Mathis (R) with his attorneys
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Allied Veterans lawyer Kelly Mathis says he was not the "mastermind" of 'Operation Reveal the Deal', and says he will fight the charges against him.
Sitting in his empty law office, Mathis says he still can't believe everything that's happened the past 5 months.
"Every day. Every day. I think this can't be happening, this isn't happening. I am not facing felony charges for practicing law. It's a scary thing," said Mathis.
"It is devastating. It is my life that I have worked to build up until March 11, 2013. Everything I worked so hard for, my practice is gone," he said.
50 people have come forward to testify on his behalf for his trial, which is set to start next month. And he says his family believes in his innocence.
"I have to stand up for what's right, that is very important to me. I have to teach my children that you don't cave in under pressure, you have to do the right thing," he said.
The state has offered plea deals to some of the key players in the Allied Veterans operation.
Former President Johnny Duncan took a plea Wednesday that will keep him out of jail in exchange for his testimony.
But Mathis' lawyer says they're not worried about anyone testifying against him.
"What they did was declare this illegal by fiat. That's what dictators do. Declare something illegal when they want to and throw them in jail. In Mr. Mathis' situation, they threw a practicing lawyer in jail for 4 days without bond. That's what dictators do. It's not the American way," said Mitch Stone.
Mathis says he turned down the option to even hear a plea deal in the case, saying he's going to fight the charges against him.
"They're either going to dismiss it, or I'm going to trial, and I'm going to win. Those are the only two options for me. Then I'm going to start rebuilding my practice and my life," he said.
Mathis' trial is set to start on September 16th.
First Coast News