Yesterday not only was Super Sunday, it also was the second Super Bowl game day in a row on which FBI agents have conducted a gambling raid in an apartment occupied by Nicholas J. (Nick) Gianaris, younger brother of D.C. gambler-philantoropist Peter J. Gianaris.
The agents who conducted the raid at apartment 705, 1020 19th St. NW, did not arrest Nicholas Gianaris, they searched his apartment and seized alleged gambling records that assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Mueller said will be presented to a U.S. grand jury.
It is not uncommon for agents conducting a search to seize evidence of alleged criminal activity without making an arrest. It will be up to the grand jury to decide if, on the basis of the evidence seized yesterday and further evidence that may be developed, Nicholas Gianaris should be indicted on gambling charges, Mueller said.
On Dec. 21 another federal grand jury indicted Gianaris and his brother, Peter, on charges stemming from last year's Super Sunday raids. When Nicholas Gianaris was released on his own recognizance Dec. 28 he listed the 19th Street apartment as his residence, Mueller said.
Mueller said the warrants for yesterday's raid were issued on the basis of information supplied by a "confidential informant."
The informant, said Mueller, "told them that the Gianarises were still active gamblers and that Nick was taking bets over a specified telephone."
During the raid agents seized a "quantity of gambling records indicating that Nick Gianaris had been accepting bets on basketball and football and had accepted $4,000 in bets on the Super Bowl this morning," Mueller said.
Mueller said Nicholas Gianaris was alone in his apartment during the raid. His being preoccupied with the federal agents did not prevent gamblers from allegedly placing bets.
Persons who allegedly placed those bets are going to have a hard time collecting even if they picked a winner.
While FBI agents searched the apartment they "accepted several bets from bettors calling in," Mueller said. Those bets taken by the FBI-Oakland and 4 1/2 points - included a few for $300, said Mueller.
Nicholas Gianaris had been offering a varying point spread, said Mueller, giving "3 1/2 to 4 1/2 points, depending on the bettor."
Mueller said Nicholas Gianaris has been convicted on gambling charges only once. Peter Gianaris, however, is an almost legendary figure in D.C. law enforcement and gambling circles.
Identified for years in news reports as a "veteran gambler" and "gambling kingpin," Peter Gianaris has been arrested, tried and convicted on numerous occasions, but in most of the cases he has received suspended sentences or been placed on probation.
During an appearance for sentencing in 1968, Peter Gianaris's attorney pleaded for leniency because of the gambler's "outstanding charitable activities . . ."