Florida Criminal Trial Begins for Jacksonville Lawyer

Jacksonville lawyers will be waiting to see the outcome of a prominent Duval County attorney’s fate.  Kelly Mathis is a 50-year-old attorney from Jacksonville FL.  He was the attorney for Allied Veterans of the World Internet Café.  “Allied operated 50 Internet cafes in Florida. Prosecutors allege they were casinos where personal computers had been converted into slot machines.”  Mathis appears to be “the state’s prime target in the giant Allied Veterans of the World Internet café gambling case.” Prosecutors are alleging that he “was the brains behind their operation.”  He is facing over 100 criminal counts “including racketeering and money laundering.”

Mathis began jury selection yesterday in Sanford FL.  Approximately two months ago, Jacksonville criminal lawyers and the rest of the nation were focusing on Sanford Florida due another criminal case.  We all remember the George Zimmerman Trial.  The same judge, Kenneth Lester, will be trying Mathis.  The trial is estimated to last two months.

Over 50 people were arrested during a “statewide raid on Allied’s storefronts. Authorities allege they generated $300 million in proceeds over five years.”  Since his arrest on March 13, Mathis has proclaimed his innocence, and “says he did nothing illegal…. Mathis says they were legitimate businesses where players felt like they were gambling but in reality, were taking part in sweepstakes, something that’s legal.”

Approximately two weeks ago, I wrote on article on the 20 Miles Law Jacksonville lawyers website.  The title of the article is Possible Witnesses in Jacksonville Lawyer’s Criminal Trial.  I discussed that Mathis’ defense team listed top political figures on the witness list, such as Florida’s governor Rick Scott.  The Agriculture Secretary, Adam Putnam, has also been listed as a defense witness along with Attorney General, Pam Bondi. It should also be noted that “the scandal prompted the resignation of Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, whose Jacksonville public relations firm did contract work for Allied in 2009 and 2010.”  After the gambling scandal broke, the Florida Legislature “[banned] Internet cafes and Gov. Rick Scott [signed] the measure into law.”

There are still many unanswered questions.  I am still curious as to why the defense listed the Governor and Attorney General as witnesses.  If they are defense witnesses, why didn’t the state attorney depose the witnesses?  Are they going to actually testify in court?  Will they be hostile or cooperative witnesses?   We will know within the next couple of months as this Florida criminal case unfolds in court.

Quotes from the Orlando Sentinel

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