The last of the 15 men arrested on 29 felony counts for the office raid at Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino settled his case Monday.
Vernon King, a former tribal council member, was allowed to settle his case without a plea for trespassing.
Under the disposition agreement, his case will be reviewed in six months. If King has no new criminal offenses, the case will be dismissed.
It’s the same agreement reached last month for three tribal police officers present the night of the casino office raid – Ron Jones, John Cayanne and Jim Glasscock.
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The conclusion of the case against King ends the threat of a preliminary hearing and jury trial in which King could have been given years in prison for his involvement in the casino office raid 14 months ago.
On Oct. 9, 2014, members of the Tex McDonald faction and its tribal police and security officers forcibly entered the casino gaming office to find documents for two years of audits that were late in being submitted to the National Indian Gaming Commission.
The raid led to the evacuation of 500 patrons and employees. No one was seriously injured in the raid, although an electrical shock device was employed and some physical assaults were reported.
King and McDonald were the only two tribal council members arrested. Others were members of the tribal police or security officers employed by the McDonald faction. King spent six months in Madera County Jail until Judge Dale Blea determined he would not be a danger if he were released.
Others who participated in the raid said King did not take part in any assaults and was seen sleeping in the casino office after the raid.
McDonald, who was shown in a video wrestling with an opposing security team member, spent eight months in Madera County Jail and was convicted of a non-strike felony count of false imprisonment. He previously had two strikes and initially was facing life in prison if convicted of the felonies alleged in the original complaint.
The case was filed just days before the 2014 election by former Madera County District Attorney Michael Keitz. He lost his re-election bid to David Linn, who took over in January.
Lawyer Mark Coleman, who represented nine of the men arrested, said the case should never have been filed. Coleman represented the three men who settled last month under the same terms as King.
“Ultimately, I’m satisfied with the resolution,” he said. “What happened to these men was a travesty, but ultimately, this is a reasonable solution.”
The McDonald faction had lost control of the casino six weeks before the raid when members of the Reggie Lewis/Nancy Ayala group got into the establishment and holed up on the top floor of the hotel.
At a U.S. District Court hearing the day after the raid, Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill closed the hotel and casino and required the state attorney general and federal gaming commission to approve any reopening plans.
The tribe reached an agreement with Madera County two weeks ago, which is expected to lead to subsequent approval by state and federal officials, although government agencies haven’t signed off yet.
When they do approve it, tribal officials say they will need only a few weeks to get the casino open for business.