Tupac Murder Suspect Pleads Not Guilty, Avoids Death Penalty Possibility

The State won’t seek the death penalty for Duane Davis for his alleged role in the murder of rap superstar


FACING A MURDER charge in the Sept. 7, 1996 shooting death of Tupac Shakur, former California street gang boss Duane Davis received a little good news during his brief arraignment Thursday in a Las Vegas Courtroom.

The State won’t seek the death penalty for what authorities are calling Davis’ role as “shot-caller” in a drive-by shooting a block off the Las Vegas Strip that mortally wounded the 25-year-old Shakur and also wounded Death Row Records godfather Marion “Suge” Knight.

Davis, 60, is charged with first-degree murder with the use of a deadly weapon with a gang enhancement, which gave prosecutors the opportunity to press for the death penalty. He is the last living suspect in a homicide case that has frustrated investigators in Los Angeles and Las Vegas for nearly three decades.


Nevada voters deserve an apology for 2020 election lies

Nevada voters deserve an apology for 2020 election lies

It seems like only yesterday that former President Donald Trump’s White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows was leading the chorus of election deniers and making a full-throated endorsement of Nevada secretary of state candidate Jim Marchant.

It was, in fact, in November 2021 during a Republican fundraiser at a Henderson country club that the two fraud promoters stood side by side with their thumbs up and their heads high. The cult of election denialism was in full bluster that night.

It was an evening that saw Republican State Party Chairman and snake oil salesman supreme Michael McDonald once again malign Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske for working “on behalf of Democrats.” Cegavske was only doing her duty when she stood up to the GOP’s shameful campaign of prevarication. The longtime Republican refused to buckle to the pressure in the wake of the 2020 election despite a series of specious lawsuits and increasing vitriol from the party to which she had dedicated so much of her public life. She endured an insulting censure from Nevada’s Trump zealots.

Marchant’s unwavering fealty toward Trump makes him an easy character to parody. Write off his candidacy as a joke if you’d like, but remember that he lost to Cisco Aguilar in the 2022 general election by just 2.28 percent of the vote. Such was the staying power of Trump’s big lie about widespread voter fraud. It’s undeniably clear that most of its traveling promoters knew that was so when they graffitied our democracy in battleground states with their character assassinations and slanders about election department heads and voting machines.

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Gambler ups the ante with federal lawsuit against Resorts World Las Vegas and its ex-head Sibella

A gambler’s protracted battle with Resorts World Las Vegas reached a new level Monday with a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court that accuses the Strip casino-resort company and its former president of negligence and the infliction of emotional distress for failing to prevent known fraudsters and persons convicted of gambling-related crimes from playing in the casino.

The lawsuit filed by attorneys Marshall Cole and David Merrill on behalf of California resident Robert J. Cipriani, who goes by the moniker “Robin Hood 702” on social media, comes following the ouster of Resorts World Las Vegas President Scott Sibella for a violation of company policy amid press reports of an ongoing investigation by IRS Criminal Investigations and U.S. Homeland Security agents of Las Vegas hotels, including Resorts World. A subpoena associated with the investigation calls on the casino-hotel to turn over communications between resort officials and former casino customers.

The lawsuit describes Cipriani as an “avid gambler, activist, and prolific philanthropist who regularly donates substantial monies to educational, environmental, and poverty alleviating charitable causes, among others.” Cipriani made news in 2022 when he was charged with theft and cheating at gambling at Resorts World following a November 2021 dispute in the casino with convicted Kizzang fraudster and gambler Robert Alexander. The charges were later reduced to misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

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Sedway story moves out of Bugsy’s Shadow in new book about old Vegas

“I just got out of bed and I’m loaded with drugs.”

–Moe Sedway to the Kefauver Committee

As a lover of Las Vegas history, I have a special place in my heart for Moe Sedway.

Maybe it was his drooping profile and sad-dog eyes, which set him apart from his vain and polished running mate Benjamin Siegel, that did it. Unlike the infamous Bugsy, there was no mistaking Sedway’s mug for a movie star.

Or it could be his unintentionally hilarious testimony before the U.S. Senate Special Committee to Investigate Crime in Interstate Commerce, better known as the Kefauver Committee, that won me over. Any guy who can accidentally rat out an entire network of mob contacts while simultaneously explaining his heavy drug use and weeks-long battle with that heartless intestinal gangster diarrhea qualifies as a colorful character and then some.

