Another defense witness invokes the Fifth in Bandidos trial

THUMPERRRR's picture

A defense witness who reportedly was to contradict a portion of the government’s racketeering case against the former top two leaders of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club instead invoked his right to remain silent Friday.

Michael Anderson, a member of the Bandidos called by lawyers for former national Bandidos president Jeffrey Fay Pike, invoked his Fifth Amendment right after being informed that he could face charges in a bar incident in Fort Worth in which a member of a rival group was shot and killed. He was the second witness called by Pike’s lawyers this week to decide not to testify.

Anderson’s about-face came in the racketeering trial of Pike and his co-defendant, former Bandidos national vice president John Xavier Portillo. After Senior U.S. District Judge David Ezra was apprised of the situation, he appointed Anderson a lawyer and stopped public proceedings to look into the matter further.

The judge closed the courtroom to investigate claims by Pike’s lead lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, that federal prosecutors colluded with state prosecutors in Fort Worth to scare the witness into not testifying. Though the audience was able to witness part of the unusual situation, jurors did not see any of this because the judge took the issue up — and Anderson invoking his constitutional right — when they were not in the courtroom.

DeGuerin said Anderson was willing to testify and refute earlier testimony that several Bandidos members came in shooting when they entered a Fort Worth bar in December 2014 to attack members of the Cossacks Motorcycle Club and its supporters. Geoffrey Brady, a supporter of the Cossacks, was shot dead, and Anderson and another Bandido were shot but survived.

Howard Wayne Baker, 62, the president of the Fort Worth chapter of the Bandidos, was sentenced to 40 years in prison after being convicted under Texas’ law of parties with Brady’s murder. Brady’s killing is also included in a 13-count federal racketeering indictment charging Pike and Portillo of ordering, approving or sanctioning Bandidos members to kill, beat, extort or intimidate rival or fellow bikers.

DeGuerin told the judge that Anderson had been informed by Tarrant County Assistant District Attorney Pamela Boggess that he would not be charged in the bar incident because he was considered a victim. Anderson, according to DeGuerin, is listed as the complainant in an indictment charging another man with aggravated assault in that bar fight.

But DeGuerin said Anderson was “stunned” when DeGuerin relayed information Friday morning from Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Fuchs that Boggess now planned to charge him in the matter.

“I’m concerned this is collusion between the prosecutors here and (Boggess) to deprive us of a witness, and I want to get that on the record,” DeGuerin told Ezra. “This is just so frustrating to me that this is a man who wants to testify. But it seems they are doing this to keep him off the stand.” This man is the complainant in a criminal case they brought. How are they going to charge him? That would be ludicrous.”

Portillo’s lead lawyer, Mark Stevens, joined in DeGuerin’s argument.

Fuchs assured the judge that he did not collude with Boggess. Fuchs said he called Boggess after being given a list of witnesses late Thursday that DeGuerin might call to testify on Friday. Anderson was on that list, and Boggess informed Fuchs that Anderson faced prosecution on state charges in Fort Worth.

“I did have a duty to inform the court about his culpability, and that’s what I did,” Fuchs said.


As part of his inquiry, the judge briefly cleared the courtroom to speak by phone with Boggess and her supervisor.

“They had been looking at Mr. Anderson for quite some time,” the judge said after reopening the court. “He remains a person of serious interest. I asked … whether Mr. Anderson is realistically in jeopardy, and the answer was yes. Under those circumstances, I am convinced there is absolutely no collusion.”

Anderson was the last of four witnesses called by Pike’s legal team Friday, which could possibly finish its case mid-Tuesday.

The witnesses included defense expert William Dulaney, who studies motorcycle clubs. Dulaney’s testimony included the origins of motorcycle clubs and myths that demonize some of them. For instance, Dulaney said the term “outlaw motorcycle club” originated from some bikers parting ways with the American Motorcycle Association for implementing rules that included being sober for racing events. He said outlaw doesn’t mean criminal.

“It just means they’re not members of the AMA,” Dulaney said. “No more criminal than outlaw country music.”

He also said the AMA has denounced ever making a statement often attributed to it — that 99 percent of bikers are law-abiding citizens, implying that the remaining 1 percent are outlaws.

Pike testified for three days this week in his own defense. Portillo’s lawyer Stevens told the judge that no decision has been made whether Portillo will testify, but that his team may start calling its witnesses on Tuesday.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet
Group / Club: 
News Article written by: 
Source of News article:

Related Articles

Elk Hunt   Fly Fishing Guide
  Silver Stock
  Biker News

Disclaimer: The opinions in this article are solely those of the writer, and may not reflect the beliefs of anyone at the Biker News Network/Outlaw Biker World. This site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, human rights, economic, democracy, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. If you believe that your copyrighted work has been copied in a way that constitutes copyright infringement and is accessible on this site or through this service, you may notify our copyright agent, as set forth in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA). For your complaint to be valid under the DMCA, it must meet certain criteria, and you must Click Here to contact acting agent.