Friday August 16,2013 : ONLINE CHARITY GAMING DEFENDANT ASKS FOR A DIFFERENT TRIAL VENUE
Principal figure in Allied Veterans of America internet cafe gambling case wants to be tried in Jacksonville
Kelly Mathis, a Florida lawyer who has been listed as a key defendant in the widely publicised Allied Veterans of America online gambling bust earlier this year says that he wants to be tried in Jacksonville, where the crimes he is accused of committing allegedly occurred.
The gambling bust resulted in the resignation of a senior state politician and made headlines around the world as investigators claimed the charity was a front for a $300 million gambling ring that paid little over to the claimed beneficiary.
Prosecutors claim that Mathis was the registered agent for many of the Allied Veteran affiliates, which they say operated Internet cafes. He has pleaded not guilty to money laundering, running a lottery and other charges, the Associated Press news agency reports.
"I will be found not guilty," Mathis said Thursday at a news conference in Jacksonville. "I committed no crime."
Mathis has submitted a motion to dismiss the charges against him, claiming his relationship to Allied Veterans was only to provide legal advice and that he had no decision-making authority or ownership interest.
Mathis' defence is that the only work he did in Seminole County was the filing of a federal lawsuit challenging the county's ban on Internet cafes, which prompted local sheriff Don Eslinger to launch an investigation.
Mathis' trial starts in mid-September. Some of the other 57 Allied Veterans defendants could enter pleas during a hearing next week.
Allied Veterans defendant Johnny Duncan on Wednesday this week pleaded no contest to one count of money laundering and four counts of maintaining an illegal lottery. He will be sentenced to probation at a later date.
Former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll resigned earlier this year after she was interviewed as part of the probe into Allied Veterans. She denies wrongdoing and hasn't been charged with a crime.