‘Ray Donovan’ Producer Asks for Non-Jail Sentence for Involvement in Gambling Ring

Bryan Zuriff 'Ray Donovan' leave of
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Mark Gordon, Jon Voight among those supporting producer

Attorneys for Bryan Zuriff, the former executive producer of Showtime’s “Ray Donovan,” are asking a New York federal judge to give him a probationary sentence for his involvement in an online gambling  ring that ended in dozens of arrests in April.

Authorities said that the online gambling was linked to a money laundering operation by Russian-American organized crime, but attorneys for Zuriff said that he had “no knowledge” of the connection to such activity. Zuriff pled guilty in July to one count of violating a federal anti-Internet gambling law. Zuriff stepped down from “Ray Donovan” after the plea, but according to a letter that his attorneys sent to U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman, he has been asked to return to the show as a consultant “and remains deeply involved in the production of its second season. He is an integral part of the formula of success for this show.”

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 25, and although his plea agreement has a sentencing guideline range of six to 12 months, as well as the payment of a $500,000 fine, he can still seek a punishment outside the guidelines. His attorneys, Isabelle Kirshner and Charles Clayman,  said he has already paid the fine but that the “interests of justice” do not require that he be sentenced within the range.

In the attorneys’ letter, they describe how he has been a respected figure in entertainment and devoted father of four who “has had a gambling problem since he was a child.” His sports gambling accelerated, they write, after his grandfather sold his business and he received about $9 million in proceeds from the sale.

“Mr. Zuriff will have to face the rest of his life with the stigma of a felony conviction,” they write. “He has already suffered the humiliation of extensive press converage surrounding his arrest and plea. His reputation has been ruined. He has a lot of work to do to restore his good name and he is intent on doing so.” But they said that even though he has “a problem,” “prison is not the solution to that problem.”

Among those who wrote letters vouching for Zuriff are writer-director Peter Berg, “Ray Donovan” creator Ann Biderman, producer Mark Gordon, producer Scott Budnick and actor Jon Voight.

“There isn’t one of us who has worked with Bryan that doesn’t feel; he is a fine man deserving of our loyalty,” Voight wrote. “Whatever mistakes he has made I’m sure he has learned his lesson quite well, and I hope you will consider this plea for leniency from someone who knows and loves him.”

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  1. My heart goes out to anyone with addiction issues. I hope things work out for Mr. Zuriff.

  2. James Woods says:

    Cry me a river, loser. What a shame. The guy inherits 9 million, and yet is willing to risk his family by getting involved with Russian Mobsters in a bookmaking operation. He would have gone on with his criminal enterprise forever if society hadn’t stepped in to stop him. And now he wants to be able to pay a fine and be done with it? Wow. Talk about no consequences. It sounds like Hollywood has welcomed him back with open arms. If he doesn’t go to prison, then crime definitely does pay. I will be writing a letter to the Judge urging a prison sentence. If he gets probation I will start a campaign against the Judge. This must be some sort of joke.

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