Ablett Trial Underway

January 24, 2012

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The trial of Mongol Christopher Ablett (above), charged with racketeering and the murder of Hells Angel Mark Guardado, began yesterday in a sealed court.

The room was closed for 25 minutes while an FBI agent named Jake D. Millspaugh testified that an unnamed “Confidential Human Source” probably didn’t actually know what he was talking about. The privacy was necessary to protect that source’s identity from reporters and other enemies of justice. So far the only thing disclosed about the source is that he is human. So he couldn’t have been Mr. Ed or Francis the Talking Mule.

It Wasn’t Cheetah

So, it was not Cheetah the Chimp who told Millspaugh:

“…the circumstances surrounding the death of Mark Guardado, who was the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club (HAMC) San Francisco Chapter president. Four Mongols Motorcycle Club (MMC) members, including Christopher Ablett, were drinking at a bar. The HAMC became aware of the four MMC member’s location and went to confront the MMC members. Three MMC members had left when Guardado was the first HAMC member to arrive. Ablett was in the parking lot, getting ready to leave, when Guardado confronted Ablett and displayed a knife. Ablett drew a gun, then Ablett and Guardado struggled. During the struggle, Guardado was shot in the head. Ablett disengaged, then shot Guardado in the chest to ensure Guardado was dead.”

The source who was not Flipper the Porpoise or My Favorite Martian also “…opined that if a MMC member was confronted by a HAMC member, the MMC member would have no choice but to kill the HAMC member. MMC members normally carry several large knives at all times.”

The defense had requested the name of this human source. The prosecution objected. The judge settled the dispute but his ruling was sealed to protect the public from dangerous knowledge and to save trees on order to preserve the environment and logging company profits. Presumably the defense now knows the identity of this human source but they must act like they don’t.

The Evidence Dump

The FBI interview surfaced during the traditional, pre-trial evidence dump. The ultimate goal of all federal prosecutors is to keep the “corrections industry” profitable by obtaining as many convictions as possible. Consequently, prosecutors employ numerous, shrewd tactics to overwhelm their victims. And, one of the most popular of those tactics is the “evidence dump.” It is just what it sounds like.

Ablett’s defense attorneys Michael Burt and Richard Mazer whined about it.

“On January 3, 2012,” they complained in a memo filed Sunday, “government produced 8 additional DVDs of discovery which contained among other things 454 pages of FBI 302 reports, 355 pages of transcripts of audio recorded interviews (the recordings themselves have yet to be produced), and 200 pages of miscellaneous case documents. On January 9, 2011, the government disclosed a 7 page declaration of ATF Agent Darrin Kozlowski. The declaration refers to numerous exhibits which have yet to be produced in response to a defense request. On January 11, 2012, the government disclosed audio tapes of two critical witnesses. On January 18, 2012, the government produced a September 12, 2008 exculpatory San Francisco Police Department report regarding members of MS-13 who claimed responsibility for Mr. Guardado’s murder back in 2008. Also on January 18, 2012, the government served an expanded witness list which increased the number of witnesses from 60 to 77. On January 19, 2012, the government produced 77 audio tapes from the Los Angeles Mongols case which contain hundreds of hours of recorded calls. On January 20,2012, the government produced 141 pages of Giglio/Brady material and a belated summary of yet another expert witness. On January 21, 2012 the government produced a 2.84 GB DVD containing 132 trial exhibits. To say that this type of last minute-discovery production has hampered Mr. Ablett’s ability to defend himself against wide-ranging allegations is a gross understatement. In fact, the government’s tactics have crippled the present defense team’s ability to provide the effective assistance of counsel guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment, and that is its obvious purpose, as Mr. Ablett’s attorney’s have been demanding timely and adequate discovery since the inception of this case.”

The case went federal in July 2009.

