Christie Trial Over

February 2, 2013

All Posts, Features, News

The two remaining defendants in the Christie case, George Gus Christie, Jr. and Kyle Douglas Gilbertson agreed to plea deals late Friday afternoon that will allow both men to stay free and get on with their lives. Christie pled guilty to two counts of conspiracy and left the courthouse without his ankle bracelet. Gilbertson pled guilty to one charge that may allow him to keep his job as an air traffic controller.

The agreements were reached after the second day of what promised to be the most informative and amusing biker trial ever. “Motorcycle gang expert” Jorge Gil-Blanco was scheduled to testify for the prosecution. Former Bandidos Motorcycle Club Presidente George Wegers and former Mongols Motorcycle Club member Al Cavazos, two men who both believed they were entrapped by federal police, were going to testify for the defense.

The presiding Judge in the case, The Honorable George H. Wu, seriously wanted to avoid trial. He allowed jury selection to linger for two full days. During that time Wu repeatedly encouraged the prosecutors, Jay Robinson and Carol Chen, and the defenders, Michael Mayock and Larry Bakman, to settle the case. On Friday Wu resorted to bribing the opposing parties with homemade cake if they would agree to a settlement.

Stakes High

The stakes were high for both sides. The government was probably about to lose. The defense intended to expose the essentially corrupt nature of federal motorcycle club cases. Worse, the loose and unconventional Wu was perilously close to establishing case law precedents that might ruin the prosecution of dozens of other motorcycle club cases present and future. In a pretrial hearing earlier in the week Wu had forbidden Gil-Blanco, who seemed star struck by Christie, to use the words “gang” and “outlaw” in his testimony. However Wu then continued to refer to “gangs” when he questioned prospective jurors. Even Larry Bakman made repeated references to “motorcycle gangs” when challenging juror prospects.

Christie faced two charges that carried minimum sentences of 30 years each and another charge that carried a mandatory sentence of life in prison. Gilbertson faced similar penalties.

The settlement was negotiated by another federal district judge, John Walter, during one three hour sit down after the trial recessed for the week. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

Throughout the course of the case the defendants and their relatives have been specifically forbidden to talk to The Aging Rebel. The prohibition remained in effect on Saturday and neither Christie nor Gilbertson nor Mayock nor Bakman have contributed to this story in any way. Multiple sources speaking on conditions of anonymity have contributed and verified the facts stated here. Christie and Gilbertson’s plea and sentencing agreements have not yet been filed with the court.

The Christie Sting

George Christie was a long-time President of the Ventura charter of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club before he retired from the club in the Spring of 2011. Because he is a bright, reasonable and charming man he became a frequent spokesman for the Angels. And, because his demeanor and appearance undermined law enforcement efforts to demonize the Angels as mythic villains Christie himself became a federal law enforcement target from about 1980 onward.

Federal police go after Christie about every ten years. In 1987 he was tried and acquitted of solicitation to murder. In 1998 he was arrested and thrown into solitary confinement until he pled guilty to conspiracy to sell prescription drugs and no contest to a charge of filing a false tax return.

The Department of Justice went after Christie again in 2007. The most recent attempt to get George Christie was roughly contemporaneous with an ATF undercover investigation of the Mongols Motorcycle Club called Operation Black Rain. Black Rain began with the recruitment of a Mongols patch holder in Ventura named T.J. Stansbury in June 2005. Stansbury was well acquainted with the tattoo business in Ventura County. One of the first persons Stansbury entrapped was a tattoo artist named William “Target” Owens. Owens was President of the Mongols Ventura chapter. The first ATF undercover agent introduced to the Mongols by Stansbury was Greg Giaoni. Giaoni has “Dirty White Boy” tattooed on his chest. The tattoo was put there by Target Owens.

Mongols And Angels

When Black Rain began, three years after a well-publicized fight between Mongols and Hells Angels in Laughlin, Nevada, relations between the two clubs were very tense but less so in Ventura County than elsewhere. Owens knew Christie and has spoken glowingly about him. Christie was a participant in one of the first altercations between Mongols and Hells Angels in 1978 but eventually, for both pragmatic and idealistic reasons, he became a dove in the often violent dispute between the two clubs. Throughout the first decade of the new millennium, federal police provably welcomed conflict between Mongols and Angels.

For example, the fight between the clubs in Laughlin was clearly preventable, but was allowed to escalate over a period of two days by undercover federal agents. The hour-long, immediate prelude to the fight between the clubs was observed by federal agents in the video surveillance room at Harrah’s Laughlin. The ATF apparently had confidential informants among the Mongols when the fight began. And, the fight itself became the rationale behind a massive undercover effort to destroy the Mongols and the Hells Angels that included both Operation Black Rain and an investigation of the Hells Angels that came to be called Operation Black Biscuit. It was in that context that Christie became the target of an investigation by the FBI.

