Wednesday May 27,2015 : FEDS CRUSHED AGAIN ON NEW PHUA CHARGE (Update)
Questionable evidence banned on new conspiracy charge.
Federal prosecutors in Nevada must be feeling frustrated after their new conspiracy charge against Paul Phua suffered an evidentiary setback Tuesday in a Nevada court.
For the past year Phua has been fighting a battery of charges emanating from alleged illegal sports betting activity in Las Vegas at the time of last year's World Cup football. Federal agents posed as internet technicians to gain entry to Phua's suite at Caesars Palace in order to covertly film evidence in order to obtain a search warrant.
Phua and his eight associates were subsequently busted, with all but Phua arranging plea bargains and forfeiting large amounts of cash. Phua fought on, and his resistance has so far proved successful.
After extensive argument by prosecutors and Phua's legal team, Judge Magistrate Peggy Leen ruled earlier this year that the tactics used by the FBI to obtain a search warrant disqualified the evidence obtained by using the warrant.
Prosecutors appealed, but in a subsequent hearing last (April) month District Judge Andrew Gordon agreed with Leen and ruled the evidence inadmissible. Prosecutors then laid a conspiracy charge, trying to draw the inference that the tainted evidence did not apply to activities of Phua's associates in adjoining apartments
Judge Gordon held a further hearing on Tuesday this week, and again ruled the evidence inadmissible, rejecting a prosecution claim that they would have used a search warrant on the associates’ accommodation without the need for the internet technician ruse.
Gordon has given the prosecution until the end of this week to decide whether to drop the charges against Phua due to the lack of permissible evidence against him.