Judge Rules Trial Of Alleged AL Bingo Bribers Can Proceed

All 11 defendants in a massive corruption case out of Alabama that has snared several politicians and lobbyists appeared in federal court on Tuesday, where a judge denied a motion of several of the defendants to delay the April trial because their lawyers didn’t have enough time to prepare.

Nine of the defendants argued that starting the trial on April 4 would be unfair because they’ll need more time to go through 2,800 telephone calls and 200,000 pages of documents turned over by the prosecution. Court records show the motion was denied.Attorneys for the defendants had argued that, unlike casino magnet Milton McGregor and Sen. Harri Anne Smith, they simply didn’t have the same kind of resources to go through all of that evidence. One attorney called McGregor’s legal team an “army,” reported the Montgomery Advertiser. Court records show nine lawyers are representing McGregor.

But Federal Judge Wallace Capel, Jr. denied that motion and told defendants they had until Feb. 4 to make their initial disclosures and file their pretrial motions. The government will have to turn over discovery on or before Dec. 20 and produce a list identifying which evidence applied to which defendant by Jan. 7.

The case against four current Alabama state legislators, three lobbyists and two businessmen with casino interests came out in an indictment by the Justice Department back in October that accompanied their arrests. Feds say McGregor and real estate owner Ronald Gilley bribed state legislators in 2009 and 2010 to vote in favor of legislation which would have benefited businesses operating electronic bingo facilities.

Lawyers for McGregor argued that campaign contributions shouldn’t count as bribery. McGregor allegedly agreed with an unnamed Alabama politician who wanted to tell his fellow legislators “if you fuckers fuck us on this . . . there will be no peace… We’re coming after your ass.”

DOJ has seven attorneys, including Ted Stevens prosecutor Brenda Morris, assigned to the case, according to court records.

In addition to McGregor, Smith and Gilley, federal prosecutors are also charging former Alabama state Sen. Larry Means (D); former Sen. Jim Preuitt (R); current state Sen. Quinton Ross (D); lobbyists Jarrod Massey, Bob Geddie and Tom Coker; legislative analyst Ray Crosby; and Jay Walker, a former spokesman for Gilley.