Monday, April 3, 2017
OFF THE WIRE
As recently as this morning it seemed impossible, but the Twin Peaks legal fiasco got even more ridiculous this afternoon.
McLennan County, Texas District Attorney Abelino Reyna, who is gratuitously prosecuting 192 people who were at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco on May 17, 2015, filed a ridiculous “disclosure” in the 19th Judicial District today, “in the spirit of Brady, the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 39.14 (the Michael Morton Act), our ethical obligations under Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, and our duty to ‘see that justice is done.’ The document is titled “State’s Disclosure of the Existence of Federal Evidence Not in its Possession or Control.”
The disclosure begins: “On March 28, 2017, the McLennan County Criminal District Attorney’s Office received a letter from the United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas, Richard L. Durbin, Jr. This letter provides the broad outlines of an investigation into the Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Club, United States v. John Portillo, et al., Cause No. SA-15-CR-820 (see attached). In the letter, Mr. Durbin declines to share any information or evidence relating to that investigation at this time. Mr. Durbin has indicated that the information will be disclosed to the McLennan County Criminal District Attorney’s Office once the trial is complete.
“Although no specific disclosures were made, Mr. Durbin acknowledges that the federal investigation has information which relates to the events at Twin Peaks in Waco, Texas on May 17, 2015. Although the federal investigation was underway when that incident occurred, neither the fact of the investigation nor any information pertaining to the investigation were shared with this office.”
The “disclosure” continues:
“Despite repeated efforts to obtain this information, our office has no specific knowledge of the contents of the federal investigation. The information is subject to a protective order and not in our control, preventing our actual or imputed knowledge of the specific information. Tex. Rules Prof. Conduct 3.09; Rubalcado v. State, 424 S.W.3d 460 (Tex. Crim. App. 2014). The federal investigation has been ndependent of this prosecution, and no collaboration between the offices has occurred. This information may be exculpatory, mitigating, or impeachment evidence as contemplated by Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963).”
Reyna has been lip synching the same song for more than a year and a half. The disclosure is tarradiddle. The Waco bloodbath was the result of a federal investigation into the Bandidos Motorcycle Club. That was where Patrick Swanton got his “intelligence.” And anybody who has ever looked at multiple federal investigations of motorcycle clubs knows they all employ the same game plan. Federal investigators or deputies drawn from state and local police forces infiltrate and try to ingratiate themselves to the target club. The infiltrators act as agents provocateur, buying guns and drugs at well above market price, asking to store cigarettes in a club brother’s garage, offering large sums to out-of-work men for a few hours of “security” and encouraging violence.
Waco has always been reminiscent of the murder of a Mongol named Manual Vincent “Hitman” Martin on the Glendale Freeway in the middle of the night in 2008. Undercover agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had foreknowledge – if they did not kill him themselves – that Martin was going to be murdered. The undercover agents, whose names were Gregory Giaoni, Paul D’Angelo and Darrin Kozlowski, not only allowed the murder to occur but they incited it by picking on the wrong, bad dude in a bar. The next day Kozlowski used the murder as an opportunity to try to incite Mongols leaders to go to war. Something like that self-evidently happened at the Twin Peaks.
Reyna has just plausibly denied that he ever knew anything about the federal Bandidos investigation, or its connection to the Twin Peaks. He did not arrest 177 people on the spot because he wanted to shut up all the witnesses to the brawl until the migrating press moved on. He arrested them all because it was his “duty.” Now he and his duty are hiding behind the federal case. And why, exactly 14 months after the Bandidos indictment was unsealed, should anything about the investigation that preceded it remain secret?
But what happened today is not merely about Reyna covering himself. Today’s “disclosure” was strategic. Reyna’s proclamation that there is evidence that might prove the people he has been persecuting for the last two years are innocent is almost as offensive as his statement that he made today’s filing because he is duty bound to “see that justice is done.” Everything Reyna says sticks to your boots and stinks.
What Reyna has been doing for the last two years – beside stalling – is trying to find a case he can win, with a poisoned jury, in Waco. Earlier this month there were five, scheduled Twin Peaks trials. Who Reyna really wanted to try, according to multiple sources, was a Bandido named Jake Carrizal. Reyna thought he could get a Waco jury to believe that Carrizal started the whole mess by running over a Cossack prospect’s foot. That did not happen but the accusations against the 192 defendants in the case have never had anything to do with consensual reality. It is at least possible that Reyna would have tried to convince a jury of his homeboys that Carrizal, not the Texas Rangers, erected the polecam just outside the Twin Peaks patio where the fight started. The way these things usually go, Reyna would have accused Carrizal of putting up the polecam because he wanted a “trophy video.”
But that’s not going to happen now. Carrizal’s trial was continued last Friday and it will be continued again because Reyna just learned yesterday that the feds might be holding evidence pertinent to all the Twin Peaks cases. Just yesterday.
So it is now Reyna’s “duty” to make sure nobody goes to trial until all the evidence can be disclosed. And that can’t happen until after the trials of former Bandidos President Jeff Pike and former Bandidos Vice-President John Portillo, and four more defendants who were just appended to the Bandidos indictment, are complete.
There have been three indictments in the Bandidos RICO case so far. Who can guess how many superseding indictments there will be this year? Next year? The year after that? And all of them so secret that no one who is a mere citizen is allowed to know anything more about the Bandidos case than the accusations.
Undoubtedly, some defense attorneys in the Waco case will want to take their clients to trial before the federal case finds its putative conclusion. But Reyna, and the feds, will never allow that to happen. Reyna has his “duty” you know.