SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - The man at the center of the Allied Veterans of the World racketeering and money-laundering case is forcing the state's hand.
Kelly Mathis is one of 57 people who faced a judge Thursday. He said he wants a speedy trial.
The case is moving forward quickly because 50 of the accused have waived their right to a speedy trial, and only seven are demanding the state move forward.
This is comes as the state prepares to handle another high-profile case in the Seminole County courthouse, the George Zimmerman murder trial.
In a court room filled with so many attorneys some were forced to sit in the jury box, Judge Kenneth Lester took the first steps in the Allied Veterans of the World case.
Investigators raided Internet casino sites across the state in March, seizing more than $100 million in assets and arresting 57 people on charges ranging from racketeering to money laundering.
The state maintains the group was calling itself a charity but keeping 98 percent of profits for itself.
Mitch Stone represents Kelly Mathis, the man the state says was at the center of the operation.
Mathis, who is himself an attorney and the past president of the Jacksonville Bar Association, demanded Thursday that the state follow through on its obligation to give him a speedy trial.
Stone said his client wants a trial as soon as possible.
"We feel strongly that Kelly Mathis is going to be found not guilty, we feel strongly that he shouldn't even be here, and he's got to get back to his life," Stone said.
Attorneys representing the other defendants in the case said the move by Mathis will give the state less time to prepare its case.
If Mathis is found not guilty, it gives the accused leverage to have their cases dismissed, and completely unravel the state's case against Allied Veterans of the World.
The court is preparing for the Zimmerman trial and closing off areas in the parking lot.
The judge said Thursday some hearings in the Allied Veterans case may have to be moved since so much of the building will be dedicated to the Zimmerman trial.