COLUMBIA — The key witness in a federal case against Hells Angels members will not take the stand for weeks, but defense attorneys started attacking his credibility Tuesday during their opening statements.
Joseph Dillulio, 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. Dillulio is a large, Italian man with a New York accent who is an ex-con and a scheming, scamming stealer, Delgado said.
Youre not going to like anything about this guy, Delgado said.
Delgado is representing Mark Baker, the president of the Rock Hell City Nomad Chapter of the Hells Angels, who used the nickname Lightning. Baker is one of five Hells Angels or Hells Angels associates accused of dealing drugs, selling guns, laundering money and racketeering 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 activities to the club.
Investigators used wire taps on Hells Angels cell phones, 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 societys norms, said Josh Kendrick, a defense attorney representing Bruce Long. Most of society does not understand the Hells Angels and their lifestyle, but that doesnt mean they deserve criminal prosecution, Kendrick said.
They live by a different set of rules, he said. Theres a little bit of outlaw in all of us. It doesnt mean its criminal.
The trial is expected to last six weeks. The governments first witness, an FBI agent, took the stand Tuesday afternoon. His testimony will last the better part of a week.
Prosecutors also plan to put a local Hells Angel on the stand to testify against his former club members, but they have not disclosed his identity. But most of their case will hinge on Dillulio, the informant, they said.
Dillulio began working for the FBI in March 2011 after he signed a contract with agents running the South Carolina Hells Angels Task Force, Delgado said. He used the code name Midas.
Mike Duncan, the defense attorney for David Gravel Dave Oiler, said Dillulio is not credible.
Joe is a master storyteller. Fish stories, Duncan said. Stories about the one that got away that grows in size.
Dillulio has a bank fraud conviction in U.S. District Court in New York in 1994. He has failed to pay restitution to the banks and government, Delgado said.