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Showtime: 'Ray Donovan' Exec Producer Takes Leave of Absence

Bryan Zuriff Winter TCA - P 2013
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Bryan Zuriff

Following a guilty plea to online gambling charges in New York City, Bryan Zuriff leaves the series indefinitely.

Ray Donovan executive producer Bryan Zuriff is taking a leave of absence from the Showtime series after pleading guilty in a New York online gambling case, the network said today.

He faces up to five years in prison at sentencing, which is expected in November.

"We respect and appreciate Bryan Zuriff's decision," the network said in a release.

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Added Zuriff in a statement: “I’m incredibly grateful to have been a part of the extraordinary Ray Donovan family. Out of respect for my colleagues at the network and everyone involved with the show, I’m voluntarily taking a leave of absence so that the resolution of my personal legal matters won’t distract from the audience’s great response to the program. I appreciate all the support I've received and look forward to everyone's continued success."

Zuriff pleaded guilty last week in New York for his role in the high-stakes sports betting business run by an organized-crime enterprise. He entered the plea in federal court Thursday, admitting to accepting a financial instrument in connection with unlawful Internet gambling.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced the plea Friday, saying Zuriff operated an illegal gambling enterprise in Los Angeles and helped run one in New York.

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“Bryan Zuriff spanned the coasts with his crimes by operating his own illegal gambling enterprise in Los Angeles and helping to operate a vast illegal gambling enterprise in New York," Bharara said in a statement. "With his plea, he becomes the first defendant, but not the last, to be convicted in this sprawling script of criminal conduct.”

Authorities in April indicted 34 people accused of being part of a scheme by two Russian-American organized-crime enterprises. They say the enterprises laundered $100 million from illegal gambling, including poker games attended by celebrities and pro athletes.

As part of his plea, Zuriff agreed to forfeit $500,000.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.