A relieved Jennifer Pouncy goes home!
To save her job, ex-lobbyist Jennifer Pouncy broke the law. At the direction of her employer, Pouncy delivered bribe offers to state senators. She fully cooperated with prosecutors, testifying at two trials. On 26 September 2012 Pouncy was sentenced to probation after pleading guilty.
Bingo Vote-Buying Conspiracy
The State of Alabama, under the direction of Former Governor Bob Riley, issued a crackdown on electronic gaming. Pouncy’s employers, lobbyist Jerrod Massey and Ronnie Gilley, the operator of the Country Crossings casino, reacted to the crackdown by attempting to bribe various state senators. Their desperate objective was a constitutional amendment. That amendment would have determined the legality of Gilley’s electronic bingo machines, protecting his casino from Alabama raids.
Pouncy was directed by her bosses to deliver bribes in the form of campaign contributions, to two state senators. She fully cooperated with the investigation, and became a key prosecution witness at two trials involving VictoryLand casino and at least six individuals. Massey and Gilley meanwhile pled guilty to conspiracy and bribery. Massey was sentenced to 65 months in prison. Gilley received an 80-month prison sentence. Both VictoryLand trials ended in full acquittals for all defendants. Thus Milton McGregor, various state senators and the county sheriff all have been exonerated. The only individuals who have been sentenced in the case are those who entered guilty pleas.
The pleas of Massey and Gilley were the direct result of Pouncy’s cooperation with the prosecution. Pouncy had originally been offered a probation recommendation by the federal prosecutors. However, that offer was reneged upon after Pouncy told federal investigators everything that she knew about the attempt to bribe state senators for their bingo amendment votes. It appears that the new U.S. Public Integrity Section chief had decided to withdraw the probation offer.
The End of an Ordeal
Jennifer Pouncy is a wife and mother. Her young son is three-years-old. At the VictoryLand trial, the defendants accused witness Pouncy of exaggerating her testimony to obtain probation so as not to be separated from her young son. In reality, there was nothing to indicate that Pouncy’s testimony had been inflated. The sole criminal count to which Pouncy pled was conspiracy. Her attorney, Tommy Spina, asked the federal judge to grant his client probation. In his written pleadings, Spina stated to the court that the case had wrecked Pouncy’s life, causing her not only embarrassment but emotional trauma as well.
According to Spina, Pouncy had been terrified to testify against powerful characters such as McGregor. As a minor figure in the bribery case, Pouncy served the federal investigation in the role of informant and witness. The conspiracy conviction carried a possible five-year prison sentence. The federal prosecutors were said to be recommending two years of incarceration. Pouncy apologized to the court. Her life has obviously been turned upside down, and she will undoubtedly feel the emotional repercussions of her actions and the court hearings for years to come. Breaking the law to save her job was a judgment call that severely damaged Pouncy’s life.