Internet cafe lawyer pushes $50M lawsuit after charges dropped

Jacksonville attorney Kelly Mathis, shown here in 2016, filed a $50 million lawsuit in 2019 over his prosecution on racketeering and other charges that a state appeals court eventually decided were unjustifiable. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit in 2020 but Mathis appealed and arguments are scheduled Wednesday at the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

A Jacksonville attorney sentenced to prison and then exonerated over his guidance to internet cafes will try Wednesday to revive his lawsuit against the former sheriff and prosecutors who put him in jail.  

Kelly Mathis will tell appeals court judges in Atlanta that a federal judge in Jacksonville was wrong to dismiss his $50 million lawsuit against figures including former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

But lawyers answering his appeal are standing firm on charges that a jury found Mathis guilty of in 2013.

“There is compelling evidence that Mathis is guilty as charged of violating Florida’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act,” a lawyer representing Bondi and statewide prosecutor Nicholas Cox told the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in a brief last year.  

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