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Alleged Bellagio ‘biker bandit’ pleads not guilty in district court

Anthony Carleo’s trial set for Jan. 10, 2012


Justin M. Bowen

Accused Bellagio robber Anthony Carleo appears at the Regional Justice Center, April 21, 2011. He pleaded not guilty and his trial was set for Jan. 10, 2012.

Updated Thursday, April 21, 2011 | 9:58 a.m.

Accused Bellagio Robber

Accused Bellagio robber Anthony Carleo appears at the Regional Justice Center, April 21, 2011.  He pleaded not guilty and his trial was set for Jan. 10, 2012. Launch slideshow »

The man accused of robbing the Bellagio casino of about $1.4 million in casino chips on Dec. 14, then speeding away into the night on a motorcycle, will have to wait until early next year for his trial.

Anthony Carleo, 29, pleaded not guilty to seven felony charges Thursday in Clark County District Court.

District Judge Michelle Leavitt set his trial for 1:30 p.m. Jan. 10, 2012, in her court.

Carleo, 29, the son of Las Vegas Municipal Court Judge George Assad, is being charged with seven felony counts.

Leavitt read those charges to Carleo Thursday morning during his first appearance in district court: burglary while in possession of a deadly weapon, carrying a concealed firearm or other deadly weapon, robbery with the use of a deadly weapon against a victim 60 years of age or older, three counts of robbery with the use of a deadly weapon and assault with a deadly weapon.

Carleo is accused of being the same man shown on a surveillance camera who walked into the casino about 3:50 a.m. Dec. 14, 2010, wearing a motorcycle helmet. The man went to a craps table and took about $1.4 million in casino chips, then ran out of the casino, got on a motorcycle and drove away, according to witness testimony.

Carleo is still in custody on $1 million bail at the Clark County Detention Center.

His attorney, William Terry, said outside the courtroom that he would ask for a reduction in bail at a later time.

At the beginning of today's hearing, Leavitt disclosed to attorneys two possible conflicts she had to see if they had any objections to her being the presiding judicial officer.

Leavitt said she had a brother who has worked for a long period of time at the Bellagio.

"This sibling has been employed at the Bellagio for many, many years as a craps dealer," she said.

Leavitt said she had not talked to her brother about the case. But her mother has told her that her brother was not working at the time of the robbery.

Leavitt also said that through her role as a judge, she had become acquainted with Carleo's father, Municipal Judge George Assad. Leavitt said she has family members who have publicly or privately supported the judge in his upcoming re-election on June 2.

Leavitt also said she does not socialize with Assad and knows him only on a professional basis.

Terry told her the defense had no concerns about the issues raised by Leavitt.

"There is a fairly extensive witness list and we saw no name on there that would give us concern," Terry said. "Most people in the judiciary know Judge Assad. So we have no issue with that."

Chief Deputy District Attorney Christopher Laurent said the state doesn't have any concerns with those issues either.

Carleo was arrested at the Bellagio after allegedly selling several $25,000 casino chips from the heist to a Metro Police undercover detective.

The undercover police officer testified he had five meetings with Carleo arranged by an informant from Jan. 28 through Feb. 2 at the Venetian and the Bellagio.

All together, the officer said he purchased a total of seven $25,000 chips from Carleo in their transactions. After officers arrested Carleo, they also got another seven $25,000 chips, the undercover officer said. Those chips were valued at $350,000, he said.

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