A federal prosecutor and an FBI agent may have gone too far in pursuing racketeering charges against motorcycle club members and their associates, a federal magistrate in Buffalo has concluded.
Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy stopped short of accusing the prosecutor and agent of “deliberately and intentionally” misleading a grand jury but, he noted in an order released Wednesday, “The evidence submitted to me thus far is troubling, to say the least.”
As recounted in The Buffalo News, the controversy centers on testimony given to a grand jury by FBI agent Kenneth Jensen Jr. on Aug. 28, 2009, and the questions posed to him that day by Assistant U. S. Attorney Anthony Bruce in connection with an investigation into the Chosen Few motorcycle club. The probe has led to charges against 20 club members and associates.
The magistrate said Bruce’s questioning and Jensen’s replies suggested that a key government witness was not involved in an attack on a member of a rival club, when in fact the prosecutor and agent knew he had been involved. The magistrate said he thought Bruce was “motivated more by zeal for the government’s position than by malice toward defendants.”
“However,” the judge said, “there are some lines which not even the most zealous prosecutor may cross.”
The judge’s criticism was contained in an order expanding the scope of a pretrial investigation into the activities of FBI agents probing the Chosen Few. Bruce has previously denied any wrongdoing.