The Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to vacate the convictions of former American Outlaws Association President Jack “Milwaukee Jack” Rosga and four other members of the motorcycle club. Those men are Leslie Werth, Harry McCall, Christopher Timbers and Mark Jason Fiel. All five had been convicted of racketeering and violence in aid of racketeering in separate trials in 2010.
The unpublished decision describes the Outlaws as: “a ‘one-percenter’ motorcycle gang, meaning that its members are part of the one percent of motorcyclists who decline to abide by societal rules and laws. Central to the organization is the culture of violence that it fosters. As relayed through trial testimony, frequent territorial disputes, particularly with the Outlaws’ main rival, the Hell’s (sic) Angels, involved the use of force or threatened force as the Outlaws sought to expand and maintain its territories for the sake of notoriety and financial gain. Within the organization, violence and the threat of violence were also used to maintain compliance with internal rules. The organization has a multi-level, well-organized chain of command.
Ghosts Of Black Rain
The infiltration of the Outlaws in the Southeast was really one of the closing chapters of Operation Black Rain – the infiltration of the Mongols Motorcycle Club by undercover agents and confidential informants working for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
In September 2008, shortly before the government returned a racketeering indictment against 79 Mongols, searched the homes of 100 more and attempted to seize the Mongols back patch, ATF Agents Jeffrey Grabman and Daniel Ozbolt as well as ATF Tactical Field Officers were patched into the Mongols Motorcycle Club and began discussions with Outlaws in Richmond, Virginia about “developing a relationship with the Mongols as a support club in the area.”
As described in the court’s decision, “By late October, Outlaws members expressed interest in the undercover agents joining the Outlaws and starting a chapter in the Richmond area. The agents were voted into the club in January 2009 as prospective members and ultimately started an Outlaws chapter in Petersburg, Virginia. By May 2009, the undercover agents had set up a clubhouse in the Petersburg area. Unbeknownst to the other Outlaws members, the undercover agents had wired the clubhouse for video and audio recording. During their time undercover, the agents participated in numerous Outlaws activities in a number of different states.”
The ATF Agents actually patched into the Outlaws on July 4, 2009. Grabman, whose club name was Gringo, was the president of the new Petersburg chapter. He had previously infiltrated the Warlocks Motorcycle Club in Florida.
The infiltration resulted in the arrests of 27 members and associates of the Outlaws on June 15, 2010.
Grounds For Appeal
The five appellants alleged numerous judicial errors during the course of the trials including errors in sentencing and the admission of evidence of wrongdoings by members of the AOA that were unrelated to the cases against the defendants.
The greater part of the appeal concerned instances in which defense attorneys were not allowed to delve into the professional histories ATF agents Grabman and Ozbolt. For examples, defenders were unable to examine sections of Grabman’s personnel file because the ATF had destroyed those documents. The appeals court stated that the government “did not clearly err” in not turning over the destroyed documents stating that “because the documents were no longer available, the defense cannot prove ‘that the evidence was suppressed by the government.’” As a case law precedent, the appeals court cited U.S. v. Moussaoui. Zacarias Moussaoui was part of the Al Qaeda plot put into actiona on September 11, 2001.
The learned judges also dismissed the appellants’ claims that they should have been allowed to question Ozbolt about his conduct during the investigation. The court replied, “If the defense had been permitted to cross-examine Ozbolt about these incidents, the government likely would have had to question Ozbolt about agency rules and policies for working undercover and about the dangers to Ozbolt and the investigation on whole if Ozbolt’s cover had been blown. Permitting inquiry into these issues would have needlessly complicated the case and confused the jury.”
Because the opinion is “unpublished” it does not become part of case law. But, it still counts.