While Ray Bitar was appearing before a judge to secure his release from jail on a $2.5 million bond following a superseding indictment that revealed additional allegations of fraudulent behavior, his fellow Full Tilt board of directors were filing motions to dismiss the charges against them in the original Black Friday case.
Chris Ferguson, Rafe Furst and Howard Lederer each filed pleadings seeking a dismissal on the accusations that they knowingly defrauded players and were part of the “global Ponzi scheme” allegedly perpetrated by Full Tilt executives.
Lawyers for the three based their arguments on two factors. The first being that the defendants minus Bitar did not participate in defrauding their customers. Secondly, that Full Tilt’s operations did not meet the definition of running an illegal gambling business as set forth in the Illegal Gambling Business Act (IGBA).
“Although the government alleges that Lederer participated in a scheme to defraud FTP’s customers, specific factual allegations against him are nowhere to be found,” said the legal brief filed on behalf of Lederer. In regards to the second argument, defense attorneys believe that “the Government has not proven that the alleged ‘gambling business’ conducted by Full Tilt Poker is illegal in the place where that business is conducted.”
Motions to dismiss are commonly filed in civil matters, as defense lawyers typically take a shot at arguing against the substance of the allegations facing their clients. In this case, defense attorneys are of the belief that their clients in no way participated in telling players at Full Tilt that their money was safe. The superseding indictment against Bitar specifically points out that the Full Tilt CEO did this, even after the Black Friday indictments surfaced.
The wheels of justice continue to grind slowly in the Full Tilt saga.