YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Hells Angels Leader, Wife Get Reprieve in Case

Courts: District attorney didn't file drug charges when expected, but Christies' lawyers are continuing to prepare.


Although the Ventura County district attorney has not yet filed charges, attorneys for local Hells Angels leader George Christie and his estranged wife said they are continuing to prepare their defense.

Christie, 51, was arrested on suspicion of narcotics possession May 5 after investigators found a small amount of cocaine in the night stand at his Ventura home.

His wife, Cheryl, also 51, was arrested the same day on suspicion of possession of drugs for sale after police found drugs and cash in her hillside condo.

George Christie was scheduled to appear in court for arraignment Tuesday, but Municipal Judge Bruce Clark exonerated his bail bond when no charges were filed by the district attorney's office.

But Christie's attorneys said that is no guarantee charges will not be filed.

"I haven't broken out the champagne yet," said Barry Tarlow. "I'm taking it a day at a time. I'm going to work on preparing my defense in case someone changes their mind."

"It is not unusual for the Ventura D.A. to delay a decision on whether to file a case pending a complete investigation," said Robert Sheahen, also an attorney for Christie. "The office is very professional and fastidious in that respect."

Deputy Public Defender Howard Asher agreed.

"They could be doing more investigation, they could be looking at legal grounds, they could be looking at the search warrant to see if it would withstand a legal attack," he said. "It is not that unusual."


The district attorney's office refused to comment, except to refer to a May 6 press release stating there is an ongoing investigation into the matter.

Sheahen said the district attorney often rejects cases in which the suspects appear to be innocent.

"And in our case, no matter how much more the D.A. investigates, these people are innocent," he said.

Furthermore, attorney Tarlow asserts that searches of the homes of Christie and his estranged wife were illegal because they went beyond the scope of the warrants issued in the case.

Investigators were purportedly looking for files relevant to their tax avoidance case against George Christie, but instead conducted a general search of several of the Christies' properties, Tarlow said.

As a result, any evidence seized during last week's raids would be thrown out of court if drug possession charges were to be filed against them, Tarlow said.

"No search warrant like this has ever been signed in the history of the state of California," he said. "And I wrote the book on search warrants."

Los Angeles Times Articles