Other Details Of The Pending Conviction

Saturday, the prosecutors supplied the defense with the complete list of the 33, ATF Reports of Investigation from “Operation Black Rain” that it will be used to prove that Ablett is Al Capone. Some of the ROIs may have been conceived as satire, possibly while the undercover agents were intoxicated. The final report on the list is ROI 800 in which ATF Special Agent Darrin Kozlowski explains how he learned of the “circumstances” of the death of a Mongol named Manuel Vincent “Hitman” Martin. Kozlowski who enjoyed a motorcycle ride and a party with Martin the night he died reports that he learned of the death the next day and then used clever interrogation to determine the events that might have precipitated the murder.

Jury selection began after Agent Millspaugh concluded his secret testimony. Twelve jurors and four alternates were selected, admonished to emulate the three monkeys who could neither see, hear nor speak, and then sent home about 1:30 p.m.

A brief discussion followed as to whether the well-known travel writer Edward Hasbrouck (he is best-known as The Practical Nomad) was properly subpoenaed to testify or not. The presiding judge, Richard Seeborg, wrapped that up in about ten minutes. Then everybody took the rest of the day off.

Opening arguments and testimony began today. Prosecutors will remind jurors that the police are infallible so Ablett wouldn’t be sitting at the defendant’s table if he wasn’t guilty of something. The defense attorneys will argue that Ablett might have done something but if he did anything it was in self defense.




33 Responses to “Ablett Trial Underway”

  1. RVN69 Says:

    Gee, it sounds like this will be the case that renews our faith in our criminal justice system and our federal enforcement agents. But the odd’s are better I’ll win the lottery, marry Jennifer Beals and inherit a warehouse full of mint Pans and Knuckle’s.

    Potius Mori Quam Foedare

  2. sherides Says:

    And maybe, just maybe, 16 people will have it drilled into their heads by the Judge and Defense Attorney that the Defendant is innocent until proven guilty and that the Prosecution needs to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. (and that the burden of proof is on the prosecution – not the defense.)

    I assume the potential jurors were sent to the Jury Room while the FBI Agent did his back pedaling?

    If you get that warehouse full of Pans let me know – been looking for a ’52 for a long time now.

  3. guess who Says:

    The Aging Rebel believes this troll is an ATF Agent, although he may be just an assshole.


    The MS angle is interesting. If you would like I can give a bit of history on how MS was established in the mission district, and why the police think MS had something to do in guardados murder.

    Not to mention that I just got done reading your book, and can see where you went wrong. In terms of organizational structure.

  4. Roy Buchanan Says:

    After opening statements today a couple of cops testified. They have been on the force for four years so they were rookies at the time in 2008. They seem to be clueless. One testified that a caller to the cop shop said a black man had just shot somebody. Oh those City guys, such a sense of hue-muh. Rebel, your redhead testified, and the prosecutor had a real tough time with her.She’s the only real eye witness.She saw them fighting on the sidewalk and saw the dead man making stabbing motions at the other man.One question is how did the body get in the middle of the street after suffering two separate fatal wounds on the sidewalk? Supposedly four stabs and two gsw. Prosecutor claiming a revolver was used but he does not identify the caliber of the weapon,yet.One cop testified that a guy ran up to the scene yelling,”That’s my father!.” Apparently that has never been mentioned before. More will be revealed. Roy

  5. Phuquehed Says:

    I’m with RVN69…my 3.6 million dollar check is supposed to arrive here tomorrow no later than 3 in the afternoon, but I asked for someone other than Jennifer Beals (not that she isn’t hotter than a two dollar pistol!) so I asked for Alyssa Milano or Marissa Miller, I was also told they’d let me know where my warehouse was located later this day.

    Luckily I know my faith in the criminal justice system is pretty much fucked and been shit down the toilet for a goodly number of years, thus I was able to win my bet and get all the above.

  6. YYZ Skinhead Says:

    I used to have no faith in the justice system. Now I have twice as much.

    YYZ Skinhead

  7. Rebel Says:

    Dear guess who, Just A Question, JAQ and so on,

    Hey look everybody! Stupid troll is back!

    Thanks for the writing tips, stupid troll.


  8. Rebel Says:

    Dear Roy,

    I have heard a slightly different, more poignant version of the quote you mention. I have left it out of all the stories so far because I have a shred of decency. Yeah four stabs and two gunshots. I haven’t seen the autopsy report but I believe it says two stab wounds to an arm.

