Courtroom Conversation Explores Life and Times of Jimmy Chagra

LAS VEGAS (May 2015) – For its next installment of the popular and eye-opening Courtroom Conversations series, The Mob Museum, the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, presents “Oscar’s ‘Case of the Century’: The Life and Crimes of Jimmy Chagra.” Scheduled for Thursday, May 28, at 7 p.m. the event will include first-hand, insider stories on Chagra’s life as a drug kingpin and Las Vegas high roller. Attendees can also look forward to discussion about the “miracle” defense by then-attorney Oscar B. Goodman that led to Chagra’s acquittal on charges of hiring a hitman (actor Woody Harrelson’s father, Charles Harrelson) to assassinate a federal judge.

Chagra was a client of Goodman, whose career as a defense attorney for numerous reputed Mob figures preceded his three-term stint as mayor of Las Vegas. Today, Goodman serves as member of the Board of Directors for the Museum and chairman of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s host committee.

Joining Goodman for the discussion will be award-winning Las Vegas author, historian and screenwriter Jack Sheehan, whose extensive interviews with Chagra provide exclusive insight into his life. Museum Director of Content Geoff Schumacher will moderate the evening’s conversation.

Jimmy Chagra lived the life of a stereotypical Las Vegas high roller, who frequented Caesars Palace and Binion’s Horseshoe. He became a darling of the casinos by betting millions and tipping big while simultaneously spearheading one of the biggest drug-smuggling rings in the country. Sheehan once labeled him the “Pablo Escobar of weed” whose vast smuggling operation had connections to Colombia and Mexico. He also was linked to the Patriarca crime family in New England.

Chagra’s acquittal of the alleged crime of hiring actor Woody Harrelson’s father to murder Judge “Maximum John” Wood was called ”A once-in-a-lifetime moment, the kind of drama that usually took place only in an episode of ‘Perry Mason’” by Las Vegas Review Journal columnist John L. Smith.

This unbelievable true story, which includes countless other high-drama twists and turns, will be recounted in all its intriguing detail during the May 28 event.

About Oscar B. Goodman

Former mayor of Las Vegas, Oscar Goodman is credited with the revitalization of downtown Las Vegas including The Smith Center for the Performing Arts and our very own The Mob Museum. Goodman is one of the nation’s best criminal defense attorneys and was named one of the “15 Best Trial Lawyers in America” by the National Law Journal. He spent more than 35 years defending some of the most notorious alleged Mob figures, including Meyer Lansky, Frank Rosenthal, Anthony Spilotro and Jimmy Chagra. In 1995, he appeared as himself in the movie, “Casino.”

About Jack Sheehan

Jack Sheehan has been living and writing in Las Vegas for 40 years. He has published 21 books and screenplays, including many on Las Vegas history and historical figures. He won the first ever Nevada Screenwriters Award in 1988 and the Lowell Thomas Award for outstanding travel writing in 1991. One of his many screenplays details the life of notorious drug smuggler Jimmy Chagra.

About The Mob Museum’s Courtroom Conversations

Courtroom Conversations help fulfill The Mob Museum’s mission to advance the public understanding of organized crime’s history and impact on American society. Previous Courtroom Conversations have included “Beating the Line,” with sports betting experts Peter Bernhard, Barry Lieberman, Art Manteris and Ted Sevransky; “Women in Gaming,” featuring Elaine Wynn, Jan Jones Blackhurst and Patricia Becker and “Protectors of the State,” with former Nevada governors Bob List, Richard Bryan and Bob Miller. Future Courtroom Conversations also include:

– “What Happened to Jimmy Hoffa,” a look back at the tumultuous life of Hoffa and the leading theories behind his mysterious disappearance 40 years ago, to take place June 24.

Tickets for “The Life and Times of Jimmy Chagra” are $25 and may be booked here; Museum Members receive a 10 percent discount. For more information, go to www.TheMobMuseum.org or call (702) 229-2734.



The Mob Museum is a world-class destination in downtown Las Vegas dedicated to the thrilling story of organized crime and law enforcement. It presents an exciting and authentic view of the Mob’s impact on Las Vegas history and its unique imprint on the world. True stories of Mob history are brought to life in a bold and contemporary style via engaging exhibits, high-tech theater presentations and more than 885 artifacts, the largest collection of Mob and related law enforcement memorabilia under one roof. Since opening in 2012, The Mob Museum has accumulated numerous accolades, including being named one of the “Best Places to Travel in 2015” by Travel + Leisure Magazine, “A Must for Travelers” by The New York Times, one of “20 Places Every American Should See” by Fox News and Budget Travel magazine, “Las Vegas’ Best New Attractions for 2012” by Travel + Leisure magazine, “9 Reasons to Visit Las Vegas” by CNNgo, a finalist for the “Best Wider World Project Award,” by the British Guild of Travel Writers and “Best Museum” by Nevada Magazine. Admission is $21.95 for adults ages 18 and over with special pricing for online purchase, children, seniors, military, law enforcement, Nevada residents, and teachers. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, September through June; in July and August, hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. For more information, call (702) 229-2734 or visit www.TheMobMuseum.org. Connect on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/TheMobMuseum, on Twitter: @TheMobMuseum and subscribe to the Museum’s Mobcast here.