Howard Lederer’s attorney has filed a motion to dismiss the government’s new allegations made against his client that include usage of the Travel Act that claims proceeds obtained from illegal activities shall be subject to forfeiture.
U.S. attorneys are seeking to seize $42.5 million in assets, citing “probable cause to believe that the Defendant Properties constitute, or are traceable to, property used in illegal gambling businesses,” the government’s second amended complaint alleges. Lederer’s grounds for dismissal include arguments that Full Tilt was not a “gambling business” as the complaint charges, and therefore, did not violate the Illegal Gambling Business Act (IGBA). Lederer relies on Judge Weinstein’s decision in U.S. v. DiCristina finding that poker is a game of skill and not illegal gambling.
Additional points of contention in the dismissal motion make note of the DoJ’s “shifting legal theories.” Lederer’s attorney, Eliot R. Peters of San Francisco-based Keker and Van Nest, argues that the complaint fails to state a fraud claim against his client. Peters also attacks the voluminous nature of the government pleading, suggesting that the second amended complaint is “so structurally complex that it takes a cartographer to understand what is being alleged and against whom.”
While Full Tilt has successfully relaunched, U.S. v. PokerStars is showing all the signs of a case that will drag on indefinitely. The latest pleading filed is the second motion to dismiss, following the filing of the original dismissal motion in July. As the U.S. legal process grinds on slower than a multi-tabler with Internet connection problems, Lederer is attempting to regain his once prominent stature in the poker community. “The Professor” returned to cash table action last month in a couple of Las Vegas poker rooms. A recent attempt by Aria cash game players to circulate a petition banning Lederer from playing was abruptly halted by casino security.
In addition to the slow moving courtroom arguments that will decide whether or not Lederer and his cohorts defrauded Full Tilt customers, U.S. players continue to wait to be reunited with their funds. A meeting between PPA and DoJ officials Tuesday revealed that the time frame in which players can expect reimbursement apparently will rival the length of the civil action versus Lederer.