There is a hearing Wednesday, August 5th at 2:30 pm in courtroom 890 in the Roybal Federal Building in Los Angeles to hear arguments for and against unsealing two dozen plea and sentencing agreements in the Mongols case.
In the first week in June, the Associated Press sued to lift the Klingon Invisibility Shield that has become the government’s most powerful weapon against the Mongols. Nine months after unsealing the indictment in this case, the government is still afraid it might not win and so it continues to pressure the defendants and other members of the Mongols Motorcycle Club with practically every dirty trick short of germ warfare.
The four lead attorneys for the United States in this case continue to accuse the Mongols of being the motorcycle gang from hell. More than two million words have already been officially offered by the prosecutors. And so far this case is mostly about a few deluded braggarts being provoked by unconscionable agents provocateur.
The Good Guys
The government keeps saying it is too soon for mere citizens of a democracy to know the real horrors this case might yet conceal. So far, some few, brave, reformed, good Mongols like the admirable Doc Cavazos and the even more admirable Lars Wilson have whispered this terrifying secret knowledge only into the ear of the state’s champion: An heroic Special Agent who labors selflessly – for no more than a mere, mid-six figure, annual income – to defend the good America from all of us beasts who roam the roads of the bad one.
That Special Agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is John Ciccone. (Seen in a rare photo above, in uniform, far right.) Only Ciccone can know what no mere defense attorney or irrelevant reporter may know. Ciccone cannot confide these terrible secrets even to such trusted confidantes as John Walsh, during one of his increasingly frequent television appearances. Ciccone can only tell the rest of us that the Mongols are bad. Really, really bad. He could tell us how bad they really, really are but if he did then he would have to kill us. All of us. In order to save us. Us and our stinking Constitution.
The government explains the “factual background” for this secrecy like this:
“The Indictment charges members and associates of the Mongols outlaw motorcycle gang with violent crimes and drug-trafficking offenses as part of a racketeering enterprise and large-scale conspiracy, and describes multiple violent crimes and incidents of intimidation, as well as narcotics distribution engaged in by Mongols members and associates. The incidents include gang-style beatings, stabbings, armed assaults and murder. The Indictment also reflects a highly-structured and coordinated organization, the members of which carried out these offenses and provided “cover” for their co-conspirators.”
In other words, the government knows secrets about the Mongols that are so terrible that if the government told the Mongols the Mongols would have to kill somebody. Probably they would have to kill the secret Mongols who have revealed the Mongols secrets to the secret agent. Maybe it is even more banal and insipid than that.
The government’s opposition to unsealing the secret plea deals is, largely, based on this or that “declaration of John Ciccone.”
Yesterday under penalty of perjury Ciccone said he has “learned from a number of sources” that “defendants whose plea agreements have been filed under seal will be threatened with retaliation if their plea agreements are unsealed.” Ciccone did not state who those sources are. For all the court knows, they are his astrologer and or his Feng Shui advisor.
Ciccone also stated for the official record that, “more than one defendant has specifically described to me the concern that he or his family members will be endangered if he is suspected to have offered cooperation to the government in this action.” Ciccone did not say how many more than one or who he was.
The term “specifically described to me the concern” is particularly galling. If somebody secret “specifically described” something to him why can he not “specifically describe ” it to the court?
“I have learned from more than one source,” Ciccone continues in the most blatantly obvious example of cop cant and platitude, “that defendants in this matter and other members of the Mongols gang monitor the Court’s electronic docket and are aware of the terms of the plea agreements that have been publically filed in this matter.”
So what? Did this little jackass just tell this page to shut up?
“Although a number of these defendants and members of the Mongols gang are also aware that more than one defendant is cooperating,” this hero continues, “I do not believe that there is any public record setting forth the names of defendants who are cooperating at this time.”
And, then in what is possibly the most sinister line in the deposition Ciccone claims “placing a defendant whose plea agreement is under seal in protective custody would immediately signal to co-defendants who are also in custody that the defendant is cooperating with the government.”
In other words, Ciccone wants you to know that he has spies everywhere so you can never relax. This is part of Ciccone’s brilliant, new, law enforcement strategy against motorcycle clubs. Lock the brothers up until they turn on one another.
Ciccone should be ashamed. United States Attorney Thomas P. O’Brien should be ashamed. Judge Florence-Marie Cooper should be ashamed. Barack Obama should be ashamed. The people of the United States of America should be ashamed. This is Guantanamo style justice. This is the justice of the Soviet Gulag. This is the justice of the Hanoi Hilton. If the government has a case it should state it. If the government needs to protect an informer it should do that. It should not treat American citizens like this.