The operation that originally targeted Christie was a sideshow in a grand government strategy to encourage violent crime between motorcycle clubs. Federal police could then take credit for saving the public from a situation those saviors had created.

Until yesterday’s settlement was reached, Christie was being tried for conspiring to firebomb two Ventura tattoo shops named Scratch the Surface and Twisted Ink. Until he sold the business last month, Christie was the owner and proprietor of a tattoo parlor called The Ink House. The prosecution in the recent case has alleged that Christie had the two shops firebombed because he wanted to drive his competitors out of business. However, if the prosecution had not thrown in the towel yesterday, the defense attorneys would have offered the jury an alternative version of what was actually going on.

FBI Tattoos

Several of the artists who worked at the firebombed tattoo shops had ties to the Mongols. The extent to which the government actually created those firebombed shops is still unclear. Christie probably would have testified that his interest in the shops was not about destroying his competition but about keeping what peace he could between Mongols and Hells Angels in Ventura. The defense might have been able to prove that the two shops were opened just down the street from Christie’s business in order to provoke Christie and the Ventura Hells Angels. Surveillance video cameras in the two shops were supplied by the FBI. The cameras were maintained by the FBI and supplied much of the evidence the prosecution hoped to use.

In a court document filed last December, prosecutors bragged that they had video evidence of Gilbertson’s participation in the alleged conspiracy.

“Consequently, on or about June 4, 2007,” one passage begins, “Co-conspirator One met with defendant Gilbertson and relayed defendant Christie’s orders to him. Later that night, at 9:27 P.M., defendant Gilbertson walked into “Scratch the Surface,” accompanied by Brian Russell, Rick Russell, Benji Hurtado, and an unidentified male. Once inside the business, defendant Gilbertson, B. Russell, and R. Russell walked up to the two employees working at the time of the incident and each said the following: ‘There is only one tattoo shop in this town.’ ‘Pack up your stuff.’ ‘Your time is up.’ ‘Pass it on to the owner.’ ‘We’ll be back.’ Defendant Gilbertson and the other individuals then walked out of Scratch the Surface. The entirety of this incident was captured on the shop’s security camera.’

The Christie Sting

Of course it was. That’s why the FBI put the cameras in the shop in the first place. That was why the FBI hired two of the co-conspirators in the case, James David Ivans, Jr. and Jared Ostrum “Crash” Plomell, and paid them at least $60,000. The FBI wanted to inflame passions between Mongols and Hells Angels in Ventura and get George Christie at the same time. The FBI cameras failed to operate only once during the “investigation.” That was the night, according to prosecutors, “Defendant Christie personally walked into Scratch the Surface in February 2007 (and) asked employees if they knew who he was.” Christie went there to try to encourage peace between Mongols and Angels. The mysteriously malfunctioning video could have proven that.

Interesting though a trial would have been, there is no certainty that Christie and Gilbertson would have won. If the questioning of prospective jurors this week proved anything it was that at least 20 percent of good citizens in Southern California have seen the biker drama Sons of Anarchy and most of them think the show reflects the reality of motorcycle clubs. The opinions of prospective jurors about outlaw clubs has also been significantly effected by reality shows like Gangland. And, nobody can or will stop calling the Hells Angels a “gang.”

The Christie trial could have forever changed American attitudes about the ongoing war between cops and outlaws. Or, it could have simply ruined the lives of two more innocent men. In the end Christie and Gilbertson, after almost two years of extra-judicial punishment, decided to give the prosecution a paper verdict and walk away free.

And, Judge Wu made good on his promise of free cake. And the prosecutors, by the way, didn’t get any.



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35 Responses to “Christie Trial Over”

  1. george Isa punk Says:

    Jim666, I am glad you responded to my post! I read these blogs and just get furious about some of the Fucking idiots that Speak on the behalf of a man they know nothing about! I am not a Internet tough guy, I am just one of the many young men that ate , drank, and slept George Christie.this started when we were to young to have a drivers license and could only dream of the day when we would get harleys of our own! No strangers to the life style because a few of our father’s had harleys but all of our family’s had been in ventura & ojai for long before George himself lived here! Now he did grow up in camarillo as a only child & to the most wonderful, loving & caring parents a child could ask for& I say this because I was very close with both of them

  2. Jim666 Says:

    George isa punk.
    you are entitled to your opinion as are everyone in the U.S. but George is not a man I would call a punk, sure he did a lot of wrong but he was also a friend to me at one time, we no longer speak for obvious reasons, but I have to disagree w/ your opinion of him, no hard feelings against you, Im sure you have your reasons,
    Respects Jim666

  3. George isa punk Says:

    George Christie is a Dick sucking punk who is out in bad standing and never loved anyone but himself & money! He used and manipulated any and everyone that crossed his path!He sold his bike & melted down jewelry that did not belong to him for money! He still tries to sell posters of himself on ebay that no one will buy because he is a fucking lame!

