The Entrapment and Imprisonment
of Todd Bertrang
At age forty, after single-handedly creating the “muscle car” trend in America, John Delorean was put in charge of Pontiac, making him the youngest division head in GM history. After four years of record profits he was promoted again to head of Chevrolet, which in two years he transformed from a financially troubled company to one with sales equal to every other GM brand combined. Then in 1973, at age 48 and the peak of his career, John Delorean quit to do charity work. Many were predicting that one day he would be President of the United States.
A few years after leaving, John Delorean started showing the car that would later become the DMC-12, the exotic gullwing-door stainless steel-skinned car which most people know best from the Back To The Future movies. The car was originally called the DSV — the Delorean Safety Vehicle — and was designed not as a sportscar, but as a safe daily driver which tried to address many of the problems John saw with modern car production. At the same time, Delorean co-authored a book called On a Clear Day You Can See General Motors, in which he accused GM of stagnation and caring more about profits than the customers or the cars.
John and the Delorean DMC-12
As the DMC-12 approached production, Delorean attempted to block the publication of his own book, fearing that the big car companies with their massive government lobbying power would do everything they could to sink his new venture at its most vulnerable point. Even with a huge grant from the Irish government, and a wonderful car (having owned a Delorean, I say that with some conviction) that was Europe’s only profitable car for the years it was made, the company was plagued with problems — said to source from many questionable payoffs to British government officials by GM — and it wasn’t long before it was in serious monetary difficulty.
Undercover FBI agents approached Delorean, offering to solve his financial woes. They proposed that cocaine be loaded into the door panels of his cars as they were shipped overseas, using them to transport the drug. John Delorean was arrested for conspiracy to traffic narcotics, and as he fought the charges, the DMC company went bankrupt, and the government — which received millions of dollars in “donations” from GM — moved in illegally and seized all of the tooling from the company, and, contrary to UK automobile law, dumped the tooling in the ocean insuring that not only could the company not be resurrected after the trial, but replacement parts couldn’t even be made.
The only reason that John Delorean avoided a long term prison sentence is that Hustler publisher Larry Flynt was able to obtain tapes showing not only that the drug trafficking idea was invented and proposed by the US government, but that both the cocaine and the money were provided FBI, and most importantly, that John Delorean told the undercover agents that he wasn’t interested and begged to be let go — the tapes show the agents actually threatening to kill John Delorean’s daughter if he didn’t proceed with the drug deal. It should also be noted that Larry Flynt was briefly imprisoned for contempt of court for revealing this information.
John Delorean with his daughter Christina, who US government agents
threatened to kill if John didn’t proceed with their proposed cocaine deal.
Delorean’s lawyer was later quoted in Time magazine saying, “This was a fictitious crime. Without the government, there would be no crime.”
John Delorean recently died destitute, having failed to bring his dream car back to market.
That brings us to piercer and cutter Todd Bertrang, a regular BME contributor that was first profiled in PFIQ magazine. In addition to his successful business dealing in and restoring classic Indian Motorcycles, he is best known for his advocation of heavy gauge piercing, alternative herbal aftercare, and his interest in female genital cutting — labial removal, hood splitting and removal, and even clitoral tip removal. At age forty, he was almost single-handedly responsible for the popularity of female genital modification, which, largely due to his promotion of it, had moved out of the fetish scene and become a lucrative business for cosmetic surgeons.
While many outsiders disapproved of Todd’s methods and highly sexual lifestyle, the vast majority of Todd’s clients — all consensual of course — spoke extremely highly of him and were very happy with the work he’d done on them.
Todd’s interest in body modification was almost exclusively sexual — as is the case for the vast majority of people who came into body modification before it became a fashion trend. It turned him on, plain and simple, and he never hid that fact or felt ashamed of it. An irrepressible flirt (that’s putting it kindly — others would say “dirtbag sleaze that kept hitting on my fifteen year-old kid sister and didn’t stop when she told him to get lost’ — well, welcome to the world of the Internet), Todd made more enemies than he knew in BME’s chat rooms and other online forums, mostly among sexually repressed individuals who felt body modification was best paired with a chic haircut and no needles — let alone scalpels — below the belt.