    Yeah. I have a theory about how the body was moved. Everybody has theories.

    I appreciate the updates, by the way.




    In the last 3 weeks i’ve lost 2 brothers, both in their 40’s. The one who died 3 weeks ago wasn’t a Christian and is now in Hell. The one who died last night was a Christian and is now in Glory!


  10. Rebel Says:

    Dear sherides,

    The FBI Agent testified in a kind of motion hearing on the first day of the trial before the jury entered the room and was selected.


  11. sled tramp Says:


    I’m going to DISNEYLAND!!!!!!!!!

  12. sled tramp Says:

    That if anything,is pure bumpersticker material.I also like the one that says “Losing faith in humanity one person at a time”.

  13. Philo Says:

    “The Aging Rebel believes this troll is an ATF Agent, although he may be just an assshole.”

    Heh Heh


  14. Roy Buchanan Says:

    Rebel, Mazer did not represent Sonny. There were not multiple Mongols at the bar that night, and in fact no one is saying that.Someone is jerking your chain.
    The moment I feared has arrived. I must say goodbye, with both sadness and relief. Being the military man I am, I do not question orders. I comply fully and blindly.You are all a good group. My best wishes to all. Goodbye, Roy B.

  15. Paul Citizen Says:


    I’m a long time lurker here because I like a good story well told, and the Aging Rebel is a master of that. I haven’t commented before because I really had nothing to contribute. But now I think you all might enjoy this link from the Volokh Conspiracy: It takes you to an official court form where you can fill in and print your own federal court search warrant. Astound and amaze your fellow “gang” members.

  16. Squirts Says:

    Oy Vey^^^^ Great read (and book), Rebel. Respects

  17. Rebel Says:

    Dear Roy Buchancan,

    Yeah. Mazer represented Barger. Barger gives him a shout in his memoir. No, there were not multiple Mongols in the bar that night. Even the prosecution now concedes that. The issue was discovery. The fact is that there was such a memo, Mazeer considers it exculpatory and it was not given to the defense until very late. If Mazer hadn’t made an example of that particulara memo I wouldn’t have either.

    I never said that you were jerking my chain. I appreciate your comments from inside the courtroom. I don’t appreciate being forced to say that there are substantial but unconfirmed rumblings that one of Guarado’s children was there that night. I won’t report what he is alleged to have said over his Dad’s body. Personally, if it comes up in court I would prefer that you not repeat those last words. I consider them something private that I had to overhear to cover this case. I have kind of hoped not to have to mention that moment at all. I am not going to shout it now. I can cover the trial and not have to bring that up. At least not yet.

    I won’t even go into the possibilities about who might have shot Mark Guardado if it wasn’t Chris Ablett. If it comes up in trial I will but I don’t have to yet.

    I hope you continue to read here and comment.


  18. Philo Says:

    @Paul Citizen:

    Nice to see someone else who follows Volokh!


  19. thump Says:

    “ATF Agent, although he may be just an assshole.”

    Sorry Rebel but that’s just redundant.

    Sled tramp,
    I like the bumper sticker that says

    Dear Jesus, Please protect me from your followers.

  20. Roy Buchanan Says:

    Hi Rebel, I did not think you were saying that about me jerking on you. What I meant was the info they were putting out was completely false, fraudulent. Not only the info, but there was no ci saying it, it was pure 100% fabrication by the FBI or ATF.
    It has been requested that I stop posting until the trial is over. I must respect that, so I’m done. I really enjoy your work. You are very dedicated and conduct yourself with a good measure of honor. You have a fantastic grasp of what is going on daily in the courtroom. Are you a subscriber to that Pacer program? Congrats on some solid reporting. Perhaps we will have private contact when it’s over, but for now I must fall silent. I will of course be reading. Thanks, Roy

  21. Glenn S. Says:

    “ATF Agent, although he may be just an assshole.”

    All ATF agents are assholes, but not all assholes are ATF agents. Some are FBI, DEA, local pig, or department of corrections.