  4. Blind Tom Says:

    And besides it’s set up so you can accuse a club of being a gang, regardless of anything to the contrary. Country has been brainwashed. Just lump all bikers together including the dentist with the CVO and the kid with the beater Sportster as a “gang,” and you have headlines for days. Meanwhile the country slides further into the shithole it has become since 1960…

  5. Blind Tom Says:

    Why don’t they go after street gangs? Simple, cause they are scared shitless of them. There are whole swaths of this country that are off limits. Cops aren’t going in there, they’ll get killed. So they pick the easy targets. You can count all club members in the thousands. Thugs are in the millions.

  6. Rebel Says:

    Dear Stephen Cohen,

    I agree with you. I don’t know if Mike Mayock is the best criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles but I think he’s in the conversation.

    He also practices out of state. I think enough of him that I sent one of his motions to a lawyer working on a different case last week. I don’t know what he charges but I do know that he wins a lot of difficult cases. His website is here.

  7. Stephen Cohen Says:

    First, George Christie was a lucky man to get Michael Mayock as his attorney. I have known Michael Mayock for many years and there is no doubt in my mind, that the government knew that Mayock was going to win this case.

    Mr. Mayock has a long record of winning cases in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. Mayock comes to court well prepared.

    I remember the Mexican Mafia case where everyone was convicted and most were sentenced to life however, Mr. Mayock’s client was found not guilty.

    This same judge sentenced Mr. Mayock’s client in another case to straight probation when the government wanted 56 months and the probation report requested even more time.

    If I was George, I would bless the day he got Mayock as his attorney.
    Stephen Cohen

  8. stroker Says:

    Mr. McGee, I agree.

    @Sleddog: There actually is a national COC, it’s called NCOM (National Coalition of Motorcyclists:

    Admittedly, this is the brain-child of Richard Lester, an attorney who uses us to further his own ends, but at the same time shit really does get done. Read elesewhere in Rebels logs, and you’ll see that the Nevada COC is at this moment taking Las Vegas to task. Point being, that even though Lester set this up to fatten his pockets (another form of ambulance chasing) those of us that belong to a COC use this venue to further our own agendas, which includes filing lawsuits against unjust LEO bullshit, and keeping the lines of communication open between all participating clubs in our areas.
    This May, the National Convention will be held in Reno at the Silver Legacy (and, yes, we can wear our cuts), and will be attended by MCs from all over the US. (Dates May 9-12)

    Not all clubs belong to a COC, but most of the well-established ones do, including the top 5. The dynamics are different in each area (You don’t see too many HA in Outlaw country when conventions are held there, and vice-versa)….but these conventions are neutral ground, and all attending have (for the most part) made every effort to keep grudges and animosity out, and get on with the business of keeping Johnny Law at bay.

    I’ve attended over a dozen or more of these things over the years, and have always come away having learned something new, and meet many old friends from all over the country.

    If any of you have been, you know what I mean.


  9. Dirty Dingus McGee Says:

    IO sez;

    “but to many people by into the bullshit about each other over and over…”

    When the History channel started running the Gangland series, the first one I saw was on some street gang. I watched and was thinking “DAMN”( having never belonged to a street gang, and my perception of them based on personal observation). Then I seen another on a 1% club and again thought “DAMN”.

    Then they did one on the club I belong to. After watching for a few minutes, I wondered if this was perhaps a different club, using the same name. Out of the 45 minutes in that show, maybe 1-2 minutes were the actual truth.

    So that got me to thinking; If that much bullshit was spread about the club I belong to, must be a pretty good chance it was the same thing on the other clubs/street gangs. Luckily there is this gizmo called the Internet where you can do your own research, and find sites such as this(been reading here for 5-6 years, just recently started posting), and others of a similar vein.

    Sadly, the general public can’t be bothered to search out truth and are content to swallow the poison that is dangled out there by LEO and the MSM.

    As to why bikers are targeted, I think the reasons are basically 2;

    1st, we are “low hanging fruit”. As opposed to a street gang hiding in an abandoned house, we hang up big signs showing where we are and wear distinguishing clothing that can be seen and understood by all. Makes it easy for the Roscoe P Coltrane’s of the world to find us.

