Dan Bilzerian Dodges Jail Term in Explosives Case
High-stakes cash game player and self-styled “Internet celebrity” Dan Bilzerian will avoid jail time in an ongoing Clark County explosives case. Bilzerian and a friend, who were charged with blowing up a truck last November on federal land outside Las Vegas, have reached a deal with prosecutors that will prevent Bilzerian from serving any prison time in connection with the incident.
Bilzerian and a friend, Jeremy Guymon, were originally cited on two counts of possession of explosives-manufacturing materials after the November 4th, 2014 incident, in which the pair loaded an old truck with explosives, then detonated it from a distance by firing rifle bullets into the vehicle. The resulting fire and flying shrapnel were reported by other people in the general vicinity, and Bilzerian and Guymon were arrested after law enforcement officers found Bilzerian bragging about the explosion and posting pictures on Instagram. The arresting officers were able to verify the pair’s involvement via cell-phone tracking records as well.
For Bilzerian, his deal involved an already-paid $10,000 fine and an agreement to film a public service announcement, or PSA, for the Bureau of Land Management. That federal agency oversees the federal land on which Bilzerian and Guymon detonated the explosion, without any form of permits. The homemade ammonia-nitrate mix used in the explosion was powerful enough to send pieces of the truck flying hundreds of yards in several directions.
Instead of the explosives related charges, Bilzerian and Guymon each pled guilty to a single count of failing to extinguish a fire. Bilzerian also paid $17,231.50 of the $20,000 in fines officially charged to the pair, detailed as “clean up expenses” for the explosion site. (Guymon paid the remainder of the $20,000 in fines assessed in the case.)
Bilzerian never even appeared in court in connection with the case. He was represented throughout by elite Las Vegas attorney David Z. Chesnoff, who specializes in representing well-heeled clients who have run afoul of Nevada and US law.
The plea deal was reached after prosecutors decided not to push the matter further, with prosecutor David Stanton choosing not to spend more court time on the matter. “It is largely unnecessary to go further based on the conditions of the plea and the facts of this case,” said Stanton.
However, the case will do little to quell statements that the United States is a country of two separate, unequal justice systems — one for the majority of its citizens and another for the rich elite and well-connected. Bilzerian won’t even be performing community service apart from the filming of the video, nor does the plea deal include any post-sentencing provisions or restrictions.
The fine itself, of more than $17,000, is virtual meaningless to Bilzerian, who like his brother, Adam, has come into tens of millions generally believed to be derived from the activities of his father, Paul Bilzerian. The elder Bilzerian was a corporate takeover specialist who ran afoul of US securities law in the late ’80s and early ’90s, and who was ultimately sentenced to four years in prison and a $1.5 million fine.
The elder Bilzerian eventually filed bankruptcy to dodge claims against him that approached $300 million, though he and his sons have continued to lead lavish lifestyles for many years.
As for Dan Bilzerian, the self-proclaimed “King of Instagram,” he might even view the incident as a positive. Bilzerian likely plans to continue promoting himself along with the video he’ll be making for the Bureau of Land Management, continuing to pump out drivel for his 6.4 million Instagram followers. If portrayed as just another day in the life of “Bilz,” the incident will likely be packaged as yet more happenings in Bilzerian’s money, sex and guns lifestyle.