Hearing date set for online poker ban fight

Seattle

Lee Rousso finally has a hearing date for his lawsuit against the State of Washington in regards to its online gambling ban.

In a statement he issued on the Poker Players Alliance Web site, Rousso said his hearing is scheduled for April 25 at 11 a.m. (PST). He plans to file his brief before the hearing on or before March 28 and will provide a copy to be posted on the PPA site as well.

"I hope Washington State poker players will come to the hearing and show their support," Rousso says in his posting.

Rousso, a lawyer and the state representative for the PPA in Washington, is challenging the constitutionality of Washington's online gambling ban. He filed the lawsuit on the first day of the 2007 World Series of Poker Main Event.

He alleges that the state's online gambling ban fails to comply with the Wire Act passed by the federal government, which has never extended criminal liability to the players, whereas the Washington law makes it a felony to gamble online.

Rousso is also accusing the state of imposing a ban on online gambling to protect its own gambling industry. That would be a violation of the U.S. Constitution's commerce clause forbidding individual states from passing protectionist laws against other states' business.

Last year the case hit a snag after the state demanded information, as part of discovery, that Rousso believes is confidential and implicates his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. When the King County Superior Court denied his request for a protective order or other relief from producing the information, Rousso took the decision to the Court of Appeals.

The Court of Appeals returned the case to the lower court in January for more litigation over the discovery issue.

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