Closing arguments ended yesterday in California in a federal murder and racketeering case against the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang, reported the New York Times. The prosecution called the Brotherhood a bloody organization that exacts its will through murder and mayhem in prisons across the nation. Its strict system of bylaws offers no room for error. “The Aryan Brotherhood will take out anyone and anything that gets in its way of operating a criminal enterprise,” prosecutor Terri Flynn told a jury whose identities have not been made public.
Defense lawyers said members belonged not to a murderous cadre but to a social entity that enjoys reading and playing cards. One defense lawyer, Kenneth Reed, called them a “dysfunctional”' group of “brothers” banded together for survival in the nation's hellish prison system. “This is not an enterprise,” he said. “It just flat isn't.” The trial was the first in a series growing out of a 2002 indictment of 40 members of the gang, which was formed in the mid-1960's by white inmates in the racially divided California prison system. The 141-page indictment detailed a systematic enterprise of murder, gambling, extortion, and narcotics trafficking both behind prison walls and on the streets.