Hells Angels "suffering from bad public image"

Today's American story special continues with news that the famed 'one percenter' international bike gang Hells Angels is worried about their public image, and is encouraging its members to take up more charity work.

According to a leaked e-mail that has been read in court in Ventura County, southern California, a Hells Angels member called for the West Coast chapters to do more charity fundraisers alongside their underworld criminal activities to improve the club's image, with emphasis on fundraisers that would benefit families.

The e-mail was part of a testimony in the trial of Brandon Thomas Mundell, a Hells Angels member who is charged with assault with a deadly weapon and driving while intoxicated, following an alledged fight with rival bike gang members at a bar in Newbury Park, California, back in January 2006.

The global bike club is synonymous with serious crime, dating back to the notorious Altamont Free Concert of 1969. Last month, seven men belonging to the rival Outlaws gang were found guilty of murdering Gerry Tobin, a Hells Angels member who was killed on the M40 after attending a bike festival in Warwicksire.