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Posted at 7:19 AM ET, 12/15/2010

Va. biker gang racketeering trial nears end

By The Associated Press

A federal prosecutor portrayed the national president of the Outlaws motorcycle gang as a crafty leader who manipulates members into committing crimes, but a defense attorney said Tuesday that her client never directed anybody to break the law.

The statements came in closing arguments in the racketeering trial of Jack Rosga of Milwaukee.

Four other biker gang members also are on trial for participating in what prosecutors have described as a violent criminal enterprise locked in a turf war in Virginia and other states with the rival Hells Angels.

The jury is expected to begin deliberations Wednesday in Richmond, Va.

Federal prosecutor Peter Duffey urged jurors not to be swayed by Rosga's friends and relatives, who described the gray-haired grandfather as a hardworking, law-abiding citizen.

"No doubt that's one side to Jack Rosga," Duffey said. "But in his heart of hearts, he is in fact 'Milwaukee Jack,' an Outlaw, a one-percenter."

Milwaukee Jack is Rosga's motorcycle gang nickname, according to the government, and "one-percenter" is a term in biker gang culture that refers to the one percent of motorcycle riders who operate outside the law. The Outlaws consider themselves a "one-percenter" club, witnesses testified during the nearly two-week trial.

Rosga's attorney, Claire Cardwell, told the jury that the government is trying to portray the misdeeds of a few members as a criminal conspiracy by the entire 650-member national organization. She said Rosga was not present during any of the assaults or other crimes that were presented as evidence in the trial and did not order them.

"He's been in the club 18 years and we haven't heard a single sign he's ever had a brush with the law," she said.

But she said prosecutors considered Rosga "the prize" they needed to get racketeering convictions after a lengthy and expensive investigation in which federal agents infiltrated the club and even established a club house in Petersburg.

"These two agents had been working two years on this case," she said. "They and their supervisors have to answer for that time and expense."

This is the second trial for Rosga, whose first trial in Richmond last month ended in a deadlocked jury. Two co-defendants were acquitted and a third was convicted at that trial.

Being tried along with Rosga on racketeering and other charges this time are Mark Jason Fiel, Christopher Timbers and Harry McCall of the Outlaws' Lexington, N.C., chapter. Also, Dennis Haldermann of a Richmond-area motorcycle club is charged with violence in the aid of racketeering.

The defendants are among 27 biker gang members indicted in June. More than half have entered guilty pleas.

One of the men charged was killed in a gun battle with federal agents trying to arrest him in Maine.

By The Associated Press  | December 15, 2010; 7:19 AM ET
Categories:  Around the Nation, From the Courthouse, Gangs, Virginia  
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