The US government seems to have developed a sudden soft spot for the defendants of the Black Friday events and is granting them extensions and allowing them to plead for the lightest possible sentence and get away with it – before event going to court. There are 11 people who have been indicted in the US online poker case and Judge Lewis Kaplan is handling the matter.
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So far, one of the 11 defendants, Chad Elie has gotten off on a fairly light sentence. Elie was the first to walk away with a reasonable deal from the court, and Judge Lewis Kaplan granted that Elie who faced up to 5 years in prison for his felonies, be allowed to face a 6 month to 1 year long sentence since he admitted to being guilty on one count. Chad Elie also agreed to forfeit the $500,000 that he had earned while working with the US poker sites and processed payments. Elie even admitted to being guilty. “Yes, your honor. I know that my conduct was wrong,” replied Elie to Kaplan’s query of “You are pleading guilty because you are guilty?”
Facing 6 felonies John Campos, another defendant is trying to get off even lighter looking for a 0 to 6 months sentence and on a count of misdemeanor no less. This is a regular sweetheart deal that he is looking to get from the court and we have to wait and see if it goes through.
In the meantime, a good number of the rest of the defendants have been granted an extension until May 14th 2012. Surprisingly, the list of defendants granted an extension by the court includes the likes of Full Tilt Poker.
PokerStars and Absolute Poker have also been granted extensions – of course under separate filings.
When it comes to individuals, the men involved in the Black Friday case that got an extension from the court are Full Tilt Poker’s big guys – namely Howard Lederer and Ray Bitar. Rafe Furst was also given an extension, but for some reason Chris Ferguson was refused one. The reason for this remains unclear, and one can only hope that the Full Tilt Poker officials do not saddle Ferguson with the rap and walk away happily with a set of sweetheart deals from the court.
On account of the current situation that the Full Tilt Poker site has put its players in and not being able to get a buy-out bailout from Tapie, the poker community has become a bit blood thirsty when it comes to Ray Bitar – and will no doubt want to see justice done.

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