Attorney Jim Parkman says that he and his client, Sen. Harri Anne Smith, would have put on a full defense in Alabama’s bingo corruption trial if one of the other defendants did the same.
“Everything’s a risk in life, and you have to make an educated decision not just for yourself and your client, but you gotta do it for the other defendants too,” Parkman said Friday. His client is one of nine defendants in the trial, all of whom rested their cases on Friday after calling only one witness. The prosecution called 17 witnesses in 31 days.
“There was some concern that if we put on some witnesses, we don’t know what they may know about somebody else, and we certainly don’t wanna hurt somebody else in this,” Parkman said.
“There was one other one that thought about puttin’ on some evidence with us. If they had, if they had put on evidence, we’d have put on a full case. But we just didn’t wanna be the only ones to stand out.”
Parkman said he was also concerned about jury fatigue, and mentioned a cheer that came from the jury box when told last Monday they could go home early that day.
“That told me that they’re through—that they’ve had enough,” Parkman said. “And I don’t blame ‘em–I’ve had enough.”
Parkman’s client, Sen. Harri Anne Smith, I-Slocomb, is charged with conspiring to sell her vote on and pass legislation favorable to gambling interests in 2010. She had previously said she wanted to take the stand and tell her story, but now she will not be able to.
“I will be telling my story,” Smith said Friday. “I will just be telling it through Jim, on closing.”
“We were the last ones, last night, to make this decision,” Parkman said Friday. “We really wanted to put on a defense. We really wanted to put Harri Anne Smith on the stand. We were not afraid of the government at any time. But, in looking at this, we talked with the other defendants, they all wanted to rest.”
“It concerned me that if we put witnesses on, how that would look to the jury. Does it look like we’re guilty and the others aren’t? We’re hiding, you know, we’ve got problems?”
Closing arguments are expected to begin Wednesday.