    2nd; We are thought of as “big scary men” and street gangs are “big scary negro’s(or illegals). But it’s far easier, and less dangerous, to ingratiate yourself with a bunch of guys swilling beer and riding bikes, than a street gang who’s sole purpose is selling drugs.


  10. IO Says:

    Unfortunately every American walk of life, white, black, latino, hispanic, etc… has a “moral conservative law and order” group that uses the same arguments for more police, more prosecution, and more jails to be built. There are those hypocritical do-gooders in every culture and ethnicity, they’re everywhere. RICO cases against any group, whether its an MC RICO case, a Blood RICO case, a Latin King RICO case, etc…their all pretty much the same, feds making shit bigger than it is to fill up those prisons and bloat their budgets.

    But Glenn you are right, people who are worried about their political freedoms and social rights in this country no matter what ethnicity should back up any injustice at any time. Just like a national COC wold be amazing to see, seeing everyone no matter who they unite and stand together against attacks by the government would be an amazing sight…but to many people by into the bullshit about each other over and over…

  11. pizzo Says:

    fucken goverment needs to go after these fuckin chomos that u see on datelines to catch a preditor
    how many 1%ers do u see on to catch a predetor ? none

  12. Glenn S. Says:

    The “street gangs” are generally made up of ethnic minorities, i.e. “African Americans”. Task forces like the ones formed to arrest members of motorcycle clubs would surely bring the reverends Jesse and Al out of the woodwork to do the talk show circuit about illegal police tactics and discriminatory strategies. The feds’ bullshit would be put under a stronger microscope and the public might see it for what it is. Court TV would broadcast the trials, updates would probably be on the national news, crying auntees would be interviewed wondering why the pigs are allowed to entice their little darling straight-A-student nephews to sell crack rocks and then arrest them for doing so. Competent attorneys would represent defendants pro bono. Urban judges that used to be civil rights activists are a little more cynical about law enforcement and don’t always rubber stamp the government’s bullshit, where conservative judges in more rural venues like Rock Hill, SC, usually do. The black legislative caucus might try to cut the relevant law enforcement agency’s funding. Plus, the more successful “street gangs” earn a lot, make political donations, and keep high dollar lawyers on retainer.

    White, working class men are politically correct targets. And when we’re really not the highly successful master criminals we’re made out to be, we don’t have the funds to mount a good defense.

  13. sleddog Says:

    @ Stoker

    I hear what you are saying. If it is the truth, and since we are never going to run away and hide, maybe the wakeup call should be sounded for us. As stated before in this forum, clubs need to learn to work together. A national COC? I don’t believe it’s possible,but I do believe it’s necessary


  14. IO Says:

    I am so glad to see atleast two people walk away from the clutches of the Feds! Though I hope that one day soon some “gang” will walk away with am across the board not guilty verdict, set some precedent to get more people out of harms way!


  15. stroker Says:


    I agree with everything you said. To go further, your question might be:
    “Why are they after MCs and not street gangs?”
    The answer is because we’re easy. We’re not hiding, we’re right out there for all to see. We wear our colors for all to see. We look scary. We do mildly illegal things. At times we do not mild illegal things.
    Bikers like the thrill of it all. The open road, a big machine, and maybe a mood altering substance or two to set the whole thing right.
    And we’re not very good at hiding anything.
    Street gangs are by necessity and nature, underground, sneak-around, groups of kids, who are taught by other somewhat older kids to do all the gang things street gangs do. Most can’t afford a car, let alone a motorcycle. But, they can get or are given guns, to promote or further their gang’s agenda (usually turf related). Then they run and hide.
    I believe they are much harder to infiltrate, given the young age of most of the members. Much harder to actually take down.
    Us? Hell, we’re easy. And “cops vs bikers” always gets press….all of it inflamatory, and designed to make the cops out as heros, and us….
    well you know what I mean.
    Bottom line, too much work to go after street gangs.


  16. sleddog Says:

    So stupid! All the time and money the government wastes on trying to “bring down” motorcycle clubs when the black, latin and asian street GANGS are a far bigger threat to this country. Time for a HUGE wakeup call

  17. Junior Says:


    Yeah it’s a living. They ARE helping to destroy the life of Outlaw Bikers by “validating” what straight people view on TV. We know, as do the PH actors, that SoA is bullshit but the sheeple think what they are seeing is the “real deal” and then when the sheeple find out that a real PH is in the show it “confirms” (in their mind) their warped idea of club life. IMHO, PH’s of real clubs shouldn’t be involved in SoA (or any other show) period. -Junior

  18. OC VAGO Says:

    Good God what an incredible waste of time, effort and tax payer money.
    Enjoy your retirement Mr. Christie.

