Milton McGregor was found not guilty on all charges in the bingo corruption case. McGregor and the other defendants were charged with accepting or offering bribes in regards to legislation that was created to protect bingo casinos from being closed by the state of Alabama. Jurors deliberated for seven days before reaching their decision on Wednesday, March 7th 2012.
The investigation began when three Alabama legislators told the FBI they would receive contributions to their campaigns if they voted for a 2012 gambling bill to stop the shut-down of bingo casinos. Recording devices and tapped phone calls were used to gather evidence against McGregor and the other defendants in regards to accepting or offering bribes. Alabama Governor Bob Riley also created a task force that seized bingo machines as they were said to be slot machines and not electronic bingo machines before any gambling bills were passed. Ronnie Gilley, Country Crossing’s casino developer and lobbyists Jarrod Massey and Jennifer Pouncy entered guilty pleas of conspiracy. Former Representative Terry Spicer entered a guilty plea to accepting bribes from Gilley and Massey and they were used as witnesses in the trial of McGregor and others.
The Trial and Verdict
Federal prosecutors in this trial alleged that lobbyists and casino operators offered free polling, campaign contributions, fund-raising concerts, and additional incentives for votes in support for the 2010 gambling bill. Prosecutors based their case on their witnesses and evidence obtained through phone calls and recorded conversations to project McGregor and the other defendants as criminals. Prosecutors said the defendants were driven by money, greed, and power that lead them to bribery. Defense attorney Joe Espy there was simply not enough proof to indicate bribery and that the prosecutors’ were only trying to advance their political careers with loose evidence and witnesses that received plea bargains. The first trial took place in the summer of 2011 where jurors were deadlocked on some of the charges and decided on a verdict of not guilty on the others. Prosecutors only presented their evidence for 2 weeks compared to the 7 weeks they spent on evidence presentation in the first trial. McGregor and all the other defendants were found not guilty on the 3 charges of federal programs bribery and not guilty on the conspiracy charge the morning of March 7th, 2012