Thu
26
Apr
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Prosecutors rest their case in Bandidos trial

Prosecutors rested their case Wednesday in the racketeering trial of two former top leaders of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club — ex-national president Jeffrey Fay Pike and then-vice president John Xavier Portillo — weeks earlier than expected and to the surprise of the defense.

Senior U.S. District Judge David Ezra then denied motions for acquittal from the defense, which argued that prosecutors failed to show sufficient evidence to support the crimes listed in a 27-page indictment against the defendants.

With jurors dismissed for the day, the judge noted the law required him to view the evidence in the light most favorable to the government, and he found that prosecutors made sufficient showing for all 13 charges to remain against Portillo and Pike. The judge said the evidence was less direct against Pike than Portillo, “and this may be, as the government alleges, because Mr. Pike was very smart and astute and insulated himself.”

Tue
24
Apr
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Judge denies mistrial in Bandidos racketeering trial

A federal judge on Tuesday rejected a request for a mistrial in the racketeering trial of two former top Bandidos leaders, but strongly warned prosecutors to abide by his rulings barring certain evidence from coming in.

The admonishment by Senior U.S. District Judge David Ezra came after a federal agent mentioned a television news clip that said Bandidos had attacked members of the Cossacks Motorcycle Club at a bar in Port Aransas in August 2015.

Outside the presence of the jury a day earlier, the judge had barred mention of that TV clip, agreeing with defense lawyers that it contained inadmissible hearsay.

“I will warn the government that when I rule about not mentioning something, counsel needs to be much more careful about the types of questions counsel asks, particularly where the court ruled the testimony needs to be avoided,” Ezra said outside the presence of jurors on Tuesday.

Mon
23
Apr
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Police warned Cossacks of alleged, impending attacks by the Bandidos

A month before the infamous biker confrontation in Waco in May 2015 that killed nine and left 20 injured, law enforcement rushed to Odessa and headed off what they thought would be a violent clash there between Bandidos and the Cossacks, according to testimony Monday in a racketeering trial in San Antonio of two former top leaders of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club.

Monday’s testimony dealt largely with other purported incidents involving Cossacks, who lost the most bikers in Waco, and the Bandidos, who lost a member in that fight that also involved police shooting at the bikers at the Twin Peaks restaurant.

Fri
20
Apr
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Judges summon Twin Peaks bikers for case updates

With the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office in a state of flux, the county’s two felony court judges have summoned about 50 Twin Peaks biker shootout defendants to court in coming weeks to try to determine how the 128 or so remaining cases will proceed.

Judge Ralph Strother of 19th State District Court and Judge Matt Johnson of 54th State District Court have scheduled status conferences for many of the Twin Peaks defendants. Strother has summoned 27 defendants for April 27, while Johnson’s conference with about 25 defendants is set for May 4.

All of the defendants directed to be in court on those days are or were affiliated with the Cossacks motorcycle group. Nine bikers were killed and more than 20 were injured in the May 17, 2015, shootout between the Cossacks and Bandidos that played out before a lunch crowd at Twin Peaks in Waco.

Thu
19
Apr
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Biker testifies Bandidos beat him with a claw hammer

A member of the Cossacks Motorcycle Club testified Thursday at a racketeering trial in San Antonio federal court that several Bandidos beat him and gashed his head with a claw hammer in North Texas when he refused to take off his biker vest.

Arthur David Young, 39, survived the March 22, 2015, attack at the Bar-B truck stop in Gordon in Palo Pinto County, between Abilene and Fort Worth. Young, who worked in the oil fields, said he had to have 12 staples to close the gashes, and the beating left him with headaches and affects his equilibrium.

 

“It felt like hours, but it only took seconds,” Young said of the assault. “They ended up with my cut (vest).”

The government alleges the Bandidos’ then-vice president John Xavier Portillo, who is on trial with then-president Jeffrey Fay Pike, had declared war on the Cossacks shortly before the attack on Young.

Fri
13
Apr
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Jurors hear recording of Bandidos leader declaring war on Cossacks

A post from “Cossack Doc” to a Facebook friend in July 2014 said the Cossacks Motorcycle Club had permission from the Bandidos to wear a patch saying “Texas,” a state the Bandidos consider their home and territory.

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Sat
07
Apr
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Ex-Bandido says national president kicked predecessor out over TV interview

A former national ranking member of the Bandidos testified Friday that the group’s latest president kicked his predecessor out of the biker club for appearing on a television documentary.

William “Big G” Ojemann, a Bandidos member from 2008 until 2013, said George Wegers, who was the Bandidos’ president from 1998 until his arrest in 2005, had his Bandidos patches revoked by his successor, Jeffrey Fay Pike, because Wegers appeared in a report about the club.

Pike “was like, ‘(expletive) him. We don’t do interviews. We don’t do TV,’” Ojemann testified, recalling a conversation he said he had with Pike in 2012. “It was a patch-pull offense.”

Ojemann is the latest ex-insider to testify against his former Bandidos “brothers” at the racketeering trial in San Antonio of Pike and ex-national vice president John Xavier Portillo.

Tue
03
Apr
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Ex-Bandidos member testifies about beatdown that quelled a coup

The caravan of bikers wearing black vests with red and gold patches was about 70 deep when it pulled into a “party site” outside Roswell, New Mexico, for what was supposed to be a regional meeting of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club.

Soon, dust kicked up at the front of the pack, and David Lombino — from his motorcycle near the middle of that caravan — could see men clad in black clubbing, punching and kicking the bikers at the front.

 

Such was the scene of a March 2011 ambush of members and supporters of the Bandidos’ El Paso chapters, Lombino testified Tuesday during the San Antonio racketeering trial of the Bandidos’ former top leaders, then-national president Jeffrey Fay Pike and ex-national vice president John Xavier Portillo.

Tue
03
Apr
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Judge extends stay in Twin Peaks civil suits

AUSTIN — Attorneys hoping to proceed with civil rights lawsuits on behalf of bikers arrested after the 2015 Twin Peaks shootout left court disappointed Monday after a judge extended a stay on the proceedings.

Senior U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks, of Austin, conducted a status conference Monday in a portion of the 133 Twin Peaks civil rights suits and extended by at least 90 days a stay that has been in place for almost two years.

Sparks agreed with Thomas Brandt, an attorney who represents McLennan County and District Attorney Abel Reyna, that it would be prudent to defer the lawsuits until the conclusion of the ongoing federal racketeering trial in San Antonio involving former national Bandidos leaders Jeffrey Pike and John Portillo.

Thu
29
Mar
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Bandidos trial put on hold due to hotel shortage, road closings caused by Final Four

A shortage of lodging because of the Final Four shortened Thursday’s proceedings in a federal racketeering trial of two top former leaders of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club.

Senior U.S. District Judge David Alan Ezra dismissed jurors midafternoon after prosecutors informed him they had no more than the three witnesses who testified Thursday in their case against former Bandidos national president Jeffrey Fay Pike and ex-vice president John Xavier Portillo.

 

Ezra explained that the next government witnesses are all from out of town and could not find hotels because of the thousands of people in town for the collegiate basketball extravaganza. Additionally, the federal courthouse will be closed Friday because streets around it will be closed or gridlocked due to the Final Four festivities and games, the judge said.

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