RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Under heavy security, the trial for the national president of the Outlaws motorcycle gang and three associates got underway Wednesday at the Federal Courthouse in Richmond.
The government accuses the four men of being a part of a highly organized criminal enterprise responsible for a number of violent acts.
The government says the American Outlaws Association lived, breathed, and even celebrated violence. The four men are accused of racketeering and conspiracy.
Two of them are charged with violence at a bar in Petersburg, but the defense said the government has it all wrong. This is a legitimate group with 600 members in the United States, a club that doesn't promote violence, it's just tainted by a few bad apples, according to the defense.
The AOA is fighting to prove it's not a criminal gang. Around since the 1930s the government says the Outlaws are highly organized, wear a uniform and live by a code of violence.
U.S. attorney's say the Outlaws were trying to expand into Virginia, and recruit new members for a club house in Petersburg.
Those new members ended up being undercover ATF agents who wore wires and taped conversations at a secret Petersburg meeting place. They say National President Jack Rosga, known as Milwaukee Jack, gave the orders for assaults and violence and members followed.
Defense attorneys told a jury at the federal courthouse, the Outlaws are not a crime syndicate just a band of brothers, who may look a little different than the average citizen; hard working men who love riding their bikes.
In all more than 50 witnesses will testify. Including three ATF agents the government are calling heroes tonight. They went undercover in Petersburg. We're told much of the activity alleged by the government took place in the Tri-Cities. The trial is expected to last two weeks.
Four members are on trial now. Another five Outlaw members will fight the charges against them in a jury trial this December. Fourteen others arrested in the crackdown have pleaded guilty and may testify for the government.