Gilley Appeals Sentence

The founder of the defunct Country Crossing entertainment complex in Dothan, Ala., is trying to get out of his prison sentence by saying he could create jobs and business if he’s released from jail.

Casino developer Ronnie Gilley was busted in 2010 for conspiring to bribe state lawmakers into voting for pro-gambling legislation. As part of a plea deal, he pleaded guilty to various conspiracy, bribery and money laundering charges and testified for the prosecution in the trials of his co-defendants.

Gilley could be sentenced to 21 to 27 years in prison when he returns to court July 16.

Gilley attorney David Harrison filed a motion July 5 in U.S. District Court asking a judge to give his client a reduced sentence of three months’ time served, six months of home confinement, supervised release and extensive community service.

The reason? Harrison claims Gilley’s seen the error of his ways and would make a contribution to the community by developing his BamaJam Farms, which hosts the BamaJam Festival, into a destination point with hotels, golf course, water park and residential development that would provide jobs for the area.

“During America’s economic struggle, it is visionaries like Mr. Gilley that will put this nation back on her feet,” court papers said.

Harrison also claims his client didn’t know the “fine line” between lobbying and bribery and was used as a scapegoat by co-defendants Milton MacGregor, former Victoryland Casino owner, and former lobbyist Jarrod Massey.