    In fact, I’d challenge you to find a greater asshole than a department of corrections investigator. They are generally the investigators who have previously embarressed some other agency by getting caught fabricating evidence.

  22. Rebel Says:

    Dear Roy Buchanan,

    Sure no problem. I understand and thanks for your kind words. I think I make Mazer kind of nervous. I get that. I am not trying to make it harder to defend Ablett. I just think that this is a significant case, that this is still a democracy and that people have a right to know about it. On ne fait pas d’omelette sans casser des oeufs.


  23. rollinnorth Says:

    You have to break eggs to find out if they are rotten, too. (That’s not a poke at Mazer.) Appreciate the effort; keep up the good work.

  24. Austin Says:

    “The FBI Agent testified in a kind of motion hearing on the first day of the trial before the jury entered the room and was selected.”

    Will the jury be able to consider the FBI agent’s testimony? I realize the juries are sometimes kept out of court for parts of the proceedings – but it seems funny.

    @ Roy Buchanon – Thank You for your observations, and please take notes. It is amazing how much goes on in court that is not reported on by anyone.

    @ Rebel – Not everyone is a fan of Truth or Justice or Reality. I am, and I appreciate what you do. Thanks for the balance and neutrality.

  25. Glenn S. Says:

    Rebel, I agree that this is an important trial where a number of larger issues will be addressed and questions posed. For example, will American juries, as a rule rather than an exception, buy the theory that if one is a member of a motorcycle club (regardless of which one), any fight he gets into, any difficulty he encounters on life’s road, is a)an attempt on his part to further the goals of a criminal enterprise, b) something he could have and should have avoided, and c) as good an excuse as any to put someone out of society’s mainstream away; a pretext to enforce societal norms instead of the letter and spirit of the law.

    After reading your posts on the subject, I attempted to seek other sources of information from other media outlets. Nothing recent is available, which supports my belief that the mainstream media generally only reports crime stories as long as the information favors the prosecution. Since the information available to the media at the time of an incident or arrest comes exclusively from law enforcement, the law enforcement slant is all the public is made aware of if the media is not proactive in seeking sources other than law enforcement. Tragically, they rarely do, and the effect is to poison the jury pool. Add the fact that information favorable to the defense often comes out later, rather than sooner, and the result is added media bias. Ablett might have reason to hope for acquital based on the fact that the media is not covering his trial. The media seems to only report trials where conviction is a foregone conclusion. Still, American juries have been known to convict for any or no reason.

    I despise law enforcement agencies and the segment of society that blindly supports them. I wish for a complete acquital because an acquital would be a win for freedom and a loss for the assholes.

    However, my deepest condolances go to the brothers and other loved ones of the late Mark Guardado.

  26. Rebel Says:

    Dear Glenn S.,

    The difference in coverage here from outlets like the Chronicle or LA Times or Fresno Bee is pretty non-comspiratorial.

    I do a journalism category called “community news.” It is a basic and non-glamorous thing to write. Usually it means school board meetings. I just happen to write about a community of motorcycle outlaws and it is, in general, a more interesting community than some other communities of equal size. I talk to members of that community and their friends, mostly.

    Most reporters who write about bikers are “cops” reporters. They write about cops and when they want to find something out they talk to cops and their allies and friends — like prosecutors.

    Most cops reporters tell the story their sources tell them. I try to eport the story my sources tell me. Most cops think I am “way off base.” Like, I think both the Ablett and George Christie cases are both newsworthy. Most cops reporters think both those cases basically ended after the announcements of the arrests and maybe they will do a followup story after the sentencing. I think what happens in between matters more than my esteemed colleagues do.

    Although my numbers have been kind of off for the last month so maybe the other guys are right and I am wrong.


  27. observer Says:

    “…my numbers have been kind of off for the last month so…” seems to roughly correspond to the Cheez Whiz drought.

