updated 9/13/2006 7:46:38 PM ET 2006-09-13T23:46:38

For the second time, a judge on Wednesday tossed out new racketeering charges filed against John “Junior” Gotti, finding the evidence introduced at his trial insufficient to support a conviction.

U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin decided the government had not proven its claims that money invested in several of Gotti’s properties stemmed from alleged loansharking or construction industry extortion.

The government filed the new charges several months ago in a bid to boost its case against Gotti, the son of late mobster John Gotti, after two juries in the last year deadlocked on racketeering charges against him. Closing arguments in his retrial could begin as early as Thursday.

A spokeswoman for prosecutors, Lauren McDonough, said the government had no comment on Scheindlin’s ruling.

Scheindlin had thrown out the new charges last month before Gotti’s retrial started but changed her mind and reinstated them days later.

With the new charges, the government had tried to prove that Gotti continued to benefit from Gambino crime family money even after he said he quit the mob when he pleaded guilty to charges in another racketeering case in 1999.

The government’s new strategy did have some benefits because the judge decided that jurors could consider new evidence about Gotti’s finances even though they could not use that evidence to convict him on the new racketeering charges.

Gotti is still charged with racketeering related to other alleged crimes, including an allegation that he ordered two 1992 attacks on radio show host and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa in retaliation for Sliwa’s on-air rants against his father.

The elder Gotti died in prison in 2002, 10 years after he was sentenced to life for racketeering.

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