Internet café suspects due in court Friday

Kelly Mathis' attorney expected to request change in venue

By Jim Piggott - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The man who prosecutors say was the mastermind of the Allied Veterans organization the state now considers an illegal gambling operation is one of several facing charges who are due in court Friday morning.

Kelly Mathis, a Jacksonville attorney, is charged with racketeering and dozens of other offenses in the Allied Veterans Internet cafe case.

Full coverage of Allied Veterans case

Last week Mathis spoke publicly for the first time since his arrest, telling Channel 4 that he wouldn't take a deal.

Mathis (pictured, right) and his attorney, Mitch Stone, are still very confident about their case. While others have accepted plea deals, Mathis and his attorney made it clear they will not. Even though both say the prosecution was ready to deal.

"He has opened the door and said, 'If you would like to discuss a resolution similar to what's going on we are happy to discuss.' I said, 'thank you, but no thank you,'" said Stone.

"We have absolutely no interest in a plea," Mathis said. "They can either dismiss this case or we are going to trial."

Observers don't believe a dismissal will happen Friday, but that Mathis' attorney will likely ask the judge to suppress evidence and seek a change of venue. The venue change would move the trial from Sanford to Jacksonville. 

Attorney Gene Nichols spoke about the likelihood of a venue change Thursday night.

"I would be surprised that the case will make it up here while there is so many players here. There is a tremendous amount of co-defendants and they are all being prosecuted down there," said Nichols. "Tomorrow, what's going to happen is the lawyers are going to have an opportunity if their clients want to enter please one more time. They will be in front of a judge to enter a plea and if any other co-dependent want to enter a plea, as we saw with Mr. Fallgatter's clients, they will have an opportunity tomorrow," said Nichols.

Channel 4 will be in the Seminole County Courthouse for Friday's hearing.  Follow this story through the day for developments.

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