National Roundup . . .

New Jersey
Professional poker player sues Borgata casino

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — A professional poker player has sued a casino that claimed he won $9.6 million by cheating at baccarat, alleging it knew about defects in the cards and then destroyed evidence.

Phil Ivey and his co-defendant, Cheng Yin Sun, filed a countersuit last week against the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, which sued the pair last year. The Borgata suit said Ivey and Sun took advantage of a defect in cards made by Gemaco that enabled them to sort and arrange good cards in baccarat.

Ivey says Gemaco was responsible for producing cards within contractual and industry standards and should be held responsible for any damages. He also says the Borgata knew the card manufacturing process didn’t produce perfectly symmetrical card backs.

Ivey says in the suit that the Borgata intentionally destroyed the cards at issue “eviscerating the defendants’ ability to prove the lack of any defective cards.”

They demand unspecified compensatory and punitive damages against the Atlantic City casino.

The casino claims the technique called edge sorting that was used by Ivey and Sun violates New Jersey casino gambling regulations. The lawsuit claims the cards were defective in that the pattern on the back of them was not uniform. The cards have rows of small white circles designed to look like the tops of cut diamonds, but the Borgata claims some of them were only a half diamond or a quarter of one.

Ivey lost a similar lawsuit last year in Britain’s High Court by the Malaysia-based Genting Group, a major casino operator. The court agreed that the casino didn’t have to pay Ivey $12.4 million he had won through edge sorting. He denied any misconduct and said in a statement after the ruling that he believes his strategy to exploit the casino’s “failures to take proper steps to protect themselves against a player of my ability” was a “legitimate strategy.”

The Borgata lawsuit claims that Ivey and his companion instructed a dealer to flip cards in particular ways, depending on whether it was a desirable card in baccarat. The numbers six, seven, eight and nine are considered good cards. Bad cards would be flipped in different directions, so that after several hands of cards, the good ones were arranged in a certain manner — with the irregular side of the card facing in a specific direction — that Ivey could spot when they came out of the dealer chute.

Ivey has won nine World Series of Poker bracelets. He compares himself on his website to Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Muhammad Ali.


Florida
911 calls reveal both sides of road rage incident

BEVERLY HILLS, Fla. (AP) — In 911 calls from an apparent road rage incident, a north Florida man tells a dispatcher he has his gun “cocked and loaded” because “some maniac” was trying to run him off the road.

A woman in the other car also called 911 Thursday night as her husband, Candelario Gonzalez, 44, followed Robert Eric Doyle, 51, through the streets of Beverly Hills.

According to 911 tapes released by the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, both men and their wives were on the phone with dispatchers while they were driving.

Gonzalez’s wife could be heard trying to get her husband to go home. She later told police Doyle was the aggressive driver and that her husband followed him to get his address so he could file a complaint.

Doyle told the operator: “They’re following me to my house. I’ll be there in 20 seconds; the guns are already out.”

As the two vehicles stopped in front of Doyle’s house, his wife could be heard begging him not to shoot.

“Don’t shoot. I’ve got 911 on the phone,” she yelled. But five shots were fired, leaving Gonzalez dead at the scene.

An arrest affidavit says Doyle held Gonzalez’s family at gunpoint until deputies arrived.

Sheriff’s Capt. David DeCarlo said Doyle told him he feared for his wife’s safety. But DeCarlo said the 911 call doesn’t really support that notion.

“Between the evidence that was found on scene, couple that with the 911 calls, we felt comfortable that Mr. Doyle was the primary aggressor,” he said.

Doyle has a concealed weapons permit, which allows him to carry a loaded gun in his vehicle.

Doyle is charged with second-degree murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He remains in jail. It’s not known whether he’s hired a lawyer.


Utah
Ex-AG pleads not guilty to bribery charges

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A former Utah attorney general pleaded not guilty Monday to 13 charges of bribery and other crimes after prosecutors say he accepted beach vacations and use of a luxury houseboat from businessmen in trouble with regulators.

Swallow resigned in late 2013 amid the accusations and was arrested the following summer, but he has denied any wrongdoing and said he looks forward to clearing his name in court. His predecessor, Mark Shurtleff, also was arrested and charged in the more than year-long investigation.

Swallow wore a suit and tie as he stood next to his attorney in a Salt Lake City courtroom Monday. He did not speak as he stood before the judge and allowed his lawyer to enter pleas on his behalf. He declined to comment to reporters outside the courtroom.

In addition to using a luxury jet and houseboat belonging to a businessman now facing fraud charges, Swallow and Shurtleff enjoyed meals, golf and massages at a high-end resort in Newport Beach, California, courtesy of another businessman who had been charged with fraud by their office, according to court documents. They also accepted gifts and tens of
thousands of dollars in cash and campaign contributions from people who faced or expected to face scrutiny from the attorney general’s office and hoped to throw off investigators or shake off criminal charges, prosecutors said.

Swallow’s former employer, a payday loan titan based in Nevada, gave Swallow a dozen 1-ounce gold coins when he left to join the attorney general’s office.

While working under Shurtleff, Swallow later sold back the coins one at time, receiving $17,000 in all, prosecutors say.

Both men, who are Republicans, face a maximum of 30 years in prison if convicted. Shurtleff has pleaded not guilty to seven charges of obstructing justice, accepting improper gifts and other counts.

Shurtleff, 57, and Swallow, 52, spent a combined 13 years running the state’s top law enforcement office. Shurtleff left in early 2013 after deciding to forgo another term and instead work in the private sector. Swallow was Shurtleff’s hand-picked successor, but he stepped down after less than a year in office.

When he announced his resignation in November 2013, Swallow adamantly denied breaking any laws but said the toll of the scrutiny had become too much for him and his family.
A judge on Monday scheduled a month-long trial in Swallow’s case that would start in April 2016.
 

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