Waco Confrontation Looms

April 24, 2017

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Waco Confrontation Looms

Houston attorney Paul Looney said this morning that he will “continue to demand a speedy trial” for his client Cody Ledbetter.

Ledbetter, a former member of the Cossacks Motorcycle Club, has a trial date of September 11 in the 19th District Court in Waco before Judge Ralph Strother. Over the weekend, numerous news outlets including The Associated Press reported, “State District Judge Ralph Strother, who’s handling other trials related to the (Twin Peaks) shootout, said nothing can move forward until the situation with the (federal racketeering case against six members or former members of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club in) San Antonio case is resolved.”

The AP report is based on two stories by Waco Tribune-Herald reporter Tommy Witherspoon. On Friday the Waco paper quoted Strother as saying, “I don’t think we can move forward in any of our cases until some kind of resolution or understanding is reached regarding the situation with the federal indictment in San Antonio. It has effectively put a barrier between our ability to proceed with our cases. I don’t think the presence of a pending motion (for continuance) is what is causing the problem. It is the presence of the federal indictment out of San Antonio that is the issue.”

In a story published Saturday, Witherspoon wrote, “McLennan County judges have concluded that the trials of Twin Peaks cases should not begin without allowing prosecutors and defense attorneys a chance to view the federal evidence that pertains to Twin Peaks.” By Sunday, the New York Daily News was shouting “Waco motorcycle gang trials on hold.”

Looney said he was already “preparing a motion to retain my trial setting.”

Reyna Filing

Strother based his remarks on a filing made by McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna in another Waco court at the end of last month. Reyna wrote:

“On March 28, 2017, the McLennan County Criminal District Attorney’s Office received a letter from the United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas, Richard L. Durbin, Jr. This letter provides the broad outlines of an investigation into the Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Club, United States v. John Portillo, et al., Cause No. SA-15-CR-820 (see attached). In the letter, Mr. Durbin declines to share any information or evidence relating to that investigation at this time. Mr. Durbin has indicated that the information will be disclosed to the McLennan County Criminal District Attorney’s Office once the trial is complete.

“Although no specific disclosures were made, Mr. Durbin acknowledges that the federal investigation has information which relates to the events at Twin Peaks in Waco, Texas on May 17, 2015. Although the federal investigation was underway when that incident occurred, neither the fact of the investigation nor any information pertaining to the investigation were shared with this office.”

Reyna Lied

The indictment against former Bandidos vice-president Portillo, former club president Jeff Pike and two others was unsealed in January 2016. Among the accusations in that indictment was the statement that the Bandidos were “at war” with the Cossacks. That was widely reported as the Bandidos had “declared war” on the Cossacks. Two defendants in the federal Bandidos case have already made plea deals. Former national sergeant at arms Justin Cole Forster and former club members Frederick “Fast Fred” Cortez pled guilty to racketeering in October 2016. Those plea deals remain sealed but the crimes to which those men confessed involved interstate drugs sales and had nothing to do with the Twin Peaks brawl.

The indictment has been superseded, or amended, three times. Last month the third superseding indictment charged four more men and Portillo with a 2006 murder. Around the same time, a federal judge ordered Pike’s lawyers to resign from that case.

Three of the most recently added defendants are currently scheduled to stand trial beginning on August 7. But it is unclear whether those defendants were even members of the Bandidos at the time of the Twin Peaks brawl and the crimes with which they are accused happened in 2006, nine years before the brawl. Reyna prevaricated in his filing when he stated that “the federal case is currently scheduled for trial in August of this year.” Neither Portillo nor Pike, the only two Bandidos in the federal case who might have had anything to do with the Waco cases, currently have a trial date. Neither can even be assigned a trial date until a motion hearing on May 1.

What Reyna attempted to do with his March filing was mislead the local courts into allowing him to postpone the Twin Peaks cases indefinitely. Based on Strother’s statement as reported by Witherspoon, Reyna seems to have successfully misled the judge in Ledbetter’s case.

“My client is not going to ask me and will affirmatively state that he doesn’t want to wait for any exculpatory evidence” that might be part of the federal case, Looney said. “There is no inculpatory evidence.” Looney has maintained for almost two years that Ledbetter is innocent and he has relentlessly tried to get his client to trial where he can prove his innocence.

Looney characterized Reyna’s March filing as “nothing but innuendo.”

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2 Responses to “Waco Confrontation Looms”

  1. Gandalf Says:

    It always seemed to me that any member of the COC&I (or friend of a member) had reason to be at Twin Peaks that morning. Any Non-Member or Cossack who arrived early had a much harder case to defend. That said, Is it possible The Feds will make deals with Cossacks to testify against Bandits in the Fed case claiming there was no deal made? How many Cossacks will line up to testify in the Fed Trials that there was, in fact a war going on? Yet have no deal with the Fed prosecutor but a secrete deal with the Waco DA? Once they establish in Fed court that a “war” was on and declared… The Media screams it… Then all Reyna needs to prove is that the Bandits knew the Cossacks were there. In order for Reyna to prove there was a actual “war” going on He needs the Feds “evidence”.

  2. stroker Says:

    Thanx for the vids of Looney. It’s refreshing to see his angst over this debacle. Refreshing, in the sense that we get to see and hear something from the defense, and can feel his passion.
    Reyna? Demented? Nah……vicious maybe, narcissistic for sure, and criminal. Yeah. Criminal.

    Thanks Rebel.

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