Columbia, SC (WLTX) - After SLED announced the largest bust of sweepstakes machines in South Carolina history Tuesday, a lawyer for the machines' owner says he wants a post seizure hearing to get the machines back.
"Some time ago, SLED directed to the people who were the owners of these devices that they had to be removed from where they were operating, we believe lawfully," said attorney Jake Moore.
Moore says that's how the almost 800 machines ended up inside the Swansea warehouse busted by SLED agents. Now, Moore wants the judge who signed the search warrant for the warehouse to hold a post seizure hearing to contest the legality of the machines. Previous Coverage: SLED: Gambling Machine Bust Largest in the State
"My client took the machines to a storage facility and began to dismantle and dismember them," Moore said. "None of the machines which were seized were operational."
Moore would not reveal the name of the client he's representing in the case, who he says is the owner of the machines.
However, Swansea Magistrate Judge Scott Whittle says by law, he's required to serve notice of seizure to the owner of the machines. His notice says the machines were seized from a man named Roy Stevens.
"There are certain things I cannot tell you by virtue of an attorney client privilege," Moore said in an interview Friday.
Moore says his client was in the process of purchasing the warehouse where the machines were found. While the purchase wasn't complete, Moore says his client had paid a down payment and was given access to the space before the sale was final.
"I guess they expected my client to eat the machines," Moore said. "They had to be taken somewhere and they were taken to a warehouse where two things were going on. They were being dismantled and refurbished to comply with the law. And my client had arrangements made to try and sell them over the internet."
Moore said the name of the website where the machines were listed was also protected under attorney client privilege.
So far, the charges in the case are only civil and deal only with the destruction of the machines. Authorities have not ruled out criminal charges and say they could be filed as early as next week.