Doing Squats with Bruce Cutler

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02/09/2006

330 E. 61st St. NY, NY 10021

Neighborhood: Midtown

I was recently musing about my time as a trainer at Manhattan’s most prestigious 1980’s gym: The Vertical Club. The place was loaded with the beautiful people and the celebrities they yearned to be.

A regular in the weight room was one Bruce Cutler, the late John Gotti’s lawyer. The barrel chested Cutler was a popular figure in the trendy gym . . . not only for his weight-lifting prowess and dedication, but for his mannerisms and jocular sense of humor. He’d never use a monosyllabic word when a longer, more captivating term could do the job so much better. For example, the gym was crowded and I was spotting a young woman on the bench press which involved me standing behind the bench and against a mirrored wall. Cutler and a training partner wanted to use the bench next. So, instead of asking if we had a lot more sets to do, he queried, “Are you deeply ensconced back there, sir?”

Everyone, and I mean everyone, called him “Counselor” and he would reciprocate by creating an appropriate nickname for all the regulars. Me, I was simply “Mr. Mike,” and he would forever badger me to introduce him to the female members of the gym staff . . . in particular, an African-American female he called “my dark princess.” I would tell him over and over that I wasn’t a pimp, he’d laugh that Cutler laugh, and then get me to spot him while doing heavy squats, all the while telling me how old he was getting.

Anyway, one incident really sums up his style. After setting up a bar on the squat rack and settling his thick frame underneath it to commence lifting, one of the nearby instructors shouted a warning to him that he had put more weight on one side of the bar than the other. Calmly and deliberately, Counselor Cutler stepped back and appraised the situation. After a beat, he announced: “It appears my sense of symmetry is somewhat askew.”

One can imagine the slight contrast in the response when Bruce Cutler was barred by the government from representing Gotti in the trial that eventually led to the Mafia Don’s life sentence. To me, whether or not Cutler had crossed the line from attorney to business associate was arduous to prove and the government had never succeeded in doing so. Instead, having been embarrassed by losing several high-profile cases against Gotti, the government cheated. It’s cut and dry. Cutler was simply too good, so they concocted a story to get rid of him and did not bother with due process.

It’s as fundamental as this: John Gotti deserves the same justice as any other American does. If we can curtail his rights because of who he is, then no one’s rights are safe. Unless, of course, you are a rich white male member of elite society . . . or a Hall of Fame athlete, for that matter.

Speaking of murderers not in prison, what about Gotti’s right hand man, Sammy “The Bull” Gravano? This guy confesses to nineteen murders–names, dates, times, everything–and he¹s walking around free, living off U.S. taxpayer dollars. And what really gets me pissed is that fact that he’s a published author, to boot.

What a system. You tell me, what’s the main difference between Gravano and Jeffrey Dahmer, besides dietary choices? Simple: Gravano had something the government wanted. That’s why he went free and Dahmer got knocked off in prison.

Nineteen corpses. That’s mass murder and the best our law enforcement agencies can do about it is make a deal. They wanted to nail a high-profile mafioso like Gotti so badly that they violated his rights by taking away his chosen counsel and then made a deal with the confessed mass murderer of 19 humans.

The United States vs. John Gotti, huh? How come we didn’t get to vote on how to pursue this case in our name? When was it my chance to have a say on how my tax dollars were depleted? Sure, John Gotti was a major league criminal but, from where I’m sitting, that doesn’t justify employing criminal tactics to convict him.

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§ One Response to “Doing Squats with Bruce Cutler”

  • A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment.
    There’s no doubt that that you need to write more about this issue, it
    might not be a taboo matter but generally people do not speak about these subjects.

    To the next! Many thanks!!

§ Leave a Reply

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