Jury deliberates gambling charges against Ravens cornerback

Saturday, January 29th 2005, 12:16 pm
By: News On 6

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ A jury began deliberating gambling charges Saturday against Baltimore Ravens cornerback Corey Fuller, who was accused of turning the game room at his home into a gambling den for high-stakes card games.

The defense told the six-member jury that evidence presented over the past two days amounted to nothing and the prosecution failed to prove that Fuller either kept a gambling house, a charge carrying a possible five-year prison sentence, or gambled illegally.

``Everything he tells you has an independent, innocent, non-criminal explanation,'' said defense attorney Gary Roberts.

But prosecutor Matt Smith told jurors that the physical evidence backed up the testimony of state witnesses. The defense called no one.

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, Smith said.

``It's not a game room. It's Casino Fuller, that's what it was,'' Smith said. ``He was maintaining and running a gambling house with his felon buddies,'' a remark that drew a defense objection.

An undercover agent testified that 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 that 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. Roberts described Fuller as a successful, wealthy man who was loyal to and kept in touch with his childhood friends.

``He's the guy from the neighborhood who made good. That's what he is,'' Roberts said.

Fuller was carrying a holstered gun when his house was raided last April 20. He got a concealed weapon permit after a shootout at his house earlier in the year.

The 10-year veteran out of Florida State reported exchanging gunfire with an intruder outside his home. No one was injured and about 20 shots were fired. Fuller offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

``The man was a robbery victim. He's scared. He's trying to protect himself,'' Roberts said.

Fuller, had 13 tackles and no sacks in 14 games this season, spends the offseason in Tallahassee, where he starred in high school and college. He has also played for the Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns.