Jury strips bikies of colours

The Sunday Times - - WORLD - LOS ANGELES

A CAL­I­FOR­NIA jury has de­cided the Mon­gols mo­tor­cy­cle gang should be stripped of its trade­marked logo in a first-of-its-kind ver­dict, Fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors said.

The jury in the US Dis­trict Court in Santa Ana pre­vi­ously found Mon­gol Na­tion, the en­tity that owns the im­age of a Mon­gol war­rior on a chop­per, guilty of rack­e­teer­ing and con­spir­acy.

The ver­dict caps an un­usual decade-long quest by pros­e­cu­tors to dis­man­tle the gang re­spon­si­ble for drug deal­ing and mur­der by seiz­ing con­trol of the trade­mark they said was core to the gang’s iden­tity.

Gang mem­bers were “em­pow­ered by these sym­bols that they wear like ar­mour”, As­sis­tant US At­tor­ney Steve Welk said.

The for­fei­ture still needs to be ap­proved by a Fed­eral judge and the prac­ti­cal ef­fect of such an order was not im­me­di­ately clear. When pros­e­cu­tors an­nounced the charges in 2008 they said a for­fei­ture order would al­low any law en­force­ment of­fi­cer to stop a gang mem­ber and “lit­er­ally take the jacket right off his back”, ac­cord­ing to court pa­pers.

Pros­e­cu­tors wouldn’t com­ment on Fri­day on what would hap­pen. But de­fence lawyer Joseph Yanny ques­tioned whether the judge would issue such an order and said the novel the­ory was ill-con­ceived.

Colours gone: Pros­e­cu­tors hold Mon­gols colours out­side a Los Angeles court. Picture: AP Photo/Ric Fran­cis

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