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Charges on Gov’s Brother Dropped

December 22, 1998

SPARTA, Wis. (AP) _ Gambling charges against Gov. Tommy Thompson’s brother were dismissed after jury selection turned into a critique of the state’s gambling laws.

Several prospective jurors were struck from the panel Monday after saying they disagreed with laws that bar non-American Indian taverns from operating gambling machines while tribal casinos are permitted to offer slot machines and gaming tables.

Officers finally had to go into the streets to find more potential jurors for the trial of Ed Thompson, who was charged with having illegal video gambling games in his tavern.

``It was becoming clear that people had some divisive opinions regarding the case,″ Monroe County District Attorney John Matousek said. ``It was painfully obvious we probably would have a hung jury.″

The jury dilemma resurrected talks between the two sides and led to an out-of-court agreement, Matousek said.

Three felony counts against Thompson were dropped. In return, he agreed to reimburse the state $800 for its investigation and to have no video poker machines in his tavern for the next two years, Matousek said.

Thompson owns Tee Pee Supper Club in Tomah, one of 40 taverns raided a year ago in an undercover probe of illegal video poker and gambling machines in Monroe County.

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