Greg Risling of the Associated Press reported Wednesday that Ruben “Doc Cavazos, former President of the Mongols Motorcycle Club, was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment.
“The AP learned of the sentence Tuesday,” Risling wrote, “when U.S. District Judge Otis Wright relayed the information through federal prosecutors after the news organization asked about Ruben ‘Doc’ Cavazos’ sentencing.”
Risling continued, “Only after repeated prodding by The Associated Press to reveal the sentence did U.S. District Judge Otis Wright relay Tuesday via federal prosecutors that he sent Cavazos to prison for 14 years. No other details were given.”
He also reported that the secrecy of the sentencing hearing was the result of “underlying issues” Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Brunwin refused to discuss.
The APs Take
The Associated Press seemed mystified by the secrecy surrounding Cavazos’ sentencing. The fact of the Mongols case is that most of the proceedings have been protected from prying eyes for three reasons.
The first was to keep as many defendants as possible at as great a legal disadvantage as possible. Those disadvantages include making the recovery of seized property virtually impossible. Second, this was an extremely ugly case that reveals several ugly realities about American media. For example, both the William Morrow publishing company and the Discovery Networks were active participants in the entrapment of some suspects and in the prosecution of other suspects. Third, both Christopher Brunwin and at least four ATF agents may be in legal jeopardy if the facts of the investigation become widely known and scrutinized by professional reporters.
The Associated Press also seems to think Doc Cavazos was treated leniently. Risling quotes a law professor at the University of Southern California named Michael Brennan who believes that Cavazos “earned” a “deal” after three years of arduous de-briefing. According to the AP, the professor believes, “The government doesn’t give anything away.”
Factually, Cavazos sentence was unusually harsh for such a cooperative witness. Ruben Doc Cavazos has already been imprisoned for about 35 months. He may expect to be free in about another eight years.