Club Velvet attorney accuses ABC of "Entrapment"

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Will Shockoe Bottom's controversial "Club Velvet" get to keep its liquor license? Tonight the club's attorney makes new accusations against the state department of ABC.

An ABC officer already recommended to take away Velvet's right to serve alcohol. Today, the club's attorney appealed that decision, and in doing so accused ABC agents of "entrapment."

Appearing without his client, the attorney for Sam Moore "blasted" the state ABC for what he called an "outrageous" and "tainted" undercover investigation.

"The approach has always been to treat him as some sort of kingpin or something and engage in sneak attacks," said Kevin Martingayle, Attorney for Club Velvet and Sam Moore.

Based on sworn testimony from a November hearing, the attorney said drug activity and illegal sex acts were encouraged by ABC agents, to lay the basis for shutting down Club Velvet. The attorney later questioned the motives of one undercover informant.

"You had testimony in the record that this confidential informant was paid based on the results he got. So, in other words, he had a direct incentive to go into a place and try to see how much illegal activity he could get people to engage in. I've never heard such a thing," Martingayle said.

An attorney for the state countered that Moore himself was to blame for not stopping certain activities inside his club known to be happening on "a regular basis." Adding that, to allow the club a liquor license, would be a public safety concern.

Neither the state, nor the ABC had further comment, and a decision will have to wait.

"They will issue a decision with 30 days, often sooner," said ABC Spokesperson Rebecca Gettings.

While Moore was absent from this hearing, his attorney assured reporters that the case against him, won't likely end here, if the strip club's liquor license is ultimately...stripped.

"I don't see him going down without putting up a fight," said Martingayle.

Velvet's attorney admitted neither the club, nor its owner, Sam Moore, are perfect. Underage drinking inside the club is a problem he said needed to be addressed, but if the ABC board upholds a decision to revoke the liquor license, the next appeal goes to circuit court.

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