Gone since 1952, of natural causes no less, Sedway lives again in the pages of Larry D. Gragg’s latest Las Vegas study, Bugsy’s Shadow: Moe Sedway, “Bugsy” Siegel, and the Birth of Organized Crime in Las Vegas. Published by High Road Books, an imprint of the University of New Mexico Press, it brings interesting depth to a character treated more like a sidekick than a superstar in most reviews of the mob’s unmistakable role in the building of modern Las Vegas.

Born in Poland, Sedway came to Las Vegas with Siegel in 1941 from New York City by way of Los Angeles. Sedway was, indeed, Bugsy’s shadow. Sedway had a keen way with numbers and was all but indispensable when it came to administering the mob’s horserace wire to the West Coast. He wasn’t exactly a wallflower; he’d been charged but not convicted of assault and robbery. But compared to the volatile Siegel, Moe was a hand-wringing United Nations negotiator.

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Billy Walters’s bestseller conjures the ghost of the Computer Group and ‘Interference’

Controversial betting legend Billy Walters’s bestseller, Gambler: Secrets from a Life at Risk, remains the sports book of the summer. Now that the National Football League season has begun, it’s likely to stay there all the way to Super Bowl LVIII.

One writer who read the book with particular interest is investigative reporter and author Dan Moldea, who you might say is a legend in his own right. For decades, Moldea’s intrepid efforts have documented the undeniable dance of American business and politics with organized crime in its many permutations.

Back in the late 1980s, Moldea began digging into the troubling associations of NFL players and owners to illegal gamblers and bookmakers, many of them directly associated with mob families from across the country. The result was Interference: How Organized Crime Influences Professional Football, a tough and thoroughly documented reporting effort that included interviews with dozens of sources, from the street to the front offices of the NFL.

The blowback from the book’s publication was immediate. The generous reviews were quickly eclipsed by a bull-rush job from the league’s innumerable friendly reporters. Moldea’s documentation and first-hand reporting were shoved out of bounds despite the league’s historical ties to big sports gamblers and bookies.

Moldea was scoffed at by the league’s so-called security experts when he predicted sports betting would spread well outside Nevada’s legal and regulated books.

The NFL could stiff-arm Moldea, but Walters writes in his new book that the publication of Interference did more than interfere with his action as the leader of the Computer Group betting ring. It embarrassed the Department of Justice into pressing the gambling case to indictment after it appeared to have been shelved by the FBI.

The Computer Group was an enigma from its start in the early 1980s with Walters, Dr. Ivan Mindlin, and an array of characters and investors, including some top Las Vegas business moguls. The arc of success and controversy of the Group was accurately documented by Moldea.

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High-roller’s winning streak continues in federal fraud sentencing

John L. Smith, CDC Gaming Reports |  August 16, 2023 8:00 PM

I’m not sure that it would be wise these days for Robert Alexander to be caught throwing his money around in Las Vegas Strip casinos, but I am convinced the luck would be in his favor if he did.

Alexander, known as guy who used millions in investment capital in his online-gaming company, Kizzang, LLC, to fund a high-rolling lifestyle that included blowing a pile of money at Las Vegas casinos, has once again seen his sentencing on securities and wire fraud delayed by a federal judge in New York due to his poor health. Me thinks he’s allergic to prison.

By my count, it’s at least the third delay in his sentencing by U.S. District Judge Andrew Carter Jr. in New York’s Southern District. His next dice roll of destiny is set for November 29, 2023, but Carter has already acknowledged that he’s amenable to pushing the sentencing to November 2024.

Did I mention he pleaded guilty in January 2020 to bilking 53 Kizzang investors out of at least $9 million?

As tough-talking U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman described it, “Alexander betrayed his investors and spent their funds to support his lifestyle, including gambling excursions to multiple casinos and a luxury car for one of his family members. Robert Alexander now faces serious time in prison for gaming his investors.”

Uh, no he doesn’t. At least, not yet. And at this rate, maybe never. If the guy is still too ill to travel, so ill that the judge appeared to waste little court time questioning yet another sentencing delay in the case, then maybe someone should stop pretending and let him serve his time at home. Or just send him a get-well card and call it a day.

At the time the SEC put Kizzang on the shelf next to so many other internet companies that turned out to be new-age investor scams, the federal securities police concluded that “Alexander used Kizzang bank accounts as his personal piggy bank, misappropriating at least $1.3 million to pay for, among other things, his daily living expenses, his daughter’s culinary-school tuition, his mortgage and car payments, and his gambling habits.” 

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MURDER IN LAS VEGAS | First Came the Exposé. Then Came the Execution

Why Las Vegas cops say a disgraced politician murdered an investigative journalist

BY JOHN L. SMITH   |   SEP 10, 2022   |   Rolling Stone Magazine



LAS VEGAS – Veteran newspaper reporter Jeff German spent four decades breaking big stories in a city dripping in scandal and blood-red intrigue.

