A wide slate of racketeering convictions earned by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Michigan against the leadership of Detroit’s infamous Highwaymen Motorcycle Club seven years ago could be possibly in jeopardy of falling apart amid recent allegations of subterfuge within the biker gang’s own defense team. The Detroit Free Press’ Paul Egan penned a story on the developing situation over the weekend (read here).

Almost 100 Highwaymen and Highwaymen associates were indicted in 2007 for racketeering, narcotics and murder-for-hire schemes and club luminaries like Leonard (Big Daddy) Moore, Joseph (Little Joe) Whiting, Anthony (Mad Anthony) Clark, Gary (Junior) Ball and Aref (Scarface Steve) Nagi were all found guilty at a two-month long trial in 2010, hit with lengthy prison sentences as punishment. Clark was the first to walk free last month. As of right now, the rest of them all have at least another seven years of time to complete before they’ll taste freedom again, some much longer.

That is, unless Junior Ball, the club’s incarcerated 51-year old former drug lieutenant and one-time representative to the Detroit mafia, has his way later this month and convinces U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds that one of his co-defendants and fellow Highwaymen hierarchy member might have been feeding federal law enforcement inside information on defense-team strategy sessions. That co-defendant would be college-educated Scarface Steve Nagi, the chameleon crime lord, part rugged big-shot biker boss and part suave, sophisticated businessman, who once served as the club’s national vice president and sergeant-at-arms and won’t be eligible for parole until 2024. Ball has 18 years left to do in the can.

Through his own research behind bars, Junior Ball uncovered the fact that Nagi, 53, has been a local police and federal informant dating as far back as the early 1990s. In court papers filed on his behalf in late March, Ball claims that if he had known of Nagi’s status as a snitch, he would have never agreed to tap Nagi’s attorney James Thomas the defense team’s spokesman in the courtroom and main strategist. Ball will see Edmunds on May 17. His co-defendants, Big Daddy Moore, the Highwaymen’s reputed Godfather and Little Joe Whiting, Moore’s right-hand man and the club’s former national president have filed similar briefs requesting hearings before Edmunds.

Ball also raises questions about his own counsel at the trial, Larry Shulman, who without his knowledge was handling plea negotiations for a co-defendant of his. Alabama attorney David Schoen is repping Ball in his current appeal. Thomas denies that Nagi was an informant and there was any wrongdoing on his part as defense team leader in the Highwaymen case in an affidavit he signed last fall.

Through a FOIA request to see Troy, Michigan Police records, Ball found out that Nagi set up a drug deal for Troy cops and the DEA in a Troy shopping mall parking lot in 1992. Despite Thomas’ rebuke of the assertion that Nagi ever worked for the government, the U.S. Attorney’s Office admits Nagi was an informant for federal and local law enforcement in the past, but says it played no role in the 2010 trial or overall prosecution of the case.

In a 2006 DEA and ATF raid of Nagi’s suburban Sterling Heights, Michigan residence, agents found a cache over 30 firearms. Wiretaps of his cellular and home phones displayed his hair-trigger temper and penchant for violence. On one call with another Highwaymen, Nagi bragged of stabbing and physically assaulting an employee of his at a Mexican restaurant he owned that he had caught stealing, finally leaving the man badly beaten and bleeding in a trash bin in the alley. Scarface Steve is of Yemen descent and can be seen in a 1990s era mug shot in this article’s cover photo.

The Highwaymen are the state of Michigan’s largest biker gang, founded in Detroit in 1954 by Elburn (Big Max) Burns. The club maintains chapters in Indiana, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, New York and New Jersey. There are eight chapters in Michigan alone – Downtown Detroit, Eastside Detroit, Westside Detroit, Northwest Detroit, Downriver, Ann Arbor, Lansing and Monroe.

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