Judge May Dismiss Case After Prosecution Rest After 10 Days Of Testimony
SANFORD, Fla. — On Monday , prosecutors rested their case in the trial of a Jacksonville attorney charged with masterminding a veterans group that ran a $300 million gambling operation.
Prosecutors informed the jury at attorney Kelly Mathis’ trial they had rested their case, only 10 days after giving opening statements where they accused Mathis of being the ringleader of a network of Internet cafes that the state called computer casinos.
The prosecution decided to rest without calling some of Mathis’ star co-defendants who took deals with prosecutors: former Allied Veterans of the World leaders Johnny Duncan and Jerry Bass and Chase Burns, who operated a company that made software for computers at the dozens of Allied Veterans centers around the world.
Mathis’ defense attorney, Mitch Stone, says the fact that prosecutors didn’t call the other defendants shows how weak their case is. The three witnesses “intended to tell the truth,” and the truth would have hurt prosecutors’ chances of convicting his client.
“Their case certainly has a lot to be desired,” Stone said. “We were expecting a lot more.” Prosecutors refused to comment as to why they decided not to call the co-defendants as witnesses.
Defense attorneys will ask the judge Tuesday to dismiss the case. If the judge does not dismiss the case, the defense will begin calling witnesses.
“The judge should grant a judgment of acquittal, and stop the case,” Curtis Fallgatter, an attorney for Duncan, said in an email.
The arrest of Mathis and 56 other people in March prompted the Florida Legislature to ban the storefront sweepstakes cafes and led to the resignation of former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, who had worked as a consultant for Allied Veterans. She has denied wrongdoing and wasn’t charged.
Mathis has pleaded not guilty to more than 150 charges, including possession of slot machines, keeping gambling houses and other charges. He has maintained from the beginning that he only gave legal advice and did nothing wrong. He also refused to discuss any chance of of taking a plea from the state.
On the contrary, the prosecution claimed Mathis helped build up the network of casinos by claiming they were businesses where customers could buy the promoted product and then access the casino-themed games and didn’t use the Internet.
The trial was originally expected to last up to six weeks, that time frame will be much shorter considering yesterday’s surprise ‘rest’ in their case.
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