Three men named Larry McDaniel, Howard Brown and Sean King are scheduled to begin a North Korean style show trial in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia on September 22.
McDaniel is a former Regional President of the American Outlaws Association in Georgia and Alabama; Brown is a former Georgia President of the Black Pistons Motorcycle Club and King is an Outlaws patch holder. The men are accused of conspiring to avoid being entrapped. The case has been crawling along since August 15, 2012.
The case, like many racketeering cases, demonstrates a kind of absurd circular logic which begins and ends with a naked accusation. It epitomizes the sort of federal police bullying that contemns what Louis Brandeis called “the most comprehensive of rights, and the right most valued by civilized men…. The right to be let alone.” The case invites a national debate and demands scrutiny by national media. Don’t hold your breath.
The case has evolved as Sally Quillian Yates, the United States Attorney for Northern Georgia, has sought ever more creative accusations that might be used to punish these men for their Constitutionally protected right to belong to a motorcycle club. In April 2013 Yates had the men indicted for the federal crime of “impeding a federal proceeding” which throughout the entire preceding 225 years of the history of our republic has always referred to proceedings like court sessions and Congressional hearings but now refers to a proceeding called domestic spying.
The men are specifically accused as follows.
Beginning in or about June 2012, and continuing until on or about August 16, 2012, in the Northern District of Georgia, the defendants, Larry McDaniel, a/k/a “Larry Mack,” Howard Brown, and Sean King, did knowingly and intentionally combine, conspire, confederate, agree, and have a tacit understanding with each other, to commit offenses against the United States, that is, (1) to violate Title l8, United states Code, Section 1512(c)(2), in that the defendants would corruptedly obstruct, influence, and impede an official proceeding, to wit: an investigation being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in which
D.B.S. was acting as an undercover informant for the FBI and Michael Griffin, a/k/a “Griff” a law enforcement officer was acting in an undercover capacity, and (2) to violate Title 18, United States Code, Section 1512(c) (2), in that the defendants would corruptedly obstruct, influence, and impede an official proceeding, to wit: a federal grand jury investigation into criminal offenses investigated by the FBI, said FBI investigation involving D.B.S. acting as an undercover informant and Michael Griffin, a/k/a “Griff,” a law enforcement officer, acting in an undercover capacity.
“In furtherance of the conspiracy and to effect the objects and purposes there of, one or more of the following overt acts were committed:
“In about June 2012, an unknown co-conspirator advised defendant Larry McDaniel that D.B.S., a member of the Cleveland Georgia Chapter of the Black Pistons Motorcycle Club was a “fed” or federal agent.
“On or about July 19, 2012, defendant McDaniel directed defendants Brown and King, and others not named as defendants herein, to travel to the Black Pistons Motorcycle Club clubhouse in Cleveland, Georgia.
“On or about July 19, 2012, defendant McDaniel directed defendants Brown and King, and others not named as defendants herein, to “shutdown” the clubhouse and collect all Black Pistons and Outlaw Motorcycle Club vests, known as “cuts,” patches, belts, rings, t-shirts, and other paraphernalia identified with the Black Pistons and outlaw Motorcycle Clubs from those present at the clubhouse.
“On or about July 19, 2012, defendants Brown and King, and others not named as defendants traveled to the Black Pistons Motorcycle Club clubhouse in Cleveland, Georgia.
“On or about July 19, 2012, defendants Brown and King, and others not named as defendants herein, closed the Black Pistons clubhouse and collected all Black Pistons and Outlaw Motorcycle Club vests, known as “cuts,” patches, belts, rings, t-shirts, and other paraphernalia identified with the Black Pistons and Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs. All in violation of Title 18, United States Code Section 371.”
Wait There’s More
The mastermind behind this case is an FBI Special Agent named David Brown. Brown will now testify as an “expert witness” and will try to convince jurors to misinterpret what actually happened. Brown has spent his entire career gathering intelligence about and trying to entrap Outlaws. There are police who do that because there are now so many police that it is increasingly hard to find real police work – like bullying harried mommies who make rolling stops – for all of them to do. Agent Brown, according to prosecutors for example, “is considered the OMC subject matter expert in Florida.”
But what is disturbingly North Korean about the guy is the sort of activities he will portray to jurors as sinister or borderline criminal. Like, for example, reading this page.
“Agent Brown will testify that the Outlaws Motorcycle Club routinely monitors court cases in which its members are charged with crimes,” an official document explains. “Associates of members attend trials and report to the OMC about who has testified and who is cooperating with law enforcement. Witnesses are debriefed by OMC members about their testimony. Jailed OMC members routinely make Freedom of Information Act requests as a means to gather information about law enforcement investigations and techniques, so that they can share that information with their brothers in the club.”
Someone should tell U.S. Attorney Yates and Special Agent Brown that Americans not only have a right to be let alone but they also have the basic right to know what their government is doing.