Monster's Ball

Feds, Aryan Brotherhood come to paint the OC courthouse white

At one point he asked a defense lawyer, "You ever read Machiavelli?" and then said, "If you can't have someone's love, have their fear. That's what we did . . . It's the principles of conquer; the principles of control."

He says life was often a drug party— heroin, methamphetamines, cocaine and marijuana—inside prison for AB members in the 1970s. "We controlled, dominated, influenced, [did] whatever we needed to do to have a nice, easy time in prison," said Smith, who became disillusioned with changes Mills made to the gang.

"Post-1980, there was expansion into white-collar crime, ID theft, extortion, massage parlors and whores," the Bakersfield native said, chained to the floor. "There were brothers outside on the street."

Mills, Bingham and Gibson
Mills, Bingham and Gibson

Based on claims by prosecutor Emmick and Smith, the AB—though much smaller than the Dirty White Boys, Nazi Low Riders, Mexican Mafia and Black Guerrilla Family—is the elite prison-based criminal organization in America. The Brotherhood recruited people who were fiercely loyal and street-smart; more than anything they were "psychopaths," according to Smith, not excluding himself from that category.

Smith also testified that Mills allegedly controlled AB violence and moneymaking schemes through couriers (such as female prison visitors and lawyers) and more than 300 gang associates nationwide.

Mills and Bingham quietly stared at him throughout this part of his testimony. If Smith was intimidated, he didn't show it. Instead, he boasted about his security.

"Thirty officers escorted me in here!" he said. "They can't touch me. Since I dropped out, anything connected to me—except for small kids—is fair game."

Defense lawyer Michael White called Smith "a rat" to his face and argued with him over the number of people he'd killed.

"I'm not squeamish about killing," Smith said without hesitation.

But White continued his attack, laying out how Smith had allegedly—consider this carefully—lied about lying about lying for the government in previous AB cases.

You don't have any morality, do you? asked White.

"I have a strong sense of morality," Smith fired back. "It just might not be yours."

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