  28. rollinnorth Says:

    The other guys are not right and you are not wrong.
    Without your efforts, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with what’s really going on.
    You’re also right about the “news” coverage beginning and ending with arrests. Past that, it’s publishing press releases. Few spend the time to follow up or attend trials, like you do.
    It’s like local papers that run the police log publishing who got arrested, but no more. I have long believed that if they are going to publish who got arrested, they should also write up what happened in court, if it even got that far. We all know of matters that ended up nothing like the “crime” for which someone got arrested.
    Thanks for all you do.

  29. Glenn S. Says:

    Rebel, I get what you’re saying, but I find it difficult to stomach the intellectual laziness of today’s news media. I also believe that there’s some conspiritorial element at work. Consider that Sonny Barger’s autobiography was a best seller. I think any newspaper editor would have to concede that a more in-depth look at these situations would sell more papers. Or maybe studies have shown that people don’t want to be bothered with moral ambiguity and don’t want to be informed that there are no good guys and bad guys, just different sides in a conflict.

  30. rollinnorth Says:

    Glenn S.,
    Well put as to”just different sides in a conflict.”
    As for conspiratorial elements, I think it’s more of the various media outlets are all watching each other, trying to be on top of it all. They all want to be first with the “story” but none of them want to have a fiasco like Reuters seven mistakes about Marco Rubio.
    Newspapers generally are read while doing something else like eating breakfast or lunch or riding a bus. Readers scan headlines or look for the score of the game. As Keith and Mick wrote all those years ago, “Who wants yesterday papers, Nobody in the world.” This digital age of 24-hour news at your fingertips makes it worse.
    In-depth analysis is becoming a dying art. Thank heaven for Rebel.

  31. Glenn S. Says:

    A few lengthy stories have appeared in my hometown newspaper The Greenville [SC] News) lately. Here are a few examples:

    Story #1 was a gushing deep bow to BMW, which operates a large manufacturing plant in this area. Many BMW executives were interviewed, and all of them were “very excited” with the direction and future profitability of the company. They are especially excited that SC is a right-to-work state, and that the state government is unfriendly to unions, and that the governor appointed their former executive as Secretary of Labor. The rest of the story was not printed. It goes like this: A couple of decades ago, BMW was given a huge package of tax breaks to build its manufacturing facility here. For awhile, they paid their employees well and the compensation package included top-of-the-line health insurance and even cheap leases of BMW automobiles. The facility was profitable and expanded to include new lines of BMW vehicles. And BMW stopped hiring. Now they staff the production lines exclusively with lower paid temps, who are rarely, if ever, hired as full employees.

    Story #2 was another gushing deep bow to the area’s largest employer: the Greenville Hospital System, on the occasion of its 100 year aniversary. They didn’t mention that, lately, the hospital system has gone through the personnel records of its long term, top paid, administrative and clerical workers and fired a lot of them under the pretext that they lied on their original apps and resumes. These “lies” included such grevious moral lapses as being off a month or so on the dates of previous employment. Most of the fired employees were middle aged and had need of the employer provided insurance benefit. My wife and several of her co-workers were fired in this manner, and were told that, having been fired for cause, they were inelligible for unemployment compensation. They were replaced by young graduates of a local 2-year college, who were willing to work cheap.

    Story #3 appeared above-the-fold on the front page. It was an expose of the fact that (GASP) parents were smoking cigarettes in their vehicles as they waited to pick their children up from school. Various health care professionals and school officials prattled on, ad nauseam, about the dangers of second hand smoke. The cops promised to look into it.

    In a more perfect world, what passes for reporters these days would be in some cubicle writing instructions on how to assemble pressboard furniture and Rebel would have a box full of Pulitzer prizes.

    Rebel, if your numbers are down, it could only be because your site is hard to find. I stumbled on it by accident. Your writing is some of the best I’ve seen. As Rollinnorth said, “The other guys are not right and you are not wrong.”

  32. observer Says:

    From what I’ve read here, it seems Ablett was at the scene of the trouble simply because of (initially) the women, and (subsequently) the bike’s start problem. Is this something the defense can/wants to work with? Or is this info that is too unsubstantiated and in fact conflicts with official reports and testimony?

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