As a columnist and investigative bulldog for two Las Vegas dailies, German’s byline lived on the front page. From covering mob hits and public corruption, to the Balzacian melodrama of the Strip’s casino power elite, German’s reporting was a constant presence. What he lacked in deadline style, he made up for in relentless pursuit that, at times, bordered on obsession.

After German’s lifeless body was found with fatal stab wounds Saturday morning, Sept. 3, in the side yard of his northwest valley home, the police asked the obvious: Was the 69-year-old a victim of a vicious random attack? An old-school mob vendetta? Or was the dogged journalist targeted by a recent subject of his reporting?


The Stewards of a Broken Climate — UNLV


The Stewards of a Broken Climate — UNLV Magazine

Confronted in our desert backyard by the inescapable effects of a deteriorating environment, these UNLV researchers, professors, and activists are fighting to mitigate the effects of climate change on scientific, legal, and sociological fronts.

When UNLV research professor and climate resilience specialist Kristen Averyt recalls the summer family vacations of her youth spent water skiing on Lake Mead, you can almost feel the spray cooling the desert breeze.

Much has changed since those not-so-distant days. When family members returned to the lake last year, the water line had receded so far that they couldn’t launch their boat.

The vast reservoir created with the completion of Hoover Dam became a symbol of the modern West; a tamed Colorado River bestowing abundant water and endless potential.

Now, devastated by the worst drought in 12 centuries, Lake Mead’s “bathtub ring” marks a previously robust water line, and has come to illustrate a West imperiled by climate change.

In June 2021, Lake Mead registered its lowest water level since the reservoir’s inception in the 1930s, and in August the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation issued a water shortage declaration for the river. The designation triggers cuts to annual water allocations in the system beginning in 2022. That translates into an approximately 7 billion gallon cut from Southern Nevada’s annual 300,000-acre feet.

By March of this year, water levels had declined more than 164 feet and were expected to drop another 30-plus feet by 2024. Power generation for Hoover Dam, which provides electricity for 20 million people, is in peril.

Severely stressed by thinning snow packs in the Rocky Mountains and decreased runoff in the Colorado River Basin, coupled with dramatic increases in use, the crisis on the Colorado is reflected in staggering declines in Mead and Lake Powell. In total, the river storage system, which provides water to more than 40 million people, is at a third of capacity.

The 20-year “megadrought,” as it’s being called, shows little sign of abating as average temperatures continue to rise, dramatic weather events are more frequent. In Nevada, already the driest state, the effects are extreme with 100 percent of the state under severe conditions and more than 43 percent under an extreme or exceptional designation, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. So far in 2022, the state is on course to suffer its driest 12 months in the past 128 years.

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What the Tragedy In Las Vegas Says About Who America Should Fear — TIME Magazine

Smith is journalist based in Las Vegas.

If you’re looking for a little high-caliber action in Las Vegas, baby, you won’t have to travel far from the Strip to find it.

Locked and loaded, the scantily-clad shooting-range amazon stares down from an outdoor billboard while fondling an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle, or something even longer and harder. Careful, big boy, it’s only an advertisement.

As it has with so many American vices and obsessions, Las Vegas years ago found a way to profit off America’s gun fascination by marketing indoor shooting ranges to tourists like so many Second Amendment porno shops and using gun shows to help fill its vast casino-resort convention halls. They’re popular not only with gun enthusiasts, but also with the curious Peeping Tom types visiting from nations not awash in weaponry, gun violence, and senseless gore.

I don’t expect they’ll be padlocked, or even lose much business, in the wake of the slaughter at a Strip country music concert. Las Vegas has at least temporarily become synonymous with record gun violence, but those who want to view it as something other than the house-of-mirrors reflection of modern America are kidding themselves.

No city gets the Puritan scold’s finger as often as Las Vegas, and perhaps none deserves it more, but to reduce retired CPA Stephen Paddock’s grisly assault on innocent people to a green-felt morality play does a disservice to the murdered and maimed and misses a more nuanced story. Beneath its audacious marketing, Las Vegas is an entertainment factory town, and today it weeps and mourns. Although like modern America itself the motto here should be “Whatever the traffic will bear,” for more than 40 million visitors a year it produces a lot of good times.

Our nation’s nihilistic gun obsession and Las Vegas’ own image as the Western World’s hedonistic messaging places large logistical challenges in a place that relies so heavily on big crowds and the feel of footloose freedom. Local police and fire departments prepare endlessly for large-scale terrorist attacks and mass-casualty incidents.