A federal judge has thrown out the remaining evidence in the case against gambling mogul Paul Phua because of government misconduct.
Following a two-hour hearing, U.S. District Judge Andrew Gordon issued a ruling from the bench dismissing the government’s case and gave federal prosecutors until Friday to disclose whether they will drop conspiracy and illegal gambling charges against Phua, who is supposed to stand trial June 15.
“There’s no more evidence from anywhere,” said defense attorney David Chesnoff, who has alleged investigative and prosecutorial misconduct and cast the case as a fight for people in their homes to be free from prying eyes of the government, the Associated Press reported.
The evidence in question was collected by FBI agents who posed as Internet repairmen to get access to the Caesar’s Palace suites Phua was staying in where he allegedly ran a sophisticating illegal betting operation on the World Cup in Brazil. U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen concluded in February that the acts of FBI and Nevada gambling regulatory agents amounted to an unconstitutional warrantless search of private property.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Cristina Silva, one of three prosecutors assigned to the case, said in court that the government wants to see Gordon’s written order before deciding.
Prosecutors this month added a conspiracy count to two previous charges — operating an illegal gambling business and transmission of wagering information — initially filed after Phua and seven other people were arrested last July at Caesars Palace.