After the first attempt to convict a Waco defendant ended in mistrial, many wondered what the McLennan County DA’s next move would be. Within days, it was announced that Bandido MC Dallas Chapter President Christopher Jacob Carrizal would be retried in April 2018, despite a deadlocked jury in the first trial that was nowhere close to a guilty verdict. But before Carrizal is retried, another drama is unfolding 1 that could mean the end of the prosecution’s attempts to convict the vast majority of the 154 individuals indicted by grand jury.
The DA’s hopes began to evaporate on January 5th with the refusal of Dallas truck driver George Bergman, a former member of the Desgraciados motorcycle club, to accept a deal that would have meant a dismissal of the first degree felony charge he faces in exchange for a guilty plea to misdemeanor assault and one year deferred probation.2 Bergman’s trial was then postponed after Broden and the DA mutually agreed to a continuance and a new trial date of July 23, 2017. There may be evidence relevant to Twin Peaks revealed in a February federal RICO trial involving members of the Bandidos MC.
Broden Is A Relentless Advocate
Bergman is represented by Dallas attorney Clint Broden, the most active defense attorney in the Twin Peaks proceedings since the event occurred in May 2015. Bergman, with Broden’s more than competent representation, is calling the McLennan County DA’s bluff, and the MPP believes that the majority of these indictments will eventually evaporate as a result. But the process will not be immediate, and in the meantime, an interesting drama will unfold.
Why would Bergman, 50, risk the rest of his life in prison? It’s a fair question. Bergman answers, “I didn’t do anything…. I am not willing to take anything because I didn’t do anything. I came to Waco for a meeting.” But maybe a better question is, “Why would the McLennan County DA offer a plea down to a misdemeanor, with no jail time, after being so insistent on charging 154 people with engaging in organized crime, many merely for their associations?”
The answer is simple.
Carrizal Mistrial & What It Means
The McLennan County DA has a less than a zero chance of convicting Bergman with engaging in organized crime. The Christopher Jacob Carrizal mistrial all but cements that. The DA took its shot and failed miserably. But instead of just dropping charges on the majority of those currently indicted, a guilty plea to at least a misdemeanor is necessary for the DA and law enforcement to defend against civil liability resulting from claims of false arrest and excessive bail.3
It’s really not that complicated. Hundreds of millions of dollars are potentially at stake and the DA will use the threat of life in prison as leverage against such civil liability to the state. The only problem for the DA now is the fact that that leverage has a lot less weight after not even coming close to convicting Carrizal, who admitted under oath to firing a .38 Derringer in self defense. Bergman never engaged anyone, never so much as threw a punch, and immediately found cover when he heard gunshots. He was arrested solely based on his association with a motorcycle club, which, as we all should know, is insufficient probable cause for an arrest under the 4th Amendment.
1- https://www.motorcycleprofilingproject.com/waco-mistrial-heres-bandido-j 1 ake-will-remain-free-man/ Nov. 21, 2017
2- Tommy Witherspoon, Waco Trubune-Herald, Twin Peaks shootout defendant headed to trial after rejecting
misdemeanor plea offer, January 5, 2018)