Halgat Case Grinds On

November 17, 2014

All Posts, News

Seventeen months after the congratulatory press conference announcing the successful conclusion of Operation Pure Luck; five months after a defense attorney named Melanie A. Hill alleged the evidence in the resulting case was tainted by “outrageous government conduct:” and two weeks after an extraordinary, joint evidentiary hearing before two federal judges; the punishing government prosecution of a Vago named Jeremy “Maniac” Halgat grinds on.

Unfortunately for Halgat, his victory in the case looks slightly less certain now than it did a week ago. Not much but slightly.


Most of the prosecution’s case is based on information gathered by a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy named Agostino Brancato. Brancato has a history of working biker infiltrations as a Task Force Officer, a kind of free lance agent provocateur, for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Brancato had a memorable role in the ATF infiltration of the Mongols that lasted from 2006 through 2008. In Operation Pure Luck he patched into the Vagos and tried to persuade every Vago he met to either hook him up with a drug dealer or take $1,000 in return for keeping him alive during completely fabricated drug deals. This was not a cheap operation. The ATF hired private airstrips and planes and flew millions of dollars of cocaine around the Southwest in an attempt to dazzle the Vagos into doing something slightly greedy and stupid. Brancato liked to offer his targets large amounts of money when they were drunk.

And when he couldn’t convince his targets to commit a crime Brancato lied about it. If you are going to spend millions of dollars and years trying to prove the Vagos are the Sons of Anarchy you better find a criminal enterprise or next time you’re going to get hit with a sub-average performance review. And, there goes your law enforcement career. Brancato has 23 years on the job. He can retire on full pay in another seven. What else was he going to do?

During one tape recorded conversation with his ATF handler Brancato brainstormed: “This is what I’m thinking…. Like as far as I’m concerned fucking Maniac (Halgat) sold me this fucking ounce, Bro. I mean, really. Yeah. Well, that’s what I’m thinking. Well, this is what I’m thinking, Bro is that on the QP, we do it the same way. Let Maniac…I give Maniac the money, he goes in there, brings it back to me, da, da, da. And then on the next one, I’m like hey, Bro, can I just go to him direct and I’ll still give you the money and now I have a sale of QP with him. You know what I’m saying? With Udell, without him, so now, he owns one and then this guy and Maniac owns one. Well, alright, so we may need a little bit more. We maybe have to do a little bit more. That’s…which is perfect. Yup.”

Okay, It Was An Accident

Good, innocent people who have never been bent over by federal justice might assume that lying might get a case dismissed. In fact a Federal Magistrate Judge named Cam Ferenbach did propose throwing the case in the trash, which is what prompted the joint evidentiary hearing two weeks ago. It was a joint hearing because Halgat is accused of the same crimes in two separate federal cases called USA v. Wickham et al. and USA v. Halgat et al. The cases are being brought by the same prosecutors using the same tainted evidence because government lawyers want a second shot at Halgat if they lose the first case. Halgat has no criminal record by the way. He was recorded telling Brancato that he wasn’t going to sell the TFO drugs. He was a target of a federal sting because he was a chapter officer in the Vagos. So, the theory went, he had to be guilty of something.

The way prosecutors put it last Friday was: “The purpose of TFO Brancato’s infiltration into the Vagos was to determine: (1) if the Vagos OMG was a criminal enterprise, and (2) if its members were engaging in criminal activity.” Their statement was a lie of omission. Brancato was able to determine after a couple of months that the Vagos was not the criminal organization it is portrayed to be at government press conferences and on reality television.  Then Brancato spent the next two years trying to find a Vago who might be convinced by tears, sentimentality or cold hard cash, to briefly engage “in criminal activity” beyond the usual fist fights and traffic violations.

Last week the government scored a little victory. In a stipulation filed last Thursday, Halgat and his attorney agreed that audio recorded evidence had not been “intentional(ly)” edited. Apparently the stipulation will save several police careers. Any recorded conversations that Brancato erased, the stipulation explains, were ordered by his handlers and that was only done with the knowledge that the recordings had already backed up. The gaps in the backups, the stipulation discretely continues, were not edited but were merely, “gaps that were caused by loss of cell phone battery life, packet loss, transmission issues, cell tower drop outs, or other software related limitations.”

What Is Outrageous Government Conduct

In a motion filed last Friday, showing absolutely no gratitude for the graciousness of Halgat’s stipulation, prosecutors tried to beat him over the head with it. “Halgat stipulated to the withdrawal of his allegations that the recordings associated with this case were edited or purposely destroyed. As a result, Halgat’s allegations of “ outrageous government conduct “are unsubstantiated.”

