David Chesnoff's record includes beating the Feds, min-cashing in NHUPC, keeping Paris Hilton and Russ Hamilton out of jail
If you haven’t read it yet, here’s the civil complaint of Phillip Dennis Ivey, Jr. vs. Tiltware LLC and 10
Team Full Tilt John Does and/or Roe corporations. It’s a narrative tear-jerker for sure, the surface of a tale that scratches beyond matters of non-compete clauses and mishandled player monies.
The attorney who filed the suit, David Chesnoff, is kinda a big deal. He’s the former law partner of Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, has been an ABC Legal News analyst, and recently secured walks for Bruno Mars and Paris Hilton on cocaine charges. Other celebrity clients have included Vince Neil, Jamie Foxx, Mike Tyson, the Jackson family, Leonardo DiCaprio, Shaquille O’neal, Andre Agassi, Martha Stewart, Suge Knight, Nate Dogg … the list goes on and on — mostly criminal cases, some civil. But beyond having an A-list media component to his practice, Chesnoff is also a semi-regular high stakes poker player in Las Vegas — no stranger to the banter in Bobby’s Room and thus the inner workings of the poker world — with a remarkably successful record, legally, against the Feds.
Chesnoff is the guy who helped Doyle Brunson beat the SEC on a $700 million WPT pump-and-dump rap … which may or may not have had anything to do with his getting an invite to the ’06 NBC National Heads-up Championship, where he finished 9th. He also helped Shawn Shiekhan avoid deportation in the face of charges from the Department of Homeland Security. His other big wins against state and federal prosecutors include an acquittal for a “Scarfo” mobster facing the death penalty; an acquittal for a dude busted with 15 tons of hashish in California on grounds of entrapment; and a hung jury in case against kingpins snared in a $6.9 billion cocaine seizure — the biggest drug bust in US history.
He also scored a huge win for Terence Watanabe, one of the biggest whales in Vegas history, who faced severe civil and criminal penalties for welching on nearly $15 million in casino markers, by getting Caesars (then Harrah’s) to drop their claims on the grounds that management at Caesars Palace and the Rio shouldn’t have gotten him so drunk.
Chesnoff’s success runs the gamut — in courtrooms from Clark County to the DOJ’s Southern District of New York — all in all the kinda guy you’d think a Full Tilt exec might wanna hire. But that, of course, is no longer an option with the Ivey suit.
Other Chesnoff poker clients have included Mike Matusow, Kenna James, Johnny Chan, Crispin Leyser, and Russ Hamilton.
We’ll see where the Ivey case goes, obv … and what other criminal and/or civil actions may or may not get wrapped up in it. But beyond seeking $150 million, Ivey vs. Full Tilt marks a huge rift in Full Tilt ranks and fits curiously with statements of intent from Chesnoff’s firm’s own web bio:
Chesnoff & Schonfeld have taken the most difficult of cases, developed new law and have set precedents in the fields of constitutional, criminal and forfeiture law.
“A major distinction between our firm and other law firms is we take cases with the understanding that we’re taking it to trial.”