Alabama Gambling Trial Leads to Acquittals

The federal case in Alabama against gambling moguls, which generated nationwide interest, ended on Thursday, with the nine defendants walking out of court with no charges against them – for the moment. After two long months, the jury couldn’t find enough evidence to put the nine behind bars and they left with no conviction.

The case was the culmination of a long and tiring battle for and against the legalization of electronic bingo in the state. The FBI were approached by three legislators who said that they had been offered bribe money by gambling interests in exchange for their vote to legalize electronic bingo in Alabama. Three people were arrested in this first wave: Ronnie Gilley, a casino developer, and two lobbyists – Jarrod Massey and Jennifer Pouncy. All pleaded guilty to conspiracy.

The second wave of arrests pleased the Fed even more as they were considered bigger ‘fish’. Milton McGregor, the owner of Victoryland casino, his chief lobbyist Bob Geddie Jnr., three other lobbyists and four senators, including Quinton Ross of Montgomery, were issued with arrest warrants after the FBI managed to record over ten thousand phone calls between gambling interests and politicians.

Several days after the arrests were made, proposed bingo legislation conveniently disappeared from the House.

After six days of deliberation, the jury finally made its decision. Geddie and Ross were acquitted of all charges, and the other defendants acquitted of most charged. Some of the counts still remain unresolved by the jury and the judge said that a retrial would be set to resolve them.

Milton McGregor had three out of 17 charges against him dropped, with the jury deadlocked on the other 14. It remains to be seen whether the Feds will go all out to get this gambling king in a retrial or whether they will admit defeat.

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