The strange and sordid tragedy of Diamond Dan Bifield just got a little more cynical. According to multiple, independent, informed sources Lisa Ellen Bifield, Daniel Eugene “Diamond Dan” Bifield’s wife, has been cooperating with prosecutors since last July and will testify against the remaining defendants when they go on trial next month.
According to some of the same sources, Lisa Bifield has denied that she is cooperating. Her plea agreement is sealed. Much of the case remains sealed in order to frustrate public scrutiny of the case.
Hells Angels Threat
Officially, information about cooperating witnesses is sealed as a matter of safety. The judge in this case, the Honorable Cameron McGowan Currie, issued an order on December 10 to keep secret the names of the principal agents provocateur employed by the FBI during the investigation and three other informants who will not testify during the trial. Those principal informants are Joseph Dilulio and Marty DeLoach. Currie ordered the prosecution to release information about those defendants five business days before the start of trial.
In a motion filed on January 11, prosecutors asked Currie to keep secret “the identity and information about cooperating witnesses that are not co-defendants (until) five days prior to their testimony.” The government requested this secrecy because:
“Given the nature of the Hells Angels’ enterprise and potential threats against cooperating individuals, revealing the identity and details about these cooperating individuals at this time would fail to account for the substantial and serious threat to the safety of witnesses posed by defendants and their gang associates. Any benefits of disclosure at this stage do not come close to counterbalancing the substantial interests the Government and this Court have in protecting potential witnesses from violence and intimidation.”
“In addition to the practice of Hells Angels and their associates (both generally and with regard to members of this specific Chapter) intimidating and threatening witnesses, the Government has credible information that since the arrest of these defendants, members of the Hells Angels and their associates have threatened potential witnesses and at least one member of the prosecution team.”
Daniel Bifield pled guilty to racketeering conspiracy on January 3. Lisa Bifield pled guilty to a gun possession charge the same day. Dan Bifield understood his plea would be in exchange for better treatment and a lesser penalty for his wife. Dan Bifield understood that in return for pleading guilty he would probably serve the rest of his life in prison but his wife would be out in three years.
Before making his plea Dan Bifield wrote: “Anybody who knows me knows how I am. I always helped my wife at the bar and watched over her. We always travelled together. We were a happy family. I never had a woman love me like she has. It hurts deeply that she is suffering because of me….. Now I’m fighting for my wife, my club and my life. I am at the point where I don’t care what they do to me. I may spend the rest of my life in prison but I would never sell out the people I love and believe in. I will never turn my back on any of them.”
At his change of plea hearing Dan Bifield made this “Statement of Acceptance of Personal Responsibility.”
“Dan Bifield admits that he personally committed controlled substance and money-laundering offenses as part of the RICO conspiracy to which he pleads guilty. He wishes to emphasize his belief and experience that the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club (world-wide) and the South Carolina Nomads Chapter are not criminal enterprises, and that his crimes were not committed or in any way undertaken on behalf of or as a part of his participation in the activities of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club of which he is a member.
“Mr. Bifield also would like the record to reflect that he has not and will not under any circumstances cooperate with or testify for the government.”
If Dan Bifield was tricked into pleading guilty and making his statement about accepting responsibility, that trick did not violate the law or the standards of professional conduct for federal prosecutors or federal defenders.
The Bad Plea Deal
Even if Dan Bifield was romantically manipulated into his admission of guilt it seems likely that he is now stuck with the deal he made.
The agreement he signed contains the following provisions:
“…as part of this provision, the United States further agrees to permit Co-Defendant Lisa Ellen Bifield to plead guilty to Count 47, charging possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime or a crime of violence….”
“The Defendant agrees that all facts that determine his offense level under the Guidelines and pursuant to any mandatory minimum (including facts that support any specific offense characteristic or other enhancement or adjustment) can be found by the court at sentencing by a preponderance of the evidence standard and the court may consider any reliable evidence, including hearsay.”
“In the event that the Defendant fails to comply with any of the provisions of this Agreement, either expressed or implied, it is understood that the Government will have the right. at its sole election, to void all of its obligations under this Agreement and the Defendant will not have any right to withdraw his plea of guilty to the offense(s) enumerated herein.”
“The Defendant represents to the court that he has met with his attorney on a sufficient number of occasions and for a sufficient period of time to discuss the Defendant’s case and receive advice; that the Defendant has been truthful with his attorney and related all information of which the Defendant is aware pertaining to the case; that the Defendant and his attorney have discussed possible defenses, if any, to the charges in the Superseding Indictment including the existence of any exculpatory or favorable evidence or witness, discussed the Defendant’s right to a public trial by jury or by the Court, the right to the assistance of counsel throughout the proceedings. the right to confront and cross-examine the government’s witnesses, the Defendant’s right to testify in his own behalf, or to remain silent and have no adverse inferences drawn from his silence; and that the Defendant, with the advice of counsel, has weighed the relative benefits of a trial by jury or by the Court versus a plea of guilty pursuant to his Agreement, and has entered this Agreement as a matter of the Defendant’s free and voluntary choice, and not as a result of pressure or intimidation by any person.”
“The Defendant waives all rights, whether asserted directly or by a representative, to request or receive from any department or agency of the United States any records pertaining to the investigation or prosecution of this case, including without limitation any records that may be sought under the Freedom of Information Act,”