Battle over information continues in Hells Angels case

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LAKEPORT -- A battle for information continues in the case of three Hells Angels Motorcycle Club members who allegedly beat a member of a rival motorcycle club nearly three years ago. 

The court revisited the case Friday afternoon to address a motion by the defense on behalf of defendants Timothy R. Bianchi, Nicholas F. Carrillo and Josh L. Johnson. The defense asked for information they allege may prove a connection between the Lake County Sheriff's Office and the Vagos Motorcycle Club. 

The motion was previously reviewed on March 7, but Judge David W. Herrick ruled the motion was too broad and instructed the defense to rewrite it. Herrick reviewed the rewritten motion, but presented conflicts with some of the language on the amended motion. 

Herrick said he would rewrite some of the conflicting language on the motion and return for ruling Friday. Setting of trial dates will also be discussed during that hearing.

The motion requested the judge to instruct the prosecution to turn over all evidence possessed by the DA's Office, Lake County Sheriff's Office and one of the prosecution's expected leading witnesses Jorge Gil-Blanco relating to the case. 

The motion would require Deputy District Attorney Art Grothe to gather the information and turn it over to the defense, much of which is not readily available to him, he argued. 

The motion was originally broader, but the defense, mainly represented by attorney Michael Clough, agreed to narrow down the request. 

The defense also asked for any evidence that the members of the Vagos provoked/instigated the altercation between the three members of the Hells Angels and the member of the Vagos. Judge Herrick said the term "provoke" was too broad and suggested to include only instigated or "manufactured conflict." 

Grothe argued the term instigated was still broad and asked to court for a precise definition. 

Clough argued that without the information, the defense would not know if Gil-Blanco was omitting information that would suggest the alleged link between the LCSO and the Vagos during trial. He added that if they receive the information, they can use it to cross-examine Gil-Blanco on the subject in an effort to prove any suspected omission. 

Grothe expressed concerns with what the motion would make him responsible for, including knowing what information he would be accountable for turning over. He also showed concerns with the motion being too broad. He asked the court for specific instruction on what evidence to turn over. 

The defense ultimately agreed to narrow down the request. 

The charges against Bianchi, Carrillo and Johnson stem from an alleged fight in June 2011 at the Konocti Vista Casino. The trio allegedly "severely beat," a member of the Vagos Motorcycle Club during a tattoo convention, according to the LCSO.

The prosecution alleges that the defendants were acting as Hells Angels members when the alleged attack occurred. 

The charges against the defendants include assault with a deadly weapon, battery, fighting in a public place and a gang enhancement. 

The defendants, who await trial out of custody, were not present in court Friday.

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Isaac Brambila
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