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Issue Date: Vol. 51, No. 8, August 2011, Posted On: 8/5/2011


Bingo Bribery Trial Nears End


Marcus Webb
bingo, electronic bingo, video poker, Alabama bingo, gaming machine, gambling machine, amusement business, Edward Kang, bingo trial, Milton McGregor, Victoryland resort and bingo hall, Tom Coker, Bob Geddie; Country Crossing casino, Jay Walker

| This story has been updated |

MONTGOMERY, AL -- Prosecutors and defense lawyers were expected to complete their lengthy closing statements on Friday, Aug. 5, in the trial of nine defendants charged with offering or accepting bribes to legalize electronic bingo in Alabama last year.

The defendants included both operators and state senators involved in a trial that has dominated headlines in the state for the past seven weeks.

Prosecutor Edward Kang told jurors that the defendants were motivated by simple greed. Defense attorneys claimed their clients are innocent and the state has failed to produce evidence that actually proves guilt.

Defendants include operator Milton McGregor, owner of the Victoryland resort and bingo hall; lobbyists Tom Coker and Bob Geddie; and Country Crossing casino spokesman Jay Walker. Current or former state senators on trial are Quinton Ross (Montgomery), Harri Anne Smith (Slocomb), Jim Preuitt (Talladega) and Larry Means (Attalla), along with a former legislative staffer, Ray Crosby.

Operators stand accused of offering millions of dollars or future jobs to senators who agreed to vote for a bill that would explicitly legalize electronic bingo games.

Country Crossing owner Ronnie Gilley and his lobbyist Jarrod Massey testified for the prosecution in the massive case, having earlier entered separate guilty pleas. | SEE STORY

During 2009 and 2010, the FBI worked with state law enforcement officials and friendly politicians to secretly record conversations by the defendants that prosecutors said proved the bribery charges.

Defense lawyers said the tapes merely documented normal political lobbying by operators and fundraising by politicians.

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