Todd Bertrang not long before his arrest.
A group of chatters who were offended by Todd’s comments and online advances conspired to get rid of Todd for good, and synchronized fraudulent reports to authorities in his area, the FBI, and other government agencies. “Todd Bertrang did a circumcision on a ten year old,” they told agents, claiming that he’d boasted about it online and showed them pictures. Even though even a cursory investigation of Todd would make it clear that the idea of cutting a ten year old would be reprehensible to him, as these fabrications continued to pour in, eventually the FBI had no choice but to start an investigation under California’s anti-FGM (female genital mutilation) laws, designed to stop immigrants from non-consensually mutilating their pre-pubescent daughters’ genitals for religious and cultural reasons.
Posing as an Egyptian couple with (non-existent) eight and twelve year old daughters, FBI agents approached Todd seeking his services as a cutter. They told him they didn’t want to have to travel back to the Middle East and offered him $8,000 to do the procedure. Todd wasn’t interested, and told them so, although he was willing to talk to them about the pros and cons of the procedure. He told his friends about this couple and expressed his dismay that they would do this to children.
The FBI agents kept calling back, and even visited, pushing Todd to do the procedure. Eventually they told Todd that “one hand washes the other”, and let him know that they were interested in moving their assets from Egypt to the United States. If he’d be willing to help them out with their problem with their daughters, they’d be willing to invest $20 million in his motorcycle business.
“I’ll think about it,” he told them.
Ask yourselves: how far would you compromise your ethics for $20 million? That’s an amount of money so high that you’d be able to fulfill all your dreams and live in luxury for the rest of your life. At how many million dollars does your cracking point lie?
And then, before letting him decide whether or not he’d actually make such an ethical compromise, in late 2002 the FBI raided his house, and Todd Bertrang and his girlfriend Robyn have been in prison ever since. No real evidence was ever presented against them, and no trial was ever held. Virtually no one stood up to defend Todd, and even those who supported of him cowered cautiously, fearing that they would be next. Robyn was threatened with the loss of her daughter, and eventually the two of them, being told they would be spending the rest of their lives in prison should they plead not guilty, chose to make a false confession on a variety of charges in exchange for reduced time. Todd received five years, and Robyn two.
I’d like to take give you an overview of what they were actually “convicted” of.
Is this really all it takes to violate obscenity laws?
Conspiracy to Violate FGM Laws
Felon in Possession of a Firearm
In conclusion, as John Delorean’s lawyer said about him, about Todd Bertrang I repeat: “This was a fictitious crime. Without the government, there would be no crime.”
Todd Bertrang was falsely accused, falsely prosecuted, and now sits falsely imprisoned due to being sexually different than the average person, and uncontrollably vocal about it. Five years of his life are gone, his family has been ripped apart, his business has been destroyed and his assets stolen, and dangerous precedents have been set. Those of you who conspired to make this happen should be ashamed of yourselves, and the government shows once again its incompetence and inherent prejudicial nature by again jailing the victim rather than the real criminals.
As I write this, parts of the United States are considering criminalizing even nostril piercings — how far will this go? Cutters, and all people who are different from the mainstream — gays, fetishists, atheists, piercers, unionists, and the rest — I warn you: keep an anonymous and low profile, or get out of America before the same happens to you.
I received the following letter from a close friend of Todd’s that has been helping him keep his affairs in order while he’s behind bars. I’d like to share it here if anyone would like to help out or even just send Todd a note letting him know he has support. I’ll post again on this subject when the address is updated, but as of now the San Bernadino one is still good.
You can send letters and cards to that address, as well as any financial support you can offer if you’d like, but nothing else can be sent there. Books and magazines can be sent, but they have to come straight from the source (ie. you can have Amazon send them there, but you can’t mail a book there).