“The magistrate judge (Ferenbach) improperly made a credibility determination as to TFO Brancato without holding a credibility hearing,” the prosecutors concluded.

Until they actually publish their ruling case, there remains some possibility that Halgat might actually have to stand trial for the crimes Brancato made up

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21 Responses to “Halgat Case Grinds On”

  1. Dropkick Says:

    Karma is a bitch, as all u piggies will find out one day. Ride Hard, Ride Free.

  2. popeye Says:

    Architects of the greatest financial meltdown in history , one that stole from and destroyed millions of lives ,regularily sit down to dinner with the president. It seems absurd to that this is what the goverment chooses to prosecute. This is what we waste our time , money and resources on while not one greedy banker has ever been indicted but intead were rewarded with record bonuses for their theft and mismanagement of our future. We are not the bad guys we are the people that the constitution speaks of.

  3. bcnasty Says:

    Always Trolling Fucktards

  4. Dirk Diggler Says:

    Fuck you, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy named Agostino Brancato. You’re a living piece of shit coward.

  5. Ride On Says:

    I’m just curious about something. We know from the endless accounts of law enforcement misconduct and breaking of the laws they are sworn to protect that cops are criminals. Because of a cops criminal actions, any group they are associated with should also be under suspicion of being a criminal enterprise. By law enforcement’s own standards of labeling, wouldn’t that make every LEMC an OMG? Shouldn’t LE be infiltrating LEMC’s to determine:

    (1) if the LE-OMG was a criminal enterprise, and (2) if its members were engaging in criminal activity.”

  6. Shyster Says:

    Trial Tactics 101: Never enter into a stipulation UNLESS it assists the defense/defendant.


  7. UnaffiliatedObserver Says:

    The average person probably thinks that manufacturing crimes for the sole purposes of prosecuting people for those manufactured crimes is outrageous government conduct.

    Actually, manufacturing crimes to prosecute people unwise enough to get involved in the fake crime is standard operating procedure, and as long as law enforcement can present some sort of proof that the target was predisposed to commit the crime anyway, the positive defense of entrapment is barred at the federal level.

    There is a fundamental falsehood at the root of all of this. If the public narrative of “outlaw motorcycle gangs” was even half true, these operations should be easy, given the tools available to law enforcement.

    When the cops can’t even get an organization involved in prohibited commerce through an agent provocateur who has become a trusted member of the group, maybe that organization actively seeks to avoid such entanglements. Maybe, just maybe, the narrative that underwrites the entire operation is false from its inception.

    Prosecutors, unlike the rank and file, are not selected for limited intelligence. When they say “the purpose of TFO Brancato’s infiltration into the Vagos was to determine … if the Vagos OMG was a criminal enterprise”, they know they are lying. As a matter of fact, the term OMG itself denotes criminality. The statement itself is internally inconsistent.

    A more honest statement from the prosecutor would have gone like this: “The purpose of TFO Brancato’s infiltration into the Vagos was to create the appearance that the Vagos MC is a criminal enterprise by engaging in criminal activity as a Vago and enlisting other Vagos members in TFO Brancato’s criminal activities. TFO Brancato enjoyed only very limited success at great cost, as detailed in our pleadings.”

  8. Paladin Says:


    Yeah, when I first read this, my first reaction was WTF! I sure hope there’s something else in play, because on the surface, this makes no sense to me.

    Long May You Ride,


  9. Phuquehed Says:

    A good pig, of *any* kind, is one that’s not breathing. Same goes with prosecutors.

  10. KneesInTheBreeze Says:

    @UnaffiliatedObserver – THAT was some deep, heavy shit you just laid down right there. Lot of wisdom in what you said there, and I agree 100%. Thank you for making me think.

  11. BMW Says:

    So, if an informer conspires with his handler to provide false testimony, that’s NOT “outrageous government misconduct”? WTF? Looks like “the fix is in” to convict the Vagos MC on a very high level! If TWO federal judges are brought in to facilitate false testimony that a magistrate does not believe, “the fix is DEFINITELY in!!!” These same “law enforcement officers” can’t see the drug dealing on dozens of street corners as they drive to meet their provocateur? These same LEO are willing to spend millions to set up a single chapter of a single club, in a single city, in a single state, but can’t find the money to stem the sale of thousands of tons of dope by criminal street gangs in the USA each year???

    So, it is OK for federal “LEO” agencies to conspire to provide false testimony in a criminal case? If you believe this, I have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale…but there are sheep who will gladly ignore this and convict Halgat at the request of the persecutors. Somebody will buy the bridge…and the persecutorial misconduct.


