Ballarotto earns acquittal


Jury Acquits 5 Bikers of Charges They Schemed to Take Over Bar
New York Times
Published: November 04, 2000
A federal jury acquitted five members of the Breed Motorcycle Club today on charges that they had taken control of a nude juice bar in Monmouth County by beating its owner, a fellow biker, and his fiancee.
The jury in Federal District Court here deliberated for 23 hours over four days before returning a verdict in the monthlong trial.
Each of the five had faced a single count of extortion conspiracy, which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The motorcycle club controlled strip clubs and other businesses with violence and terror, according to a federal indictment. Five other members face trial in State Superior Court in Freehold on charges of sexually assaulting three dancers at the bar, Stars and Bars in Long Branch.
Defense lawyers said the bikers were merely giving a ritual ”black eye” to the owner, David Snyder, who was also a Breed member, for speaking harshly in public to a senior member of the group.
Both sides agreed that Mr. Snyder left the club and surrendered his interest shortly after he and other members fought at a meeting in 1998.
Prosecutors said Mr. Snyder, of Long Branch, was beaten on orders from Salvatore DeIulio, 51, the national Breed president, who lives in Middlesex.
As part of his plea bargain after pleading guilty to extortion conspiracy, Allen Layton of Seaside Heights, sergeant at arms for the Monmouth County chapter of the club, testified that he had hit Mr. Snyder.
Prosecutors said that while Mr. Snyder was being pummeled, John DeSantis, another defendant, went to Stars and Bars, where he smacked and kicked Mr. Snyder’s fiancee, who helped manage the bar.
Days later, another defendant, Mark Ruzicka, 33, of Long Branch, brought documents for the sale of the bar to Mr. Snyder, prosecutors said. Mr. Snyder signed them because he feared for his family’s safety, prosecutors said.
But Jerome A. Ballarotto, Mr. DeIulio’s lawyer, said the violence had stemmed from an incident that took place only days earlier, on New Year’s Eve 1997. Mr. Snyder and his fiancee snubbed the club’s party at Stars and Bars and threatened a club member, Mr. Ballarotto said.
Also acquitted yesterday were John Kovacs, 34, of Jackson and John Santiago, 31, of Freehold.

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