Full Tilt Poker Defendant Heard on Secret Tape Talks of Alleged Harry Reid Bribe

Written by:
Ace King
Published on:
Jan/31/2013
Full Tilt Poker Defendant Heard on Secret Tape Talks of Alleged Harry Reid Bribe

An hour long secretly recorded audio conversation between Utah’s SunFirst Bank online poker payment processor Jeremy Johnson and that state’s current Utah Attorney General John Swallow discusses an alleged bribe involving Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. 

Johnson, a defendant in the “Black Friday” case of April 15, 2011 involving Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, claims the recording was made one year later at an Orem, Utah Krispy Kreme donut shop, according to the Salt Lake City Tribune.  Reid, who tried to push forth a federal online poker bill late this past year, has profusely denied the allegations.

From the Tribune:

They talk about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and how the powerful Nevada Democrat — for a price, according to Johnson — could be key to derailing a Federal Trade Commission probe, legalizing online poker and stalling payday-loan reforms.

Johnson claims in the audio to have taken part in a 2010 meeting where Reid was present to discuss the online poker sector.  Johnson then alleges that he was advised “Reid was given a little something in his retirement fund” to help change his stance on Web poker. 

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The audio included this exchange between Johnson and Swallow as published by PokerFuse.com:

Johnson: I’ll tell you this. We had a meeting with Reid, where he said—this was a private meeting—it was Reid, it was me, it was, you remember John Pappas? Remember him? Poker Players Alliance guy?
Swallow: Oh, yeah.
Johnson: John Pappas, and Ray Bitar, owner of Full Tilt Poker.
Swallow: Yeah.
Johnson: Owner of Full Tilt Poker. [] And Senator Reid—this was when it was a tight election with this lady down there, real tight…
Swallow: Yeah… yeah, sure. I remember that.
Johnson: And he said, 'Look, I’ve polled my constituents. They don’t like online poker. Bottom line. It’s bad for… it’s bad for jobs here in Las Vegas. But, I’m going to back what you guys are doing here. I’m going to introduce a bill for you.’

"The allegations of bribery by Mr. Johnson, a man with a background of fraud, deception and corruption, are absurd and utterly false," a spokeswoman for Harry Reid, Kristen Orthman, wrote in an email. "Bribery is a crime for which Senator Reid has personally put people behind bars. Senator Reid will not have his integrity questioned by a man of Mr. Johnson’s low record and character, and his outrageous allegations will not go unanswered. Clearly, a desperate man is making things up.

“Senator Reid will not have his integrity questioned by a man of Mr. Johnson’s low record and character,” the statement added.

Johnson responded to Orthman’s comments.

“Mr. Senator, the American people question your integrity, not me. If you would like to sit down and compare our records and character, I would welcome that opportunity. My life is an open book, and we all want to see what is in yours, so just tell me the time and place and I will be there.“

- Ace King, Gambling911.com

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