Fuller aquitted of gambling charges

OWINGS MILLS -- Corey Fuller's confident prediction about the outcome of his gambling and firearms trial came true.<br><br> The Baltimore Ravens' veteran cornerback was acquitted by a Tallahassee, Fla., jury Saturday of all three gambling and firearms charges. He had been accused of running high-stakes card games at his home called "Georgia Skins."

Fuller, 33, was arrested nine months ago in a raid at his home conducted by multiple law enforcement agencies. He was charged with a third-degree felony of operating a gambling house, a second-degree felony of brandishing a weapon while in commission of a felony and a misdemeanor gambling charge.

The jury deliberated for less than two hours before exonerating Fuller of charges that could have earned him a maximum five-year prison sentence.

"It's ridiculous how the state and these officers took this charge and ran with it," Fuller said after the verdict was announced, according to the Associated Press. "I feel sorry for the guys who have been on trial that have no money and can't afford great lawyers."

Because the prosecution failed to convict Fuller of the gambling charges, he was automatically cleared of the weapons charge. Last summer, Fuller forecasted that he wasn't going to jail.

"Going to jail? Not with all of the other things going on in the world," Fuller said. "What I'm accused of doing, no, I can't see myself going to jail."

Assistant state attorney Matt Smith, who prosecuted Fuller, told jurors in closing arguments that Fuller presided over the card games like "a pit boss," armed and demanding the house cut, which he placed in a shoe box on the game room floor.

"It's not a game room," Smith told jurors. "It's Casino Fuller, that's what it was."

An undercover agent testified he saw hundreds of dollars being wagered. State law allows card players to gamble up to $10 a hand.

The agent did not see Fuller gambling, but a witness testified she saw him playing a game called Georgia Skins. Jurors saw a videotape of the raid that included Fuller cursing after police rammed his front door last spring.

Fuller acknowledged he was carrying a holstered gun when his house was raided last April 20. The former Florida State standout acquired a concealed weapon permit after a shootout at his house earlier in the year. Fuller has blamed authorities for not finding the culprits.

Fuller has vowed to leave Tallahassee, where he grew up and has spent his off-seasons.

"I'm definitely out of there," Fuller said. "The third strike for me there could be detrimental to my life."

Fuller's acquittal and running back Jamal Lewis' formal sentencing of four months in prison for a drug charge last week means linebacker Terrell Suggs is the last Raven facing felony charges.

Suggs' aggravated assault trial has been continued until May 13 with a trial management conference scheduled for that day in Maricopa County Superior Court (Ariz.).

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times and RavensInsider
The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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