We are now approaching the conclusion of what has been one of the biggest gambling corruption trials in the history of the state of Alabama.
Attorneys in Alabama’s gambling corruption trial begin their closing arguments, with defense lawyers once again contending that prosecutors have thoroughly failed to back up their claims that state government officials were caught up in a bribery scheme of what investigators termed as “astonishing scope”.
“Some of the overt acts the government said it would prove, it did not prove. They did not offer any evidence whatsoever,” said Lewis Gillis, attorney for Democratic Sen. Quinton Ross of Montgomery.
There’s other issues with the prosecution’s case and the way the investigation was conducted. Red flags were raised by the defense when FBI agent George Glaser testified that the FBI took the rather unusual step of publically announcing an investigation simply because Justice Department officials felt they couldn’t allow “potentially tainted legislation to progress through the Alabama Legislature.”
One might argue that most legislation is always tainted in one direction or another depending on how you look at it and if you follow the money trail.
According to the Beaumont Enterprise, attorney, Susan James, said she expects defense attorneys’ closing arguments to use Glaser’s testimony to question the federal government’s motive. The question being, if the FBI really wanted to uncover corruption rather than simply kill the bill, why didn’t they wait for the House to act and then launch an investigation that covered both houses of the Legislature?
According to the Beaumont Enterprise, attorney, Susan James, said “You can’t remove politics from this case.”
VictoryLand owner, Milton McGregor’s attorney, Joe Espy, said the government’s testimony only served to show that McGregor followed the long-standing political practice of giving donations to officeholders who shared his political views on gambling. “There wasn’t one thing wrong with it,” Espy said-Beaumont Enterprise.
U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson has given prosecutors five hours and defense attorneys 10 hours to make their final pitches before jurors begin deliberations, most likely on Friday. Jurors could be deliberating this case as early as the end of the week.