Defense Seeks Plea Deal in Dan Bilzerian Explosives Case
Prominent attorneys representing poker-playing multimillionaire playboy Dan Bilzerian and another man in defense of felony explosive charges appeared in court this week, advising the presiding judge that they hope to reach a plea deal with prosecutors in the case.
Celebrity Las Vegas attorneys David Z. Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld appeared before Las Vegas Township Justice of the Peace Joe Sciscento to advise the judge of ongoing negotiations. Neither Bilzerian nor his co-defendant in the case, Jeremy David Guymon, were required to appear at the status hearing.
Bilzerian and Guymon are free on $10,000 bond each following their arrests last month in connection with the early-November incident, in which they allegedly blew up a tractor-trailer cab using homemade explosives. Bilzerian and Guymon each face two counts on possession of explosives-manufacturing materials. Both of the men face a maximum six-year prison term, plus a total fine of $10,000 each, if convicted on the charges.
For Bilzerian, a trust-fund baby and self-funded social-media celeb, the incident’s allegations represent the latest in a series of episodes of questionable judgment. Bilzerian and Guymon are accused of placing a cooler loaded with 90 pounds of homemade explosives in the cab of the truck, then detonating it by firing rifle bullets into the mixture from a distance until it exploded.
Widely-disseminated police reports following the pair’s December arrests provided details of the incident. The detonation took place on federal land several miles south of the Las Vegas strip in an area commonly used for target practice, though the incident itself includes allegations of recklessness. Other people in the area at the time reported debris from the truck flying over their heads, and investigators at the scene of the explosion documented a debris field three football fields in length.
Investigators quickly linked Bilzerian, who often posts images of his weapon collection on social media, to the incident. Vegas police and ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) agents allegedly found packages of exploding targets at the same carrying shipping tags that had been addressed to Bilzerian. Bilzerian himself, in an echo of the stupid online brags of dozens of other over-proud lawbreakers, allegedly made location-tagged Instagram postings linking him to the explosion.
Another status hearing in the case is scheduled for February 6th. If prosecutors and defense attorneys don’t reach a plea deal in the case, a trial would be scheduled at a later date.
An AP wire service report on the latest hearing offered a coincidental link to another recent Bilzerian episode. In addition to his involvement in the Los Angeles celebrity poker games that formed the basis for the recent book “Molly’s Game,” plus his comical multi-million-dollar funding of a small role for himself in the recent movie “Sole Survivor” — which also involved a lawsuit after most of Bilzerian’s camera time ended up on the cutting-room floor — Bilzerian was, months ago, the subject of a lawsuit threat by a porn star.
In that matter, in a purported pictorial shoot for Hustler Magazine, adult-movie actress Janice Griffith threatened to sue Bilzerian after being tossed off a rooftop and into a pool for the magazine shoot, allegedly clipping and breaking her ankle on the poolside while being thrown.
That resulted in a hilarious response letter from Bilzerian’s Los Angeles attorney, Thomas Goldstein, which thoroughly mocked Griffith’s planned claims. One excerpt from Goldstein’s letter, as noted in the latest AP piece, contained what might be accidental prescience regarding Bilzerian’s well-known fondness for weaponry and blowing things up.
The complete paragraph, which we published here in a report on that earlier Bilzerian escapade:
If she sues, the complaint will be sanctionably frivolous. Your client should just box up almost every last bit of her property (please exclude all videos and photographs, as well as the seemingly inevitable small yappy dog) and drop it off with you in safe-keeping for Mr. Bilzerian. After he receives the judgment in his favor, he will have it all delivered to him. Then he will probably blow it up with a mortar in the desert.
Giffith, to date, does not appear to have sued, though the excerpt now stands as curious on its own. Another coincidence is that the three lawyers thus linked to Bilzerian in the recent reports — Goldstein, Chesnoff and Schonfeld — are the same three Vegas and Los Angeles attorneys currently representing rich Asian father-and-son gamblers Paul and Darren Phua in their ongoing battle with Nevada and federal prosecutors over the operation of an allegedly illegal sports-betting operation.
However, other than for both the Phuas and Bilzerian being frequent participants in nosebleed poker games of various types, no other direct connection is implied or attended. The attorneys representing both are widely known for their celebrity and high-profile gambler clientele, and are often found on the defense side in cases like this. If nothing else, the Bilzerian case represents a bit of legal comic relief when contrasted against the far more complicated and detailed Phua affair.