Jacksonville, FL - The jury has been seated, and the trial for the accused “mastermind” of the Allied Veterans of the World scandal will stand trial beginning Thursday morning.
Jacksonville Attorney Kelly Mathis is facing hundreds of counts of money laundering, lottery and more. Investigators claim he was one of the leaders behind a wide-reaching gambling scheme which was fronting as a non-profit that gave money to veteran’s charities. Investigators claim only a small portion of the nearly $300 million generated through sweepstakes locations was actually donated, and the rest went to profit the Allied Veterans of the World leaders.
Other leaders accused in the scandal have pled in order to avoid trial, and often jail time. This includes one-time Allied National Commander Jerry Bass, out of Jacksonville, who pled no contest.
WOKV’s Legal Analyst Mark Rubin says the prosecution will need to use Bass’s testimony to show there was criminal activity taking place, and that the plea was entered as a result of that criminal activity and not just as a road to avoid jail.
“Finger pointing is exactly what’s going to happen here,” Rubin says.
He says what exactly comes from the testimony of these other defendants will play a significant role in the trial’s outcome. Specifically, Mathis claims he was just giving legal advice- which is within his role as an attorney.
“It’s about knowing where the line is drawn, and the line is drawn clearly between giving advice and making decisions,” Rubin says.
He says if Mathis told some of these defendants what to do rather than just presenting the options available, it will work in favor of the prosecution. Additionally, he expects there will be questions about whether Mathis simply received a legal fee from working as an attorney, or profited from some of the specific decisions in question that were made.