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Trial over alleged unsanctioned Hogansburg casino postponed until May

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HOGANSBURG — The federal court trial of a Hogansburg man accused of operating an unsanctioned casino on the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation has been pushed back until May.

Anthony L. Laughing was a defendant when a trial began in early November in U.S. District Court, Albany, but a mistrial was declared Nov. 18 relative to him only because of medical issues, according to documents filed with the court.

A jury ultimately acquitted William Roger Jock and Thomas Angus Square, both of Hogansburg, and Joseph Hight of Atlanta of allegations that they illegally ran Three Feathers Casino on Route 37.

The casino was closed down in December 2012 following a multiagency raid, with the federal government claiming the men conducted a non-tribal gambling business and unlawfully possessed gambling devices on the reservation in connection with the operation of the casino, which opened in July 2011. The casino apparently had shut down in September 2012, but investigators alleged it continued to draw power from National Grid through an illegal electrical connection that was severed during the Dec. 18, 2012 raid.

The gambling parlor at 439 Route 37 was launched by the Kanienkehaka Kaianerehkowa Kanonhsesne, or Men’s Council of the People of the Way of the Longhouse. They are not associated with the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council, the only governing body on the reservation recognized by the state. The St. Regis Tribal Gaming Commission did not recognize the casino as legitimate, maintaining that it operated in violation of the tribe’s gaming ordinance.

A new trial for Mr. Laughing was scheduled to begin Feb. 24, but has been postponed until May 13 in Albany, again because of health issues, according to a stipulation agreed to Wednesday by attorneys for both sides. A fifth defendant, James Gray, remains a fugitive, according to court documents, and has yet to be arraigned on any charges.

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