June 3, 2010 in City

Motorcycle gang member’s release appealed by feds

Extradited Canadian allowed to post bond
By The Spokesman-Review

A member of the Hells Angels who fought extradition to the United States for two years was granted bail by a U.S. magistrate in Spokane, but federal prosecutors are appealing that decision.

Brian Lee Hall, 43, has been in the Spokane County Jail since May 7, more than four years after a grand jury indicted him on marijuana and money-laundering charges.

Hall, a Canadian citizen described in court documents as a member of the notorious biker gang, was arrested in British Columbia in 2008 and was in jail there and on home monitoring before consenting to extradition earlier this year.

Hall’s charges are connected to $184,750 in U.S. currency seized by the U.S. Border Patrol in February 2003, as well as 1,200 pounds of marijuana seized by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration in April 2004.

A suspected co-conspirator, David Sidwell, pleaded guilty in May 2009 to two marijuana charges and one count of attempted smuggling and is serving a 40-month prison sentence.

Federal prosecutors want Hall held in Spokane without bail, but his attorney successfully argued last week that he should be allowed to return to Canada before the charges are resolved.

“We’re appealing her decision to release him,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Rice said of Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno.

A motion asking U.S. District Court Judge Frem Nielsen to reconsider that decision will be argued today.

Imbrogno cited Hall’s lack of criminal history and his strong family support when allowing him to post $400,000 bond – $300,000 from Hall and $100,000 from his grandparents – and leave the country. He’s required to check in with authorities and not contact motorcycle gangs.

A 19-page memorandum filed Monday by federal prosecutors says the letters from Hall’s friends and family presented to Imbrogno didn’t prove Hall isn’t a flight risk. It details several reasons to keep Hall behind bars, including the propensity of foreigners in drug cases to flee and the dangers associated with the Hells Angels.

Hall’s lawyer, Todd Maybrown of Seattle, filed a memorandum opposing the government’s request for detention on Wednesday.

According to the document, Hall worked in landscaping and lived in Abbotsford, B.C., with his fiancée, Kristina Keiler, and her two young daughters before his arrest. He has no intention of dodging the federal charges and doesn’t even own a passport, according to the memorandum.

Hall was a successful professional motorcycle rider when he joined the Hells Angels and has no history of violence, his lawyer said.

“There is simply no basis to believe Mr. Hall represents any danger to the community,” according to the memo. “… Without any real evidence to supports its motion for detention, the government is left to make wild and unsupported accusations.”

The motion is set to be argued today at 8:30 a.m.

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