Lisa Bifield, one of the prosecution’s most important witnesses in the Rock Hell Angels case in Columbia, South Carolina might not testify after all.
The larger than life Bifield, who is married to the larger than life Diamond Dan Bifield, has been described by numerous persons with knowledge of the case as a “loose cannon” but prosecutors seem to have discovered this facet of her personality only recently. Two days ago government attorneys were virtually forced to dismiss charges against one of the original defendants in the case, Somying Anderson, after Lisa Bifield changed her recollection of a cocaine deal with a paid informant named Joe Dilulio.
Around the same time, Dan Bifield was telling anyone who would listen that he didn’t think his wife would testify.
The most remarkable thing about the case in Columbia, now called United States versus Mark Baker et al., is that HBO Films hasn’t sent a camera crew and a field producer to cover the trial. This has been an extraordinary case so far: Astoundingly corrupt; its course warped by a tall, supernaturally dark-haired, witch of a judge; exemplifying class warfare in the new south; glamorized by good-old-boy Hells Angels; and at its heart a compelling and constantly surprising love story featuring an old outlaw and an aging club dancer.
Lisa Bifield convinced Diamond Dan Bifield to spend the rest of his life in prison for her. The implications of who this woman might be seem to just now be dawning on Julius N. “Jay” Richardson – the perfect, University of Chicago Law School Grad and Supreme Court of the United States clerk who has spent too much of his life polishing his career to have time to meet a woman as interesting as Lisa. Even from a continent away it is obvious that this is Lisa Bifield’s world and she will find a way to do what she wants with it.
There is, of course, a clause in Mrs. Bifield’s super secret plea deal that compels her to testify in a cheerful and cooperative manner or stand trial herself. Apparently Richardson never anticipated how much wiggle room that might allow a woman like Lisa and what power she might exert over a jury. The golden Assistant United States Attorney might put Lisa Bifield on the stand. He might threaten her with decades in prison if she doesn’t parrot what he wants her to say. But he has no more idea what Lisa is going to say or do next than anybody else in the Carolinas. The one exception to that is her husband who knows her better than anyone else. He thinks she will not testify which is why Richardson, unless he really is as arrogant as he seems, might not even put her on the stand.
Meanwhile Ronald Dean Byrum Jr., who pled guilty to something or other as part of a sealed plea deal on January 17, probably will testify at the trial after it starts Monday. Byrum illustrates a basic axiom of motorcycle club cases, which is that the real investigation doesn’t start until after everybody is indicted.
Byrum has known lead defendant Mark Baker since Baker rode with the God’s Few Motorcycle Club.
Byrum may have come to an agreement with prosecutors before Labor day. Shortly after that, Baker and his old friend Byrum became cell mates. They talked about the case for hours, looked over discovery together and almost immediately Baker began to share information with Byrum.
Byrum has briefed investigators about his version of his conversations with Baker. Byrum has also told investigators about possible criminal activity by acquaintances of Baker’s who have not yet been indicted.