Fri
01
Feb
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Mongols Motorcycle Club vows to fight trademark loss

(video) --- EAST LOS ANGELES (KABC) --

The federal government said they're a convicted criminal gang, and Hell's Angels consider them enemies. They call themselves the Mongols Motorcycle Club - and they're one of the most notorious MC groups in the world.

"It's about honor, respect and pride," David Santillan said.

But for this East L.A.-born brotherhood, the last few years have been a fight for survival. They've been under federal indictment for the last decade. And recently, a federal jury in Santa Ana convicted the national club of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy for murder, attempted murder and drug dealing.

More than 75 of their members were convicted - including their former president Ruben "Doc" Cavazos. But the biggest blow of all - hit them where it hurts the most, they lost the rights to their trademarked emblem.

Wed
16
Jan
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Federal judge to allow experts to weigh in on whether the government can seize Mongols motorcycle club’s trademark

The first-of-its-kind effort to take control of the outlaw motorcycle club's prized patches would break new legal ground

A federal judge presiding over the high-profile Mongols motorcycle club trial has agreed to put out a wide-ranging call for expert legal input on the implications of the government’s unprecedented efforts to gain control of the well-known insignia worn by club members.

Less than a week after a Santa Ana jury decided the notorious outlaw club must forfeit the trademark to its logo, U.S. District Judge David O. Carter on Wednesday agreed to solicit briefs from a variety of experts, including trademark attorneys, law school professors, civil rights organizations and think tanks.

Fri
11
Jan
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Jury Decides to Strip Mongols Biker Gang of Trademark Logo

Federal prosecutors say a California jury has decided the Mongols motorcycle gang should be stripped of its trademarked logo.

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A California jury decided Friday that the Mongols motorcycle gang should be stripped of its trademarked logo in a first-of-its-kind verdict, federal prosecutors said.

The jury in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana jury previously found Mongol Nation, the entity that owns the image of a Mongol warrior on a chopper, guilty of racketeering and conspiracy.

The verdict caps an unusual decade-long quest by prosecutors to dismantle the gang responsible for drug dealing and murder by seizing control of the trademark they said was core to the gang's identity.

Gang members were "empowered by these symbols that they wear like armor," Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Welk argued.

Tue
08
Jan
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Attorney: Government taking control of Mongols motorcycle club patches would be ‘death penalty’ for the group

Jurors, who have already determined the outlaw motorcycle club engaged in illegal activity, now tasked with deciding fate of the organizations trademark

Allowing the government to take control of the notorious Mongols motorcycle club’s prized patches would be a “death sentence” for the organization, an attorney for the outlaw club argued on Tuesday.

Fri
21
Dec
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Member of motorcycle gang sentenced to 30 months in prison for illegally possessing gun

A Spokane man and member of the Mongols outlaw motorcycle gang was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison Thursday by a federal judge.

Gabriel Trinidad Lopez, 38, pleaded guilty on July 12 to a charge of illegally possessing a firearm, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Law enforcement officers pulled over Lopez in Spokane on Nov. 4, 2017, because of numerous traffic violations, according to the news release. Lopez told officers he had a firearm, which was illegal because he is a convicted felon.

He also faces three years of probation after his sentence.

Thu
13
Dec
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U.S. government wins first round in trial to take ownership of Mongols Motorcycle Club’s prized patches

Since the case is focused on the Mongols organization, no specific individuals are facing jail or prison time

A federal jury on Thursday found that the notorious Mongols Motorcycle Club is guilty of racketeering, setting up a second phase of the trial at a Santa Ana courthouse where the government will try to seize control of the organization’s trademark.

Federal prosecutors want to take possession of the trademark so they can keep members from wearing the prized patches worn on the bikers’ vests, an attempt to break the back of the Mongols.

In finding the Mongols guilty of racketeering, jurors decided that the outlaw motorcycle club itself is a criminal organization that has supported drug trafficking and encouraged vicious assaults and even murder.

Tue
11
Dec
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Could a notorious biker club's survival hinge on a trademark? The feds are betting on it

When federal prosecutors finally managed to put mobster Al Capone behind bars, it wasn’t for murder or bootlegging, but tax evasion.

Fast forward several decades and government lawyers in Southern California say a similarly novel tactic could be the key to taking down the Mongols, a notorious motorcycle club that has long been targeted by authorities for killings and drug trafficking.

Instead of tax returns, the court battle this time will be won or lost in the decidedly unexciting trenches of trademark and forfeiture law.

Wed
05
Dec
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Mongols’ Defense: A Club Can’t Conspire With Itself

SANTA ANA, Calif. (CN) — A defense attorney for the Mongol Nation motorcycle club told a California jury Tuesday that federal prosecutors had not presented any evidence that the club ever violated racketeering laws or engaged in a conspiracy — indeed, he said, it could not be convicted of conspiracy because an entity cannot conspire with itself.

“There’s no evidence that the Mongol Nation conspired to do anything,” Joseph A. Yanny told the Orange County jury in his closing arguments.

“There are individual members” who have committed crimes, he acknowledged, but “there’s no evidence at all that the club joined in those activities.”

He said the club itself cannot be held liable for “isolated incidents committed by boneheads.”

Tue
04
Dec
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Trial Wraps Up in U.S. Attempt to Yank Motorcycle Club Trademark

A federal prosecutor Monday told jurors who were “witnesses to a lengthy parade of cruelty” for the past five weeks in a trial against a Los Angeles-based motorcycle club that they should vote to yank Mongol Nation’s trademark while the organization’s attorney argued it has been targeted because its membership is primarily Mexican-American.

“Over the past five weeks you’ve been witness to a lengthy parade of cruelty,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Welk said of the evidence presented of the club’s criminal history since its founding in 1969.

For the first time, federal prosecutors are trying to get a motorcycle club found guilty of racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering in order to have its trademark taken away. It would mean the club’s motorcyclists could no longer wear the patches they wear on their “cuts,” slang for leather jackets.

Wed
28
Nov
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Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura defends Mongols Motorcycle Club in federal court in Orange County

His testimony was part of an ongoing federal racketeering trial

Former Minnesota governor and retired pro wrestler Jesse Ventura testified in a Santa Ana courtroom Wednesday about his longstanding membership in the Mongols Motorcycle Club, defending the organization against government allegations that it has operated as a criminal enterprise.

Ventura, the highest profile member of the Mongols, took the stand as an expert witness in the midst of an ongoing federal racketeering trial in which prosecutors are attempting to gain control over the motorcycle club’s trademark name, a move that would allow law enforcement to bar the bikers from wearing the patches that adorn their vests.

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