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Fuller Is Acquitted In Florida

Associated Press
Sunday, January 30, 2005; Page E05

TALLAHASSEE, Jan. 29 -- Baltimore Ravens cornerback Corey Fuller was acquitted Saturday of all three gambling and gun charges after being accused of running high-stakes card games at his house.

The six-member jury deliberated less than two hours before rejecting two days of prosecution testimony on charges carrying a possible five-year prison sentence.

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

The prosecution failed to prove Fuller either kept a gambling house, a felony, or gambled illegally, a misdemeanor. The verdict on the felony count automatically cleared him of a related weapons charge.

"Everything he tells you has an independent, innocent, non-criminal explanation," defense attorney Gary Roberts said in closing arguments.

But prosecutor Matt Smith told jurors that Fuller presided over the card games like "a pit boss," armed and demanding the house cut, which was put 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 a profane response to police ramming Fuller's front door.

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