From Jacksonville, Florida Lawyer: Cynthia Veintemillas concerning the Allied Veterans scandal that is accused of funneling nearly 300 million dollars away from the intended recipients, wounded war veterans.
Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester denied Kelly Mathis’ motion for a separate trial. Mathis is a lawyer in Jacksonville FL. He has been accused of being “the mastermind behind the Allied Veterans of the World gaming centers scandal will be going on trial with some of his co-defendants.” His criminal defense attorney “asked for Mathis to be tried separately because he didn’t want the other defendants blaming Mathis for their arrests.” He attorney argued his point by stating, “Mr. Mathis has a right to defend himself without getting fingers pointed at him by both the prosecutors and the other defendants.” Judge Lester disagreed and denied Mathis’ motion for a separate jury trial. He “found that the possibility of other defendants blaming Mathis was not enough to give him a separate trial.” The judge reasoned that “the existence of possibly antagonistic defenses … is not enough to justify severance of co-defendants…. If the defendants engage in a swearing match as to who did what, the jury should resolve the conflicts and determine the truth of the matter.”
In March on the 20 Miles Law Jacksonville Lawyers website, I wrote an article asking Jacksonville Lawyer Guilty or Innocent in Duval County Scandal? We will have an answer soon. Mathis will likely be tried in September. He has not waived his right to speedy trial. He is scheduled to go to trial with the other co-defendants that have not waived their speedy trial rights. There were 57 arrests made in connection with this case and the Allied Veteran’s scandal. There are defendants that are more well known than others. These defendants include Nelson Cuba, Robbie Freitas, and Jerry Bass. They “have waived their right to a speedy trial and won’t go on trial until the first wave of defendants is dealt with. Cuba is the president of the Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police, Freitas a union vice president and Bass the national commander of Allied Veterans of the World.” (Florida Times Union)
Judge Kenneth R. Lester Jr. may sound like a familiar name. He was the judge that originally presided over the infamous Florida self defense case involving George Zimmerman. He is the Seminole County judge that was replaced by Judge Debra Nelson. Zimmerman requested a new judge, because Judge Lester’s “remarks put Zimmerman in reasonable fear of an unfair trial.” The Fifth District Court of Appeals found that Lester “made gratuitous, disparaging remarks about Mr. Zimmerman’s character; advocated for Mr. Zimmerman to be prosecuted for additional crimes; offered a personal opinion about the evidence for the prosecution; continued to hold over Mr. Zimmerman’s head the threat of future contempt proceedings, and ultimately set a bond at $1,000,000.” (CNN News).