The trial continues in Alabama for defendants accused in a high profile political “vote buying” case tied to gambling expansion in the state. Some of the testimony has been nothing short of “movie” material, not to mention the “out of court” antics such as one of the defendants mysteriously dying a day before the trial was set to start. You can’t write this script.
Prosecutors hope that the second time is the charm after last year’s initial trial ended up in a mistrial. That should have served as an omen of things to come.
The whole probe stems from VictoryLand casino owner Milton McGregor, Sen. Harri Anne Smith of Slocomb, former state Sens. Larry Means and Jim Preuitt, lobbyist Tom Coker and former Country Crossing casino spokesman Jay Walker all alleged to have offered and/or accepted cash and campaign contributions related to a proposed gambling bill in the state.
As if that weren’t sleazy enough, more salacious details have since emerged during this month’s trial.
A Witness was Asked to Expose Her Breasts - Jennifer Pouncy, who lobbied for the electronic bingo casino Country Crossing, cried as she listened to an FBI wiretap recording in which Country Crossing developer Ronnie Gilley suggests to Pouncy’s supervisor that she expose her breasts to Preuitt and allow him to touch her.
Gilley says in the call: “Tell her I’ll give her a $50,000 bonus.”
Republican State Senators: ““Every Black in This State Will be Bused to the Polls” If Gambling Legislation is Not Defeated –
“They are going to be bused on HUD-financed buses,” another replied.
“That’s right. That’s right,” a third senator said.
While prosecutors wouldn’t name the Senators who were recorded as making the “nauseating” remarks, it was revealed during the trial that Senators Scott Beason, Ben Brooks, Larry Dixon, Jabo Waggoner, Rusty Glover and Paul Sanford were all in attendance during the recorded meeting. Beason was wired so a process of elimination leaves us with five other individuals.
Honest and Truthful Businessman “Living in a Lie” - Under questioning by a defense attorney for Sen. Harri Anne Smith, Country Crossing owner Ronnie Gilley admitted Tuesday he wasn’t always honest after describing himself as an “honest, truthful businessman”. He then he admitted he exaggerated information provided to some investors including the misrepresentation of public statements he made while developing his casino.
"I was living in a lie at the time," he testified.
"You haven't always been an honest man. Is that fair?" defense attorney William White asked.
"It's more than fair," Gilley replied.
“Democracy Tour” Used as “Cloak Language” to Disguise Bribes -
“It was a guise, a disguise,” Gilley said Thursday. “It meant using money as well as branding particular candidates with country music celebrities.”
Prosecutor Kendall Day asked Gilley why he used the phrase “we support those who support democracy.”
“To keep from having to say ‘if you vote yes on this bill, we will give you (money),’” Gilley said.
Defendant Found Dead One Day Before Trial Set to Begin – The trial had to be postponed one week after defendant Raymond Crosby was found dead.
The Montgomery Police Department confirmed it "is conducting a death investigation after Joseph Ray Crosby was found dead in his residence late Sunday afternoon," according to an email from Sgt. R.L. Duckett. "The cause and manner of death are currently under investigation. No further details are available at this time."
A few weeks later, the cause of death has yet to be revealed.
- Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com