  19. Rebel Says:

    Dear I.J.,

    I think the guys who ride in the show are doing it for the money. It is a living.


  20. I.J Says:

    Why are 1% members participating in Sons of Anarchy? They are helping to destroy the life of Outlaw Bikers by validating what straight people view on TV. All they are doing is thinking of the money they can earn today and not thinking of the future lives that will come after them. How can a man stand up in court and state that it’s not like that in real life when the jury have seen this mans brothers on TV doing shit. If you want fame and notoriety then the price you pay is attention…….

  21. Paula Cranford Says:

    I have known George Christie for 40 years and it is a disgrace what has been done to him in the name of ‘justice’! Just know it could happen to you and me! Nobody is immune. Get involved people!

  22. fuzz Says:

    The court prohibiting the defendants and family from talking to the aging rebel, comes very close to a 1st amendment violation. Shows the power of the press [internet]. They fear having thier games made public because the public does write letters and make calls that embarass the pigs. Thanks Rebel and keep up the good work.

  23. Rebel Says:

    Dear 00-81,

    Different guy.


  24. Sieg Says:

    If the Big Five ever sat down and agreed on a treaty that would cover the all of them, the fed Beast would shit a brick. The combined power of the Clubs would be something to see.

    I won’t hold my breath, but man, it would be a trip to have the Beast worry about us instead of us worrying about the Beast.

    5 to 1

  25. Rookery Says:

    Provoking and encouraging conflict between MC’s by any means possible has been a central plank of LEO for some years. Some of this falls under a FBI sponsored concept called Operation or project Monitor, a massive far reaching set of guidelines for dirty tricks against MC’s that has been adopted with great gusto by gang cops world wide. If you dig around on the HAMC Germany website and the press links (in German) you can get a taste of what’s going on behind your back in your own countries.
    Danish cops back in the eighties discovered early on that so called biker wars and tabloid headlines were a perfect formula to manipulate panicked politicians into passing equipment budgets and repressive legislation.
    They then passed this concept onto law enforcement in the states. All the Alphabet agencies have used it against ‘us’ ever since.
    The concept of ‘Monitor’ was rewritten by a ex Danish biker cop called Manfred Steiner in the mid Ninetys at the request of the American feds and is now the background bible of all efforts against MC clubs world wide.

  26. 00-81 Says:

    Is the Jay Richardson you mentioned here the same prosecutor in Diamond Dan’s case in SC?

  27. shovelNY Says:

    just googled George,Rebel seems to be the only reporter who bothered to cover the verdict.
    when they busted him it was nationwide on the wire services

  28. Paladin Says:

    The charges against Christie were patently absurd. However, Christie may not be totally out of the woods. At some point, the feds may try to re-arrest Christie for conspiring to have a decent and peaceful life with his family.

    Long May You Ride (to those that deserve to),


  29. Glenn S Says:

    Sometimes there’s a difference between the best result possible and the best possible result. I’m glad Mr. Christie will be a free man. Hopefully, they will let him enjoy his retirement in peace.

  30. Shyster Says:

    Wu said “bicycle gang” twice during his voir dire.


  31. Samurai Says:

    off topic i know but we’re always told to click the links and help rebel out, i was just looking at them on this article and one was to get your criminal justice degree online lol

  32. TL Says:

    Well- written article!! Very happy that George is getting on with his life and hope this incident marks the end of Federally Fabricated Lies that seem to be the intent of the feds regarding the two- wheeled community.

  33. Hermis Says:

    The FBI, ATF, and all other Federal “Law Enforcement” personal SUCK, dirty scumbag bastards!!

  34. WARTHOG Says:

    Amen, Sieg, amen.

    Great article as usual, Rebel. Loved the accompanying video as well.




  35. Sieg Says:

    If these gentlemen walked out of court free, then even with a felony conviction they beat the odds. Defendants in cases brought by the Beast overwhelmingly cop a plea, something like 96% of them, and of the remaining 4%, only a handful are acquitted. Those that are convicted after a trial are typically maxed-out.

    To go with that, you can be represented by a Federal Defender, which is a misappelation for a Federal Offender. These slugs make all or most of their living representing those charged by the very Prostitutors who arrange for them to profit from the cases. They certainly aren’t going to bite the hand that feeds them. At most, they will gum it gently and then back down. Your alternative is to retain private council, and that means deep pockets. Very deep poockets. Even to plead someone out, you can expect a good attorney to be north of 20K for any significant case, and it can go north of there rapiidly.

    IT sucks. I’m glad they’re shut of it.

    5 to 1

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