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Optimism That Online Poker Seizure Warrants Will be Unsealed

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Jul/27/2009

The Honorable Judge Laura Taylor Swain heard arguments on Monday as to why seizure warrants related to nearly $40 million of funds belong to PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker should or should not be unsealed.

Costigan Media, parent company of Gambling911.com, filed the Motion to Intervene, claiming the First Amendment gives it right to access information contained in the warrants.

"Judge Swain took the matter very seriously," Gambling911.com reporter Tyrone Black observed during the nearly three hour hearing.  "She interjected a few times during the Government's argument, asking for more compelling reason why the seizure warrants should not be unsealed."

Baruch Weiss, legal counsel for Costigan Media, said that it all came down to whether names of cooperating witnesses contained in the seizure warrants should be redacted.

"We still argued that they should be made public," he said. 

Judge Swain was not convinced by the Government's argument and called the three prosecutors into the chambers with a court reporter.

"There were about 10 of us in the court room, some court reporters and a handful of other interested parties to the matter who were not identified," said Black.  "We all thought they would be coming out in about 15 minutes but the judge was speaking with the prosecutors for an hour and ten minutes."

The judge asked that the court reported transcripts be turned in by week's end and she would render a decision some time next week.

"Based on what was observed in the court room, Judge Swain will order the seizure warrants and other court documents unsealed.  There was nothing to indicate otherwise.  Depending on what transpired in the chambers, she may rule to have some of the names redacted."

The transcript of what occurred in the chambers will be released to the public.  This is information that could shed further light on the nature of these court documents.

The US Government has already revealed in its response to Costigan Media that this is an ongoing investigation and that further seizure of funds will likely occur in the future. 

Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher 

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