Howard Lederer Requests Meeting with Federal Court Regarding U.S. v. DiCristina Ruling



The attorneys for former Full Tilt Poker executive Howard Lederer have requested to meet with the federal court in light of last week’s federal ruling that poker does not fall under the Illegal Gambling Business Act (IGBA).

In the case of United States v. DiCristina, Judge Jack B. Weinstein ruled that poker does not constitute “illegal gambling” after hearing the testimony of Dr. Randal Heeb, who provided numerous examples that poker is a game of skill. As a result, Lawrence DiCristina was exonerated from charges of running an illegal poker game at his electronics warehouse in New York.

Lederer, who is facing civil charges of fraud and money laundering for his involvement with Full Tilt Poker, argues that if the court agrees with Weinstein, then many of the charges against him do not have legal basis. "How the government approaches a potential amended complaint, and how the defendants approach moving for its dismissal, are both matters which can be more efficiently handled if the parties have an opportunity to make the Court aware of their plans and views in light of DiCristina," attorney Elliot Peters wrote in a letter to Judge Leonard B. Sand.

Full Tilt Poker board members Chris Ferguson and Rafe Furst, who each have their own legal representation, have requested to be included in the status conference.

On Thursday, the government responded by saying that it doesn’t believe a status conference between Lederer and the court is necessary at this time. "The Government respectfully disagrees with many of the conclusions reached in the DiCristina Order," the letter to Judge Sand said.

"The proper forum for addressing the merit and impact, if any, of that Order in this action would be for Messrs. Lederer, Furst, and Ferguson to argue in any motions to dismiss the second amended complaint what persuasive weight the DiCristina Order should be given, and for the Government to respond. Addressing these issues now in a status conference would be premature and unworkable."

Lederer, Ferguson and Furst each filed previous motions to dismiss the amended civil charges under the argument that Full Tilt Poker did not fall under the IGBA. This time, however, Lederer’s attorneys contend that the significance of the DiCristina verdict "cannot sensibly be overlooked."

The government has the option of amending the civil complaints against Lederer, Ferguson, and Furst by Sept. 10, 2012.

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