Sunday, October 8, 2006

Bandidos Leader Sentenced

District Court Judge John Coughenour sentenced George Wegers, the national president of the Bandidos motorcycle club, to 20 months in prison. With credit for time served, he will be released in three weeks. Over a year ago (June 2005), he was charged with kidnapping, witness tampering, extortion, and drug tampering. The government alleged that the Bandidos were a corrupt organization under RICO. Jeffery Robinson, Wegers's attorney, said of the plea agreement:

I think it really does put the lie to what the government claimed at the beginning of this case, that this was a criminal organization, that the only reason for them to exist was to commit crimes.
Bandidos president gets 20-month sentence, Seattle Times, Oct. 7, 2006.

A press release from the U.S. Attorney's office (Oct. 6) gives more detail about the sentence. In contrast with Robinson's remark above, the government emphasizes the organization:
WEGERS was indicted in June 2005, following a two year investigation into a pattern of criminal activity by the motorcycle club. As President of the Bandidos, WEGERS sanctioned and approved many of the criminal acts of club members. In his plea agreement WEGERS admits he encouraged his co-defendants to commit the crimes of witness tampering and motor vehicle trafficking. In April of 2006, WEGERS instructed Bandido members not to talk to federal investigators about a kidnaping incident in May 2003. In all, 18 defendants have pleaded guilty in connection with the Bandidos criminal activity.
See also President of Bandidos motorcycle gang sentenced to 20 months, Seattle Times, Oct. 6, 2006; 5 Prominent Bandidos in Plea Deal, Seattle Times, May 11, 2006.UW note:Robinson and his co-counsel, Amanda Lee, are both Trial Ad instructors. Judge Coughenour teaches Advanced Trial Advocacy.

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