RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The racketeering trial is underway in Richmond federal court for five current or former Outlaws Motorcycle Club members. This is the second group to go on trial in the last month.
Opening arguments are underway. One of the accused is local and not an Outlaw, Dennis Halderman from Chester. He's facing charges stemming from a bar fight in Petersburg. The other four were members of the Outlaws. The government says it's a violent gang involved in intimidation and fear.
Mark Spradling was one of two men cleared of all charges the first time this case went to trial.
"I'm just glad to go home and see my grandkids," said Spradling.
The first time around, jurors rejected the government's case, handing down only one conviction.
"It's a clear referendum from the jury that this was a very expensive, involved undertaking by the government and obviously it's not paid off," said Claire Cardwell, Jack Rosga's defense attorney in November.
Jurors couldn't reach a verdict on Outlaws national president, Milwaukee Jack Rosga. He's being tried again along with four other men. They're accused of organized crime, of using violence to intimidate rival motorcycle clubs and to expand their territory.
The government set up a more than 2 year undercover investigation. ATF agents pretended to be bikers and helped the Outlaws set up a clubhouse in Petersburg, Virginia. It resulted in the arrest of 27 people. The charges include attempted murder, drugs, robbery, intimidation and witness tampering.
Defense attorneys accuse the government of entrapment. They argue the feds only charged Milwaukee Jack because he's the president and that they are punishing the entire club for the bad acts of a few.
The government wants jurors to see the Outlaws as a group that lives, breathes and celebrates violence. The trial is expected to last two weeks. 15 Outlaws and pagans pled guilty to the charges and will be sentenced later this month.