David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld are certainly two of the best legal defense lawyers in America, but in Las Vegas there’s no question they hit more jackpots than any other firm in town.
They are the “jail busters” for celebrities and high-profile gamblers alike, and when stars find themselves in trouble while visiting Sin City, they’re going to call Chesnoff and Schonfeld.
And the team’s latest two clients, Paul Phua and Bryon Micon, got exactly what they paid for, both essentially escaping potentially lengthy stays behind bars.
Rob Betters to Pay Paul
Anyone even remotely paying attention to Vegas gambling news knows the Paul Phua case by now.
In July of 2014, the Malaysian businessman, suspected 14K Triad member, and former high-stakes poker pro was charged with operating an illegal World Cup sports betting ring.
There was little doubt over the validity of the charges brought on by investigators, but what wasn’t valid was the manner in which they collected evidence.
Disconnecting Internet service to Phua’s Caesars Palace villa, detectives posed as repair personnel while secretly videotaping the confines of the residence without a proper search warrant.
After a lengthy process and Chesnoff making his arguments, US District Judge Andrew Gordon dismissed the video footage evidence, effectively eliminating the prosecution’s case against Phua.
While the district attorney’s office could have filed an appeal, it announced this week the lawsuit wouldn’t continue.
“We disagree with Judge Gordon’s decision for the reasons stated in our court filings; however, the government will not be appealing his decision,” Daniel Bogden said, United States attorney for the District of Nevada.
Chesnoff wasted no time in declaring victory. “On behalf of Mr. Phua, (attorney) Tom Goldstein and my office, we are pleased that the wisdom of Judge Gordon’s decision is not being challenged.”
Point Chesnoff and Schonfeld.
Dirty Deeds, Micon Done Plea
Then there’s the former chairman of the Seals With Clubs (SwC) Bitcoin poker network, Bryan Micon.
In February, the Nevada Gaming Commission, accompanied by gun-yielding agents, handcuffed Micon and issued a search warrant to comb through his Las Vegas residence.
Though he wasn’t charged at the time, the eight-hour affair led Micon to picking up his family and relocating to Antigua, and following the shutdown of SwC, the Bitcoin advocate launched SwCPoker.eu.
Micon was officially charged on one felony count of operating an unlicensed interactive gambling website in April by Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt.
After months of speculation as to whether he would or wouldn’t return to the US to face the charge, Micon voluntarily decided in June he would fight the case alongside Chesnoff and his team.
Originally facing up to 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine, Micon’s defense negotiated a plea deal with Laxalt in exchange for, most likely, the avoidance of any time behind bars.
Though he won’t be officially sentenced until after the July 4th Independence Day holiday weekend, Micon is expected to see the sole charge reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor and be ordered to pay $25,000, $900 in cash, 3.0996 Bitcoins, and his computers.
Point Chesnoff and Schonfeld.