Defense attorneys begin attack on key witness in Hells Angels federal trial in Columbia

nophillips@thestate.comFebruary 12, 2013 

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— The key witness in a federal case against five Hells Angels will not take the stand for weeks, but defense attorneys started attacking his credibility Tuesday during their opening statements.

Joseph Dilulio, a Rock Hill jewelry store owner, served as a paid informant for the FBI, earning $6,000 a month to help bring down the Hells Angels, said John Delgado, a defense attorney representing Mark Baker, the Hells Angels club president. Dilulio is a “large, Italian man” with a New York accent who is an ex-con and a “scheming, scamming stealer,” Delgado said.

“You’re not going to like anything about this guy,” Delgado said.

The five Hells Angels are accused of dealing drugs, selling guns and money laundering as part of an alleged criminal enterprise operated by the motorcycle gang. On Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Richardson spent two hours setting up a timeline for the alleged crimes. He also described the Rock Hell City Nomad Chapter of the Hells Angels as an outlaw gang whose members were committed to a life of crime and paid proceeds from their illegal activity to the club.

Investigators used wire taps, secret video recordings and the informant to build their case.

On Tuesday, defense attorneys also took aim at the racketeering allegations as they insisted the Hells Angels is a club, not a criminal enterprise.

Hells Angels may call themselves outlaws but only in the sense that they reject many of society’s norms, said Josh Kendrick, a defense attorney representing Bruce Long.

“They live by a different set of rules,” Kendrick said. “There’s a little bit of outlaw in all of us. It doesn’t mean criminal.”

Reach Phillips at (803) 771-8307.

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