White Marlin Open Trial Date Set - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

White Marlin Open Trial Date Set

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A federal judge has set May 22, 2017 as the trial date in the White Marlin Open case, which  will determine who gets what prize money from this year's competition.

Judge Richard D. Bennett of the United States District Court set the date, according to online documents.           

The case centers around Phil Heasley, an angler from Florida, who back in August caught a 76.5 pound white marlin, making him the winner of $2.8 million dollars in prize money. Tournament officials, though, said Heasley and his crew failed the post-tournament lie detector tests regarding tournament rules, which disqualified him as the winner. Specifically in the fishing boat's "Catch Report," tournament officials say in the claim that a time of 8:15 a.m. was originally written down and later changed to 9:05 a.m. The tournament's rules state that you cannot start fishing until 8:30 a.m. That meant thirteen other anglers could be in line to share the prize money.

White Marlin Open officials filed a Complaint for Interpleader, essentially asking a judge to decide if in fact tournament rules were broken, and if so, how the prize much should be dispersed.  Heasley filed a motion asking the polygraph results be thrown out, arguing that since White Marlin Open officials asked a court to determine if Heasley was eligible for the prize money, White Marlin Open abandoned the process for determining a winner based on its rules, thus invalidating the use of the polygraph results. Judge Bennett denied that motion last month.

The trial is expected to last four days.

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