Vegas Tire Fire Continues

August 15, 2019

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Vegas Tire Fire Continues

This is day four of the Vagos racketeering trial in Las Vegas. Maybe you heard. Maybe you didn’t. If you live within 500 miles of Vegas maybe you have smelled it.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal’s coverage has been minimal. The case against the Vagos took nine years to duct tape together. After all that the government couldn’t come up with much more than innuendo, lies and snippets of Sons of Anarchy episodes.

This case is in Vegas instead of Los Angeles because what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas and the last thing the prosecutors want is for a couple of actual, investigative reporters to look at this trial. That’s why the government has taken to trying big, appallingly unjust, biker cases in places like San Antonio. The Feds venue-shop and they string these shows out for months just to make sure that Serge Kovaleski from the New York Times or somebody like that doesn’t show up and start telling the American people what goes on in their courthouses. And if some actual reporter does show up he is going to get stuck with a three-month hotel bill.

Not that that is actually anything the people have a right to know – the Review-Journal thinks it is no damn thing – but the people involved in this case do all have names.

Dramatis Personæ

The defendants are Pastor Palafox, Albert Lopez, Albert Perez, James Gillespie, Ernesto Gonzalez, Bradley Campos, Cesar Morales, and Diego Garcia. Palafox was the long time president of the Vagos Motorcycle Club. Gonzalez was convicted of the murder of a Hells Angel named Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew in a widely sensationalized and tragic brawl in Sparks, Nevada near Reno in 2011. The trial was rigged like a quiz show. The main witness against Gonzalez was the guy who started the brawl in the first place and he lied because those prosecutors bribed him to lie. The conviction was overturned on appeal and the liar, a former Vago from Los Angeles named Stuart Gary “Jabbers” Rudnick, recanted his testimony.

There are a murder of defense attorneys. Their names are Mark Fleming, Marcia Morrissey, Kathleen Bliss, Ivette Maningo, Christopher Oram, Shawn Perez, Michael Kennedy, David Fischer, Amy Jacks, Dan Hill, Andrea Luem and Jess Marchese. They have all been trained to talk. Amy Jacks and Dan Hill are trying to keep Pastor Palafox out of prison. Michael Kennedy and David Fischer are working to keep Ernesto Gonzalez free.

The judge is a woman named Gloria Navarro.  She went to UNLV law school then kicked around as a lawyer for about eight years. She worked as a state public defender for three years and in the Civil Division in the Clark County District Attorney’s office for four years until Obama appointed her to the federal bench.


The prosecutors are Daniel Schiess, John Han, and Tracey Batson and the defendant’s lives are all just pieces in a cruel game to them. In another time and place, in the bad old America, people would call them rude names and they would be tarred and decorated with chicken feathers.

Evidence games and so on, what Wendy Kaminer calls “games prosecutors play,” blight this case like roaches in a heat wave. The day of opening arguments there was an interesting discussion about tape recordings in which defendants may be heard to utter the forbidden word “nigger.” Navarro told them to clean up those tapes and the transcripts of them before presenting them to the jury.

Schiess complained. “Your Honor, with respect to the obligation to go through the recordings and the transcripts, there are a number of recordings. And there…this language that is now being raised, this is the way these people speak…constantly. So we’re going to have to go through every single recording, every single transcript, and some of the recordings don’t have transcripts, as you know, because they’re the videos that were taken inside the undercover….”

“I’m not saying you have to redact every F-word or every curse word,” Navarro interrupted, “but inasmuch as the way that the N-word is used in those transcripts is highly offensive and does not appear to have any prejudicial effect…I mean, any probative effect. It’s going to be prejudicial and, so, just redact the N-word.”

Schiess kept angling. “I understand. So….”

“But I’m not saying every curse word.” The judge tried to be reasonable. “Obviously, this is the way that they talk and everybody talks, quite frankly, nowadays.”

Getting Somebody

Somehow, who knows how, a story appeared in the Los Angeles Times that described a cop killer in Riverside, on the road to Las Vegas, as having “ties to the Vagos motorcycle gang, one of the nation’s largest and most dangerous outlaw biker gangs, alongside Hell’s Angels and the Mongols.”

The shooter wasn’t a Vago. One of the defenders brought it up and Navarro instructed the jury to try to ignore the slander that had suddenly appeared, out of air, in the fourth-most read newspaper in the United States at the beginning of this trial.

The prosecution’s first witness was the Los Angeles County Sheriff and ATF agent-aspirant Agostino Brancato.

This trial is about getting the people whom Schiess, Han and Batson are paid to get. The Department of Justice has nine years invested in this case. If you think Attorney General William Barr is going to let these Vagos get away with the imaginary crimes they didn’t commit you ought to get yourself a cup of coffee and spend a couple of minutes on Google News.

Brancato knows what he is expected to do. “If the leadership decides to declare war,” he told the jury as he mad dogged Palafox, “people are going to die.”

I have seen enough of Brancato on surveillance tape to know he is a really bad actor. But David Ferrara of the Review-Journal led his trial coverage this morning with that quote. Ferrara’s tone suggests that he thinks Brancato’s innuendo could be true. If this is like every other biker trial in the last decade, some of the jurors are already convinced Brancato’s testimony is true.

The only real questions are whether the prosecutors will try to expose the jury to the tall tales of former Vago and erstwhile Bible student Ashley Charles Wyatt, and failing that if they will finagle a way to suggest the jury watch a few episodes of Gangland Undercover on YouTube.



5 Responses to “Vegas Tire Fire Continues”

  1. Otherside Says:

    I’m in no way or shape a green supporter ( complete opposite) but I have to say TaTa was always level headed and old school. If he was around a lot of the dumb shit popping off lately wouldn’t. He was fair and he was a biker. He shouldn’t spend the rest of his life or even another minute in prison for being the leader that actually prevented a lot of violence. He bye far has saved more lives than he’s ever taken with his diplomacy..

  2. Not Surprised Says:

    Wearing MAGA hats and bitching about Nike and Volin…….

  3. Loner Says:

    What a fucking joke and a wast of time and money.Best of Luck to the Vagos.

  4. Phuquehed Says:

    The Review-Journal was useless asswipe back when I was 10 years old and we’d just moved to Vegas. It remained asswipe throughout my 15+/- years living there. They/its so-called journalists *never*, not once, did anything considered ‘good writing’, investigative or anything at all memorable…oh wait, I’m wrong, someone at that useless rag did get two articles handed to them in those 15 years – one was when Vegas got literally 12″ of snow (a record we as kids loved, of course!) and which still stands as a record, in ’75 or ’76 I think. The other was when the dam had its first overflow, sometime in the 80’s (I went to it and got to see a chick who happened to show up in a white t-shirt and didn’t realize all the fine spray from the overflow that was covering a huge area of the dam was making her shirt transparent…until I asked her if she wasn’t worried about getting a chest cold…then she was embarrassed as hell, smiled and hurried off back to her car, me laughing hard the whole time. – so yes, the Review-Journal *did* have two times in its miserable existence where it was actually correct about something and which was actually big news and they covered it like they’re supposed to do (unfortunately neither news item took any investigative skills or they’d have missed those also!).

  5. Storyteller Says:

    Screw the snitches.

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