  12. Anonymous Says:

    Let’s hypothetically assume for a second that the ATF is telling the truth and The Vagos are a major criminal organization.

    What then will be the result of this multi-million dollar ATF operation after prosecuting them?

    Will there be a noticeable drop in crime?

    Will there be a noticeable decrease of drugs on the streets?

    How much closer will the ATF be to winning it’s war against Alcohol? Tobacco? Firearms? Bikers? Loud pipes?

    What exactly are they policing here?

    All this reminds me of what Wesley snipes said in the movie ‘New Jack City’.

    “I’m not guilty. *You’re* the one that’s guilty. The lawmakers, the politicians, the Columbian drug lords, all you who lobby against making drugs legal. Just like you did with alcohol during the prohibition. You’re the one who’s guilty. I mean, c’mon, let’s kick the ballistics here: Ain’t no Uzi’s made in Harlem. Not one of us in here owns a poppy field. This thing is bigger than Nino Brown. This is big business. This is the American way.” – Nino Brown

  13. CaptainObvious Says:

    When I first read this my first reaction was WTF!


    “Then, Brancato appeared. Brancato asked Halgat to traffic illegal guns. Halgat refused. Brancato asked Halgat to traffic cocaine. Halgat refused. Brancato applied pressure, supplied money, designed the plan, initiated four transactions, and falsified a report regarding one of the transactions”


    What kind of utter human filth is this Brancato person?

  14. UnaffiliatedObserver Says:

    @KneesInTheBreeze – my pleasure.

    The document CaptainObvious linked is worth reading, especially for anyone who wears a patch.

    The discussion of when the dirty tricks are allowed begins on page 22, line 16.

    ‘In Hudson, the court stated that if government agents “at least had suspicion based on
    identifiable facts—then the Government should and does have free reign, consistent with constitutional restrictions.” Hudson, 2014 WL 960860, at *7. Halgat’s leadership role in Vagos satisfies this criterion.’

    If you read enough jurisprudence on the issue of “outrageous government conduct”, you’ll eventually realize that all that lawyerly bloviation results in a formula -authorizing- outrageous government conduct. The case law does not bar outrageous government conduct, it authorizes that conduct and lays out the conditions that LE must satisfy before entrapping their victim.

    To reiterate:

    ‘Halgat’s leadership role in Vagos satisfies this criterion.’

  15. Tooj Says:

    Since Rebel gave us the Eagles, I’ll continue with Don Henley to explain a character like Brancato:

    Today I made an appearance downtown. I am an expert witness, because I say I am. And I said,

    “Gentleman, (and I use that word loosely)
    I will testify for you
    I’m a gun for hire, I’m a saint, I’m a liar
    Because there are no facts, there is no truth
    Just a data to be manipulated
    I can get any result you like
    What’s it worth to ya?
    Because there is no wrong, there is no right
    And I sleep very well at night
    No shame, no solution
    No remorse, no retribution
    Just people selling T-shirts
    Just opportunity to participate in the pathetic little circus
    And winning, winning, winning”

  16. CaptainObvious Says:

    to aspire to the Palatine throne

    It’s the mark of a supreme general, of course, to kill Galba
    While powdering your nose, the maximum self-possession
    Shown on Bebriacum’s field, to aspire to the Palatine throne
    While your fingers plaster your face with a mask of dough,
    What not even Semiramis, the archer, in her Assyrian city,
    Tried, nor Cleopatra, in grief, in her flagship, at Actium.
    Here there’s no shame in their language, or reverence at table,
    Here is Cybele’s foulness, the freedom to speak in a woman’s
    Voice, and an old fanatical white-haired man who’s the priest
    Of the rites, a rare and memorable example, an enormous
    Throat, a gluttonous specimen, an expert well worth his hire.
    Why are they waiting? Isn’t it time already to use their knives,
    To carve their superfluous flesh in the Phrygian manner?

    SatII:104-116 Those In the Closet,
    Juvenal – The Satires

  17. VAGO 1%er Says:

    The basic reason the Suppressive Person behaves as he or she does lies in a hidden terror of others. To such a person every other being is an enemy, an enemy to be covertly or overtly destroyed. The fixation is that survival itself depends on “keeping others down” or “keeping people ignorant.” If anyone were to promise to make others stronger or brighter, the Suppressive Person would suffer the utmost agony.

  18. Jim666 Says:

    Good luck to all those VAGOS involved is this federal entrapment

  19. Lauhinglep Says:

    Vagos are a joke they don’t stand for nothing let the pigs take their patches

  20. TED Says:


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