U.S. District Court Judge Myron Thompson will rule Thursday morning at 8 a.m. on acquittal motions in the bingo corruption case, he says.
Lawyers for all nine defendants in the case presented acquittal motions all day Wednesday. The full day of motions arguments came after the prosecution rested its case on Tuesday.
You can read the written motions here.
Thompson asked a slew of tough questions to lawyers on both sides, many of them focusing on the conspiracy charge in the indictment.
“Where’s the beef?” Thompson at one point asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Olshan. “Where’s the conspiracy?”
Olshan argued that the conspiracy between the nine defendants was to corrupt the legislative process to pass pro-gambling bills.
“The point of the conspiracy was to pass gambling through bribery,” Olshan said.
Like attorneys for many other clients, Mark Englehart, an attorney for Sen. Quinton Ross (D-Montgomery), argued that his client was not part of the conspiracy.
“He [Ross] has to know — and there has to be evidence to show he knew — that there was a scheme that extended beyond him,” Englehart said.
Ross, who had sponsored gambling legislation in the past and voted for the 2010 pro-gambling bill Senate bill 380, is charged with demanding campaign contributions. Attorneys for the prosecution argued that Ross was part of the conspiracy because he asked Victoryland owner and co-defendant Milton McGregor about the vote count on SB380, among other reasons.
Many of Judge Thompson’s questions today centered on legislative analyst Ray Crosby. For years, McGregor paid Crosby $3,000 a month.
Crosby attorney Tommy Goggans argued that if his client was part of a conspiracy, it was only between him and McGregor.
“Crosby didn’t do one thing that his job didn’t require him to do,” Goggans said. As an employee of the Alabama’s Legislative Reference Service, it was Crosby’s job to draft bills, including SB380. His job allowed him to communicate with McGregor about the bill.
“There’s a serious multiple-conspiracy problem in this case,” Goggans said.
Goggans’ arguments seemed to have an impact on Judge Thompson.
“If I’m not convinced by a preponderance of evidence that Mr. Crosby is involved [in the conspiracy], how does that effect the case?” Thompson later asked prosecutors.
Judge Thompson could rule tomorrow morning to throw some or all charges out, to throw none out, or to throw some or all out for only a select few defendants. He could also decide not to rule on the motions until the defendants have presented their case.
For live coverage of the bingo trial, follow @BINGOTrial on Twitter, or click here.