Paul Phua’s lawyers have already succeeded in having a judge find that the FBI used unconstitutional tactics against him last summer in order to collect evidence that he was operating an illegal betting ring from a Caesars Palace villa.
Now, his defense team wants the judge to throw out the case entirely to end the nearly year-long legal battle he has been fighting.
In filings made Friday, attorneys David Chesnoff and Thomas Goldstein asked US District Judge Andrew Gordon to throw out the case against their client.
If they cannot succeed in that request, they have also asked Judge Gordon if he would at least consent to have Phua’s GPS monitoring removed and allow him to travel abroad, possibly due to the fact that Phua is about to celebrate his 51st birthday.
Lawyers Want Government to Make Remaining Evidence Clear
Chesnoff and Goldstein also asked the judge to order government prosecutors to specify what evidence they plan to use against Phua if the case goes to trial.
Most of the prosecution’s evidence was thrown out because of Judge Gordon’s ruling on the initial search of Phua’s villa, which threw out evidence from that visit and the later raid, as all of that evidence came as the “fruits of an unconstitutional search.”
However, prosecutors haven’t given up yet, and the defense says they have a right to know what will be used against them at trial.
“We are asking the government to provide us with facts so we can fairly defend ourselves,” said Chesnoff and Goldstein.
So far, US Attorney Daniel Bogden hasn’t commented on the defense filings, and has been tight-lipped about how he plans to proceed with the case.
“This is an active criminal case and is still being litigated,” he said. “Therefore, we will not be making any comments on the case other than in our court filings.”
Judge Gordon Tossed Evidence Stemming from Initial FBI Search
The uncertainty over the future of the case against Phua comes after Judge Gordon’s ruling last week that the initial tactics used by FBI agents violated Phua’s constitutional rights against illegal search and seizure.
Agents worked with casino officials to turn off Internet access in Phua’s villa, then posed as repair technicians in order to get a look inside the room.
“Permitting the government to create the need for the occupant to invite a third party into his or her home would effectively allow the government to conduct warrantless searches of the vast majority of residences and hotel rooms in America,” Judge Gordon said at a hearing last week.
“The government need only disrupt the phone, cable, Internet, or some other ‘non-essential’ service, and reasonable people will opt to invite a third party onto their property to repair it, unwittingly allowing government agents into the most private space to view and record whatever and whomever they see.”
Phua is the last remaining defendant of the eight individuals who were arrested in connection with the World Cup sports betting ring allegedly being run out of the Caesars Palace villa.
One person had their case dismissed, while six others, including Phua’s son Darren, pleaded guilty to lesser charges that included a five year ban from travelling to the United States. Paul Phua’s trial is expected to begin on June 1.