PHOENIX — A defense attorney in the trial of twin white supremacist brothers charged in the bombing of a black city official criticized on Thursday the use of an attractive younger woman as a federal informant, calling her a "trailer-park Mata Hari" who dressed in revealing clothes to get the men to open up to her.
Deborah Williams told jurors in Phoenix federal court that the government can only prove that her client, Dennis Mahon, was involved in "a conspiracy of lust" — not a conspiracy to send the package that exploded in the hands of then-Scottsdale diversity director Don Logan in 2004.
The informant, identified as Rebecca Williams in court records, moved into a trailer at a campground in Catoosa, Okla., where the brothers were staying after the bombing.
She dressed in shorts and tank tops and displayed a Confederate flag and later sent the men at least two racy photos of herself, taken by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives unbeknownst to the brothers.
One photo showed her in a leather jacket, fishnet stockings and a thong that completely exposed her buttocks, along with a note that said, "Thought you'd love the butt shot," court records said. The other showed her in a revealing white bikini top with a grenade hanging between her breasts as she posed in front of a pickup truck and a swastika.
Dennis Mahon opened up to her as the government recorded their conversations. Mahon showed her how to make bombs and bragged about bombing a Jewish community center, an Internal Revenue Service building, an immigration facility, and an abortion clinic, according to court records. Those claims haven't been corroborated.
According to the records, Mahon also talked to her about the Scottsdale bombing, telling her that he didn't do it but convinced white police officers to do it.
"It was all about sex," Deborah Williams said Thursday. "Dennis fell hard for her ... Rebecca Williams was the trailer-park Mata Hari, and she gave an award-winning performance."
Dennis and Daniel Mahon, both 61, have pleaded not guilty in the bombing, which injured Logan's hand and arm and hurt a secretary.
Earlier Thursday, prosecutor John Boyle said the brothers belonged to a group called the White Aryan Resistance, a group that encourages members to act as "lone wolves" and commit violence against non-whites and the government to get their message across.
Boyle showed pictures of the diversity office after the bombing and played a recording of a message left at the office by Dennis Mahon five months before the attack.
In it, Mahon criticizes the predominantly white city of Scottsdale for holding a Hispanic heritage event and used a racial epithet for Hispanics.
"The white Aryan resistance is growing in Scottsdale," Dennis Mahon said angrily. "There's a few white people who are standing up."
Boyle said that although the Mahons' DNA wasn't on the bomb, evidence at trial will show that they admitted their involvement to Rebecca Williams. That evidence includes a detailed description of the bomb used on Logan that Dennis Mahon gave to the informant, even though such a description hadn't been made public by officials.
"He knows exactly how that bomb was made, and that is not public information," Boyle said.
Deborah Williams said Dennis Mahon is a racist and "somewhat of a performance artist" who has long been vocal about his controversial beliefs and has spoken in "crude terms designed to push people's buttons."
"He'd be a whole lot happier if anybody who didn't think like him or look like him would just go away," Williams told the jurors. But "it's not a crime to be racist ... You can't build a fire out of smoke."
Daniel Mahon's attorney, Barbara Hull, painted her client as a hard-working man who's only guilty of being Dennis Mahon's brother.
Deborah Williams said the ATF wrongly focused their investigation on the Mahons because her client was such an "easy target, a noisy target," and ignored a more likely "inside job" by city workers.
She pointed out to jurors that Rebecca Williams was paid for her work as an informant and was promised $100,000 by the ATF should the Mahons be successfully prosecuted.Comment on this story
Boyle told jurors that while Williams flirted with the Mahons, she never had sex with them and was playing a role to get the brothers to talk to her.
The Mahons sat quietly throughout the hours-long proceedings on Thursday as Logan sat about 20 feet away, listening intently and scoffing at times.
Prosecutors have said the case took longer than usual to come to trial because of the large amount of evidence.
Logan said he didn't want to talk about the trial because he's a witness and he didn't want to jeopardize the prosecution. He added simply, "This is long overdue."
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