Casino charges dropped against two Missouri lawmakers

Monday, April 13, 2009 | 3:51 p.m. CDT; updated 4:25 p.m. CDT, Monday, April 13, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY — Charges have been dropped against two lawmakers accused of presenting false identification at a Boonville casino.

Sen. Jeff Smith, D-St. Louis, and Rep. Joe Aull, D-Marshall, were charged in 2007 with misdemeanors after Aull let Smith use his casino-issued identification card to enter the Isle of Capri Casino.

The Cooper County court clerk's office said Monday that Smith's case was closed two weeks ago. Smith said the charges against him have been dropped.

Aull's case had been moved to Pettis County. A court clerk there says the case against Aull was dismissed March 23.

The misdemeanor charges carried a penalty of up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.

Cooper County prosecutor Doug Abele could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.

The charges stem from a 2007 incident in which Smith used a casino card issued to Aull to enter the gambling floor of the Isle of Capri Casino during a visit by several lawmakers.

Until voters approved a 2008 ballot measure, gamblers at Missouri casinos had to obtain a special electronic card that allowed the state to enforce its $500 loss limit per two-hour gambling session.

Voters repealed the loss limits in November, and the cards are no longer required.

A Missouri State Highway Patrol probable cause statement supporting the charges says casino surveillance tapes showed Aull giving his gambling card to former Isle of Capri lobbyist Lynne Schlosser, who then hung it around Smith's neck. Smith showed the card as if it were his own and was allowed to enter the gambling floor.

Smith, 35, has said he wasn't carrying his driver's license and was unable to register for a gambling card. He has said Schlosser suggested it was fine to use someone else's card.

Smith on Monday called the charges "trumped up."

"I'm glad it's over, glad it's behind me," Smith said. "Apparently the prosecutor believed that it was not much of a case."

Aull, 60, said he was relieved the charges were dropped.

"I never believed that I was guilty of what I was charged with," he said. "I was only trying to help a friend who was in a tough situation."

Schlosser also was charged with a misdemeanor. Like the two lawmakers, records from her case do not appear in online court records. Schlosser did not immediately return a call seeking comment Monday.

St. Louis-based Isle of Capri ended its lobbying contract with her shortly after the incident was publicized.



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