There are few things more cherished, more valued, in the Kingsmen motorcycle gang than loyalty, allegiance and brotherhood.
The first crack in that armor appeared Monday when a former Kingsmen leader admitted his guilt and became the first gang member to cooperate with federal prosecutors looking into a double murder.
No one knows for certain what Emmett Green will tell the government, but prosecutors have pointed to his leadership in the gang – they say he was the No. 3 man at one point – to suggest he may know a lot.
At the crux of the Kingsmen case are the murders of Daniel “DJ” Szymanski and Paul Maue by fellow gang member Andre “Little Bear” Jenkins in September 2014. Prosecutors allege that Kingsmen President David Pirk ordered the killings as part of a campaign to turn the club into a criminal organization.
Green, 45, a former New York regional president, accepted a plea deal Monday that requires him to cooperate with the FBI and others investigating allegations that a civil war within the Kingsmen led to the murders.
“Are you prepared to do that?” U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Wolford asked him Monday.
“Yes,” Green answered.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph M. Tripi declined to comment when asked about Green’s knowledge of the murders but, in his plea deal, Green claims there was a clear chain of command within the Kingsmen and that Pirk was the one ultimately in charge.
Pirk and several other Kingsmen are charged with operating a conspiracy dependent on drug dealing, illegal weapons sales and prostitution. Pirk, a Florida resident, denies the charges.
Law enforcement officials say the club’s civil war was between local members who didn’t want to become a criminal enterprise and club members in Florida who did.
Kevin W. Spitler, Green’s lawyer, declined to comment Monday. But other defense attorneys in the case said Green’s decision to plead guilty and cooperate did not surprise them. And one of them pointed to his earlier meeting with an FBI agent.
In August of last year, Green met with the investigator and, according to prosecutors, indicated he might have some information of interest to him.
“In sum and substance,” the prosecutor said, “Mr. Green responded that he was going to keep some information in his pocket in the event he ever needed it.”
Green’s meeting with the investigator came up during one of his bail hearings this year and, in the eyes of the prosecutor, suggests his status within the organization gave him knowledge of its inner workings.
“It’s very, very early in this case,” said defense attorney Daniel C. Oliverio, who is representing Kingsmen member Thomas Scanlon. “There’s a lot more left to do, a lot more evidence to gather and a lot more analyses to conduct.”
Oliverio, who has suggested in the past that the feds over reached in their indictment of 16 Kingsmen, said his client has no intention of pleading guilty to something he didn’t do.
Scanlon, 46, was president of the Olean Kingsmen chapter, and prosecutors claim some of the planning for the two murders took place at the Olean clubhouse.
Oliverio counters by noting that Scanlon is a veteran of the Iraq War, a Purple Heart recipient injured by an improvised explosive device and the brother of a state trooper.
Green, who pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge, will face a recommended sentence of up to 18 months in prison if he cooperates with investigators.