Wednesday October 2,2013 : JUDGE DISMISSES A THIRD OF CHARGES IN FLORIDA INTERNET CAFE CASE (Update)
50 money laundering charges against alleged kingpin Kelly Mathis thrown out.
Florida Judge Kenneth Lester, presiding over the high profile Allied Veterans internet cafe gambling case currently running in Jacksonville, has dismissed 50 money laundering charges – part of a total of 100 charges which alleged kingpin Kelly Mathis is facing.
Mathis is accused of using the supposedly charitable veterans group as a front for a $300 million internet gambling operation, and faces a variety of charges that include racketeering, running a lottery and possessing online slot machines related to Allied Veterans of the World.
He has continued to claim he is guilty of no wrongdoing, although prosecutors claim that the Alied Veteran charity received very little of the profits of the enterprise.
Addressing Judge Lester in court Tuesday prosecutor April Acharekar submitted that jurors should be given the opportunity to decide if Mathis committed any crimes.
Legal reporesentatives for Mathis claimed that he only provided legal advice to Allied Veterans and did nothing wrong. They said Mathis never controlled, owned or managed any of the dozens of Allied Veterans Internet cafes in Florida, and in any case the cafes were offering sweepstakes and not online gambling.
"He offered legal analysis, and the client could do what he wanted to do," said defence attorney Mitch Stone.
The Associated Press news agency reports that the prosecution had completed its presentation Tuesday when Stone requested the Judge to dismiss the case. Whilst the judicial debate continued, members of the jury were sent on a break, and will return Wednesday, when the defence lawyers present the case for Mathis.
Several of the 56 individuals originally arrested in the internet cafe busts have reportedly reached deals with prosecutors, although they were not called to give evidence in chief for the prosecution.