"Feds fight to keep Hells Angel in custody"

Brian Lee Hall, defendant

A member of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang 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 the 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, described in court documents as a full-patch member of the notorious biker gang, was arrested in British Columbia in 2008 and was in jail and on home-monitoring before consenting to extradition earlier this year.

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

A motion asking to reconsider Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno's decision is to be argued on Thursday. 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, Howard and Lorna Bell - 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.

"Rather than assert that the Defendant's association with the Hells Angels should have no bearing on his request for release, defense counsel suggested that conditions of release could include no contacts with any Hells Angels members," prosecutors wrote. "At the least, defense counsel's suggestion presupposes the negative connotation associated with the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. At the most, it concedes the gang's propensity for dangerous association."

Hall's charges are connected to $184,750 in U.S. currency seized by the Border Patrol in February 2003, as well as 1,200 pounds of marijuana seized by the DEA in April 2004. A co-conspirator, David Sidwell, pleaded guilty in May 2009 to two marijuana charges and one count of attempting bulk cashing smuggling. He's serving a 40-month prison sentence.

Hall's defense lawyer, Todd Maybrown of Seattle, filed a memorandum opposing the government's request for detention today, calling the government's request "self-serving."

According to the document, Hall does not have a passport, worked in landscaping and lived in Abbotsford, B.C with his fiancee, Kristina Keiler, and her two young daughters before his arrest. Hall was a successful professional motorcycle rider when he joined the Hells Angels, 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 support its Motion for Detention, the Government is left to make wild and unsupported accusations."

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

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