Dave Burgess, as I first pointed out here on February 9, 2009, was framed.
Burgess was, virtually by acclamation, the nicest Hells Angel you would ever want to meet – a kind, generous, compassionate guy with an artist’s soul and beautiful women draped on his arms – but he was framed anyway. He was framed because he made powerful enemies throughout his life. He was framed because he owned what was left of the Mustang Ranch. He was framed because his whore-earned prosperity enabled him, at least potentially, to make a difference in court cases brought against Hells Angels. And obviously, Burgess was framed to embarrass the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.
Burgess was accused of possessing almost two ounces of cocaine and marijuana following a “routine traffic stop” just outside Evanston, Wyoming on July 24th, 2007. Forty-five days later he was indicted for amassing the largest child pornography collection ever discovered. Burgess was, or so the official case against him went, so obsessed with child porn that he brought a backup of his collection with him. The jury that convicted him, and many Hells Angels around the world, were led to believe that Burgess had actually molested the daughter of one of his club brothers.
I always thought that all the accusations made against Dave Burgess were obvious lies. I spent three and a half years trying to determine exactly which branch of government was behind the framing. I was greatly assisted by a couple of people who were neither Hells Angels nor policemen. They know who they are. Without them the book never could have been written.
Burgess was framed as part of a great, plausibly deniable, federal conspiracy. I spent a long time looking at the FBI Anti-Terrorism Task Force in Las Vegas but I couldn’t pin the framing on them. In the book, I mention the SOD, the inter-agency Special Operations Division, as representative of the kind of secret task force that probably framed Burgess. But I can’t tell you specifically who was behind the frame up. The sad truth is that the American secret police establishment is just too Byzantine to be able to say the FBI did it or the ATF or Homeland Security did it. I could if I had subpoena powers but unfortunately, I don’t.
I can tell you that the plot to frame Dave Burgess was broad enough that a malfunctioning hard drive was stolen from a drawer in his home in Reno sometime before July 20, 2007 and what is apparently the same drive later appears in Cheyenne, Wyoming in September “chock full of porn.” I can tell you that the plot to frame Dave Burgess was transparent enough that almost everyone involved in it provably lied.
In the end, it doesn’t matter which secret federal police force imagined the framing of Dave Burgess. What I learned in writing this book is that very broad federal conspiracies are never carried out by the unscrupulous policemen who invent them. They are subcontracted. In Burgess’ case, the man who stole the hard drive and the people who actually fabricated evidence against Dave Burgess would never have had contact with one another.
In Burgess’ case, the dirty end of the stick was in Wyoming. The evidence used to frame Dave Burgess was fabricated in Cheyenne. That is where the facts point. It was a blatantly obvious conspiracy carried out by as many as a dozen members of the Wyoming Department of Criminal Investigation. The evidence points most directly at senior agents in the Internet Crimes Against Children Cheyenne Task Force, a federally funded “state” police agency.
The two agents who seem most likely to have actually fabricated the evidence against Burgess are named Flint Waters and Robert Leazenby. They had the time, the opportunity and skills to frame Burgess. Waters has made a fine career out of kiddie porn. He has appeared on Oprah, accompanied Laura Bush to Paris and he is now the Chief Information Officer for the State of Wyoming. He and Leazenby are both self-taught computer programmers.
There is a smoking gun in the case. As recently as the final day of Burgess’ trial it would have been absolutely possible to exonerate Dave Burgess and incriminate Waters, Leazenby or whoever else was involved in the plot. Unfortunately, Burgess was represented by a public defender named Jim Barrett, who is at least a nominee for worst defense lawyer in the world. The Burgess case is so extremely corrupt that it is impossible not to think Barrett was selected to defend Burgess because of his loathsome incompetence and stupidity. Before, during and after the trial the prosecutor in the case, Jim Anderson, pursued Burgess like a psychopath and readers can decide for themselves whether Anderson was involved in the plot to frame Burgess or not. And, readers can also decide for themselves whether the judge in the case, a man named Alan Bond Johnson, was actually in on the plot or whether he was simply the passive aggressive old bastard portrayed in the public record.
Johnson’s rulings in the case denied Dave Burgess a fair trial. Burgess was accused of possessing at least 58,000 obscene images. Anderson repeatedly told the judge and jury that the Burgess porn trove was much larger than that. At Burgess’ sentencing, Judge Johnson accused Burgess of possessing 30,000 more obscene images than had previously been asserted. Out of all of that, only two of those images were ever examined by an independent forensic “expert.” The expert was the Guamanian IT guy in the Denver federal defenders office. His name is DVDJ G-Funk. G-Funk looked at the Hex code hidden in two of the most incriminating photos. His examination lasted for 40 minutes on the last day of Burgess’ trial. Unfortunately G-Funk hardly knew what he was talking about and nobody else in the courtroom that day did either.
What appears to have been Burgess’ last chance at vindication unfolded last Spring. Burgess’ current cadre of lawyers moved for a look at the evidence used to convict him. The motion was based on the grounds that Judge Johnson had erred several times during the case and that Burgess’ lawyer was incompetent. Johnson turned them down and ended his 150 page decision with the chilling words, “Accordingly, no evidentiary hearing is required.”
Consequently, the evidence used to smear and imprison Dave Burgess and smear the Hells Angels has never been forensically examined except by the people who framed Burgess in the first place. Save two, the dirty pictures have been stared at but they have never been independently, forensically examined. And the obvious reason to deny Burgess an evidentiary hearing is that the evidence used to convict the man has now been destroyed – to protect the people who framed Burgess in the first place.
If you are intrigued by the Burgess case, or if you care about Dave Burgess, or if you are interested in the world of outlaw motorcycle clubs, or if you just happen to like the way I write you can learn and read more by buying a copy of Framing Dave Burgess: A True Story About Hells Angels, Sex And Justice by Donald Charles Davis. You can buy the book here.
If you really care about Dave Burgess, buy a bunch of copies. Keep one for yourself and give the rest away to people with the power to actually do something about this horrifying and grotesque miscarriage of justice.