Fuller gambling trial begins

OWINGS MILLS -- Jury selection began Monday in the gambling trial of Baltimore Ravens veteran cornerback Corey Fuller.<br><br> Fuller, 33, is accused of running a high-stakes poker game out of his home in Tallahassee, Fla., and was arrested nine months ago. The charge is a third-degree felony punishable by a maximum five-year sentence and a $5,000 fine if prosecutors convict Fuller in a case presided over by circuit judge Kathleen Dekker.

The former Florida State football star also faces a second-degree felony charge of brandishing a firearm while allegedly presiding over the games.

Opening arguments are scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

"He feels he's being targeted for who he is," Timothy Jansen, Fuller's attorney, told the Tallahassee Democrat. "Mr. Fuller denies any illegal activity whatsoever and maintains his innocence on these charges and looks forward to the trial that will clear his name."

Fuller came under scrutiny from law enforcement officials last January after a shootout at his home where roughly 20 shots were exchanged and no one was injured, leaving his residence riddled with bullets. Fuller offered a $10,000 reward after the attempted home invasion.

Last April, Leon County officers raided his home and accused him of hosting high-stakes cards games for a 10-percent cut of the pot. Leon County sheriffs' spokeswoman Linda Butler said that Fuller hosted a poker game called "Georgia Skins," and seized thousands of dollars from the table.

Florida law only allows players to gamble up to $10 per hand, and informants and an undercover officer alleged that thousands of dollars were wagered per hand.

Assistant state attorney Matt Smith, who is prosecuting Fuller, then independently filed felony firearm and misdemeanor gambling charges.
Informants and an undercover investigator alleged that Fuller carried a handgun at all times while presiding over the games. Some of the gamblers told detectives that Fuller occasionally participated in the games, according to court documents.

Fuller's safe held more than $10,000 in cash, according to court documents, and his house also contained six pistols, a shotgun and a piece of equipment used to pick up radio signals from transmitters used by undercover police.

"I made $15 million in the last three years, and y'all arrest me under the notion of operating a gambling house," Fuller was quoted as saying by detectives. "This is the best y'all could do?"

As well as a being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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