Fast trials could be on the way in Allied Veterans charity gambling scandal

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SANFORD, Fla. - The judge in the cases of almost 60 people charged with running a veterans' charity that Florida prosecutors say was a gambling operation is trying to give those defendants desiring speedy trials their wish.

Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester said Thursday he was setting a hearing next week for about a half-dozen defendants wanting fast trials. They include Jacksonville attorney Kelly Mathis, charged with being the mastermind.

Lester hopes to begin those trials by August, barring setbacks. The prosecutor estimates trials would last two months.

The remaining cases will be scheduled afterwards.

The investigation into Allied Veterans of the World led to the resignation of former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll after she was interviewed during the probe. Her firm did work for Allied but she's denied wrongdoing and wasn't charged.

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