As the BetonSports case inches toward its third year in existence, some news on a trial date may finally be released.
In court documents filed last Wednesday, United States District Judge Carol E. Jackson ordered that a scheduling conference be held on March 18 in St. Louis, Mo., where attorneys for both sides will discuss a prospective trial date.
The conference likely comes in response to a May 2008 motion for release filed by the founder of BetonSports, Gary S. Kaplan.
In that motion, a renewed version of which is now before the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, Mr. Kaplan's legal team pressed the Federal District Court in St. Louis for his release from jail, before trial, under the Speedy Trial Act.
When Mr. Kaplan was re-arraigned in September 2008 -- at which time the third superseding indictment was issued -- his attorneys pushed again for his release.
"We believe it's imperative in order to maintain Mr. Kaplan's constitutional rights that either he be afforded the promptest possible trial, or that he be released from custody at this point because we think we have crossed the line between constitutionally permissible pretrial detention and that which is prohibited," said Samuel J. Buffone, one of Mr. Kaplan's attorneys, according to a transcript of the arraignment hearing.
Legal observers not involved with the case have remarked to IGamingNews on previous occasions that Mr. Kaplan's numerous pretrial motions, ironically, have slowed its progression toward the trial phase.
Mr. Kaplan has remained incarcerated in Missouri because the court adjudged him a flight risk after he was arrested in March 2007.
At the time of his arrest, Mr. Kaplan was found with five passports, three of which were under false names, and a spiral notebook that included details of a plan to relocate to Nicaragua where he could "avoid the 22" -- a reference to the number of counts on the indictment then.
A source close to the case, who spoke on condition of anonymity, expects a trial date to be set for late 2009 or early 2010.
is the editor of IGamingNews. He lives in St. Louis, Mo.