believed to have carried out the largest ecstasy operation in the state – and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
He was released from Arizona prison in 2017 and has since returned to his media battles.
Nine months ago he started his YouTube channel, which so far only contains one clip.
In May he immersed himself in Facebook and wrote after a few weeks: "Hello to all my new Facebook friends."
He said he was inundated with messages asking if this was really Sammy.
He added: "That's understandable, I think there are tons of other fake profiles of me. I'll prove to everyone that this is really me."
Gravano spoke to ABC's Diane Sawyer for an interview in April 1997
And in June, he made his Instagram debut, posting a photo of himself smiling in his recording studio. From there he will produce a new podcast.
& # 39; My podcast. Our thing, ”he said to a photo.
There's no evidence yet that a podcast is out despite the fact that he posted a YouTube promotional video announcing the new company.
"My name is Salvatore" Sammy the Bull "Gravano," he says. "I'm a father, a grandfather, and a gangster."
On June 27, he continued teasing the series, writing on Facebook: & # 39; Podcast is coming. Like you've never done it before. "
Gravano promised to reveal the "story behind the story" of his once bloodthirsty life, in which he murdered 19 people whom he confessed.
Gravano launched a Facebook page in May with photos of his family and past
Gravano's daughter Karen said her father would appear in a new documentary series
"I'm a father, a grandfather, and a gangster," Gravano says in a promotional video on YouTube
Gravano showed what he said for the set of his new podcast
The studio has high-end recording equipment, a bright red neon sign in the shape of a bull, and a fake fireplace.
Gravano seems to be following in the footsteps of his daughter Karen, 48, who starred in the VH1 reality show Mob Wives (2011-16) on Staten Island.
Karen maintains an active social media presence and said in April that her father appeared on a remake of the short-lived MTV series Made in Staten Island, which was canceled in 2019 after just three episodes.
The new MTV show, she said, will be called Families of the Mafia and will accompany two neighboring Mafia families for two years as they try to shape their lives away from organized crime.
"I sat down with him and explained exactly what it was about," she told Fox News.
Surveillance footage from 1989 shows Gravano with Gotti leaving a Manhattan restaurant
Gravano (left) outside the Ravenite Social Club in Little Italy following Gotti's acquittal for murder in 1990
The Ravenite Social Club was a famous Little Italy restaurant for the Gambino chefs
Gotti and Gravano (pictured) were both welcomed by Gambino underboss Aniello John & # 39; Neil & # 39; Dellacroce supports
"It's not like he got out of jail and wanted to do reality TV.
"We were filming and I thought, 'You are such a big part of my life, my story. This is us. Let's share our experiences with others. "
"When I explained it to him that way, he agreed and wanted to support me."
Karen said her father was impressed with the power of social media – something that has changed the world since he was convicted in 2001.
"He's just excited about social media and YouTube," she said. "He'll always say, 'Don't kids go outside and play kickball? "
"When I was growing up, we always had Sunday dinners with my grandparents. It was mandatory. You couldn't have any other plans. Spending time with your family was non-negotiable.
"You couldn't just go upstairs and sit in front of the computer over dinner. Phones were never at the table.
"It's completely different for him."
Gravano indicted in Arizona court in March 2000 for selling 30,000 ecstasy pills a week
Gravano was born in Brooklyn to Sicilian immigrant parents.
As a child in the Bensonhurst neighborhood, he caught the attention of Mafia bosses as a child when his bike was stolen and he beat several children at the same time. One of the bosses reportedly remarked that the boy "fought like a bull" and that the nickname stayed the same.
Gravano rose through the ranks, owning and operating bars and construction companies as fronts for his money laundering, loan shark, and extortion.
"I literally controlled Manhattan," he said in a 1998 interview with The Atlantic.
Gotti, the & # 39; Dapper Don & # 39; died in prison in 2002
“You want concrete to be poured in Manhattan? That was me. Tishman, Donald Trump, all of these people – they couldn't build a building without me. & # 39;
Gravano's fate was thanks to Gotti, thanks to Gambino's underboss Aniello John & # 39; Neil & # 39; Dellacroce, Gotti's mentor, who also valued Gravano very much.
Dellacroce's Voucher for Gravano prompted Gotti, a rising star, Gravano under his wing.
Gravano drove Gotti on the night Gotti ordered the infamous murder of Paul Castellano, Gambino boss, outside Spark & # 39; s Steakhouse in Midtown Manhattan in December 1985.
The murder of Castellano made Gotti head of the family.
Gravano said he eventually turned on Gotti when Gotti asked him to go to jail.
Gravano said that Gotti had told him: "The streets need me, the boss, you are the sacrificial lamb."
Gravano told Patrick Bet-David in a two hour interview on YouTube: “I've done so many things for this guy. I've manipulated the processes, I've threatened people, I've bribed people, and he turns me on.
"I was betrayed by someone who is a brother, a father, someone you gave your whole life to."
Gravano said he was thinking, "F *** the mob, f *** er, I don't give a f *** if I get killed."
He toyed with the idea of meeting Gotti, but instead became a government informant.
On September 26, 1994, a federal judge sentenced Gravano to five years in prison. However, since Gravano had already served four years, the prison sentence was less than a year.
Later that year he moved to Tempe, Arizona, where he took the name Jimmy Moran and started a swimming pool installation company.
In 1995 Gravano left Witness Protection and moved to Scottsdale, Arizona.
On May 25, 2001, Gravano pleaded guilty in federal court in New York to a drug trafficking charge.
He was originally scheduled to be released in March 2019, but was released early on September 18, 2017.
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