Last Thursday, a federal judge named Richard W. Story finally put an end to a ridiculous federal indictment filed against three men named Larry McDaniel, Howard Brown and Sean King.
Judge Story dismissed Counts One and Three of an indictment filed on April 24, 2013 that accused the men of “corruptedly obstructing, influencing and impeding an official proceeding.” The official proceeding was an undercover investigation and entrapment by the Federal Bureau of Investigation intended to catch members of the Black Pistons Motorcycle Club and the Outlaws Motorcycle Club doing something illegal. Count Two of the Indictment was dismissed May 19.
Count One accused the men of conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding. Count Two accused the men of aiding and abetting each other in the alleged obstruction. Count Three accused the men of obstructing “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.”
The three accused men are now free until the FBI manufactures another bogus charge against them.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 13 months ago, on August 14, 2013, that FBI investigations are not court proceedings under the federal statute criminalizing obstruction of justice. That ruling applied to another motorcycle club case involving the Hells Angels. That case accused three men named Gary L. Ermoian, Stephen J. Johnson and David A. Swanson of obstructing justice by warning a fourth man that he was the subject of a federal investigation. The Supreme Court has not yet overturned that Ninth Circuit ruling so it has seemed clear for more than a year that the Georgia investigation was without legal standing. Nevertheless, United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates continued to use the accusation to punish the men by forcing them to defend themselves.
When the FBI began investigating presumed illegal activity by the Black Pistons, Outlaws and other clubs in Georgia, McDaniel was the Regional President of Outlaws chapters in Georgia and Alabama; King was an Outlaw from Gordon, Georgia and Brown was the Georgia President of the Black Pistons. The three men learned that a member of the Georgia Black Pistons, identified in public documents as D.B.S., was a paid confidential informant working for the FBI and that an undercover cop named Michael “Griff” Griffin had also infiltrated that club.
Consequently McDaniel told Brown and King to “shutdown” the Black Pistons’ Cleveland, Georgia chapter. They did and they also 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 from those present at the clubhouse.”
According to FBI case agent Mark Sewell, “My 15 years of FBI investigative experience has proven that individuals, whether sworn officers or law enforcement employees, are often referred to as inside sources…traditionally sworn and uniformed officers, often maintain close and unprofessional relationships with members of outlaw motorcycle gangs. This is an unexplained phenomenon and continually comprises (sic) OMG investigations across America. With the popularity of current television programs that glamorize the OMG culture, the desire for some law enforcement officials to maintain close, unprofessional and sometimes criminal relationships with OMG members will not easily disappear. As an example, this investigation has previously uncovered three law enforcement officials that are maintaining close, unprofessional relationships with subjects of this referenced North Georgia OMG investigation. It is through these close and unprofessional relationships that OMG members often gain information that is obstructive to FBI investigations and dangerous to the safety of FBI Informants.”
After the chapter was shutdown a conversation between McDaniel and one of the paid snitches in the case went like this:
Larry McDaniel: Hello.
Informant: Hey man.
McDaniel: What’s up?
Informant: What’s going on.
McDaniel: Well, we had information given us, given to us that is pretty much telling us to close that down and information saying…. You know anybody named Mark Sewell?
Informant: No! I don’t! Who….
Informant: Who is that?
McDaniel: I have no idea. It’s saying…that’s a name that…that you have something to do with the Feds and that’s your contact name.”
Subsequently case agent Sewell formally complained to a judge: “McDaniel is in possession of your affiant’s name. Furthermore… the Outlaws Motorcycle Club is in possession of CI-1’s real name and the information that he is, in fact, a FBI Informant. It is clear to your affiant that the OMC has shared the identity of CI-1 with McDaniel…. Furthermore, it is clear that the OMC has shared with McDaniel the name of your affiant to validate their accusation to McDaniel that ‘…there is a Fed in the Black Pistons house ….’ Your affiant’s 15 years of FBI investigative experience, which includes having achieved successful prosecutions in 2 public corruption investigations, leads your affiant to affirm that this investigation has a public corruption leak that is relaying sensitive information to the OMC. Furthermore, this leak is obstructing the FBI’s formal investigation into the OMC by hindering the ability of CI-1 to safely assist the FBI in the investigation of the Outlaws and the criminal activities of their members. Your affiant’s experience indicates that the name of your affiant, who is also one of two Contact Agents for the CI and the name of the CI are closely held secrets within the FBI. Only via direct contact with FBI agents or FBI documents can a public corruption leak gain the names of the Contact Agent and/or the CI. While the name of the Contact Agent may occasionally be used in non-sensitive FBI documents, the real name of the CI is closely guarded and can only be accessed by people with direct FBI computer access or direct access/overhear to FBI employees. All of the facts listed in this paragraph serve to strengthen your affiant’s allegation that there is a public corruption leak that is effectively obstructing this investigation.”
McDaniel, Brown and King actually went on trial on the charges last Tuesday and the trial continued for two days before the case was dismissed.