Thursday May 14,2015 : PHUA CASE – NEVADA PROSECUTORS ADD A NEW CHARGE (Update)
Nine months in, federal prosecutors introduce a conspiracy charge.
In what looks like an attempt to recover lost ground after a Nevada magistrate and a District Court Judge both found the FBI methods of gathering evidence in the Phua case unconstitutional , federal prosecutors hit Phua with a new charge on Wednesday, accusing him of conspiracy to commit a felony.
It's taken the prosecution almost nine months to come up with the new charge following judicial decisions by both Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen and on appeal last month US District Judge Andrew Gordon, that the feds are precluded from using evidence rooted in deceptive tactics used to obtain a search warrant.
InfoPowa readers will recall the now infamous FBI ruse of pretending to be internet repair technicians in order to enter a private hotel suite and covertly film the activities therein.
Phua, who has been under house arrest in Las Vegas since mid-2014 – has until May 20 to respond to the new charge, which is in addition to charges of transmission of betting information and operating an illegal gambling enterprise originally laid against him.
Justifying the new charge, prosecutors claim that the alleged illegal gambling activity took place in three Caesars Palace villas, and only Phua's was raided; therefore evidence obtained from the other two locations is sufficient to nail Phua on conspiracy (eight other defendants in the case have entered guilty pleas to various offences and paid heavy fines and forfeitures in order to be allowed to depart the USA).
However, Phua's legal team, possibly expecting such a move, has already filed a motion preventing the feds from presenting the evidence garnered at the other villas, so it looks as if a legal duel on the fresh charge is inevitable.