Johnston City Raid - What really happened?

Mr. Bond

Orbis Non Sufficit
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As the story goes, in 1972 Jansco's Show Bar was raided by the FBI (during tournament play) on a hunch that massive amounts of gambling was going on.

Allegedly there were many people arrested, and money was confiscated.

Allegedly there was a hearing the next day in St. Louis (or 3 days later? ) and Minnesota Fats showed up (late) - and for some reason or another - he ended up making a statement to the court in defense of the players and the event itself.

Allegedly the court/judges/prosecutor???? was so amused by Fats and his antics that the whole case was basically dropped and the monies returned.

If I have mis-stated anything, feel free to say so.

Knowing Fats was a HUGE storyteller, pun intended, I wonder how true this tale really is? Yes, I have heard and read many first-hand accounts from people who were there, but some details are always fuzzy or left out...

I have submitted a FOIA request to the FBI to find out if Fats did in fact make a statement, what exactly he said, and what official decision was rendered by the court.
 

philly

AzB Gold Member
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Just finished reading "The Hustler and The Champ." I'm sure you have read it. It is basically a comparison of the similarities and differences between Fats and Mosconi as they were almost exact contemporaries. Fats was larger than life. To call him an original is an understatement. He only did what he wanted to do. He was governed by himself.
 

L.S. Dennis

Active member
As the story goes, in 1972 Jansco's Show Bar was raided by the FBI (during tournament play) on a hunch that massive amounts of gambling was going on.

Allegedly there were many people arrested, and money was confiscated.

Allegedly there was a hearing the next day in St. Louis (or 3 days later? ) and Minnesota Fats showed up (late) - and for some reason or another - he ended up making a statement to the court in defense of the players and the event itself.

Allegedly the court/judges/prosecutor???? was so amused by Fats and his antics that the whole case was basically dropped and the monies returned.

If I have mis-stated anything, feel free to say so.

Knowing Fats was a HUGE storyteller, pun intended, I wonder how true this tale really is? Yes, I have heard and read many first-hand accounts from people who were there, but some details are always fuzzy or left out...

I have submitted a FOIA request to the FBI to find out if Fats did in fact make a statement, what exactly he said, and what official decision was rendered by the court.
I remember reading an account of this in either Pool and Billiards or Billiards Digest in the early nineties I believe.
I think your story is basically correct, once Fats got rolling it was all over for the prosecutor. I remember the whole court room in hysterics and the immediate verdict of not guilty rendered. I think I remeber reading that several members of the jury following Fats outside for his autograph as well!
 

kling&allen

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Here's the Reuters wire report from October 26, 1972, regarding what he actually said:

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Appears he was subpoenaed and not actually indicted (arrested). There's no later reports in the databases I have access to of him being charged with any crime.
 

cueman

AzB Gold Member
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Fats is one of the few people I would have liked to have met.
I was able to meet Fats a few times at and around BCA trade show events in the 80s. I got to sit at the table with him at a banquet once. It is the only time in my life I have been to a real pig roast with the apple in its mouth. He was always kidding around and making big claims. I also got to hear him sit at a bar in a high end steak house in Nashville and entertain the people just telling stories. Our waiter said Fats came in every evening. His wife was a drop dead gorgeous lady about half his age at the time.
 
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