Gambling Corruption Trial Concludes

Jurors in the lengthy Alabama gambling and corruption trial acquitted or failed to reach a verdict Aug. 11 on all charges against nine defendants including two sitting state senators.

The jury of 11 women and one man deliberated 39 hours over seven days before notifying the judge they weren’t able to agree on verdicts across the board. The judge reportedly decided to allow a partial verdict after hearing from both sides in the case.

Victoryland casino owner Milton McGregor was acquitted of one count of bribery and two counts of honest services fraud. However, the jury was deadlocked on 14 other charges against him so U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson declared a mistrial on those charges. A new trial date is to be scheduled in the near future.

State Sen. Quinton Ross was acquitted on all counts against him and State Sen. Harri Anne Smith was found not guilty on one count of bribery, one count of extortion and nine counts of honest services fraud.

Former Sen. Larry Means was acquitted on 14 of 16 charges but a mistrial was declared on remaining charges of conspiracy and bribery. Former Sen. James E. Preuitt was acquitted on 12 of 15 charges against him but also got a mistrial on one count each of bribery, conspiracy and lying to an FBI agent.

Ronnie Gilley, former developer of the now-defunct Country Crossing entertainment complex in Dothan, McGregor and the two current and two former legislators were accused of trying to bribe legislators to back a bill that would make electronic bingo machines legal in the state. Gov. Bob Riley deemed the machines illegal slots last year and formed an anti-gambling task force to shut down casinos using them.

Gilley pleaded guilty April 22 to 11 counts including conspiracy, bribery involving public officials and money laundering. He was also a star witness for the prosecution in the case, which began in early June.

Gilley still faces up to 20 years in prison and hundreds of dollars in fines when he is sentenced Nov. 15.