If federal prosecutors have anything to say about it, two cooperating conspirators in the Alabama bingo corruption investigation could both get more than a decade in jail.
Former gambling developer Ronnie Gilley and former lobbyist Jarrod Massey face sentences of about 11 years at their sentencing, which is scheduled for next Monday. The prosecutor’s recommendations came in the form of a sentencing memo filed Monday.
Federal sentencing guidelines called for Gilley to be sentenced to 21-27 years for his crimes, and for Massey to get 14-17.5 years. However, the government recommended to U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson that Gilley and Massey both get reduced sentences due to their cooperation, in which they testified against Victoryland owner Milton McGregor and eight other defendants. McGregor and his codefendants were all found not guilty in two trials.
Prosecutors recommended that Gilley get 10 years, 11 months — a downward departure of 50 percent from the sentencing guidelines — and that Massey receive 11 years, two months, a 20 percent downward departure from guidelines. According to Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer (who wrote both Massey and Gilley’s sentencing memos), Massey got a lower recommended departure “given the difficulties experienced with Massey’s cooperation.”
The sentencing memos also revealed that Gilley and Massey are both cooperating in a unidentified state investigation by the Alabama attorney general’s office.
Massey and Gilley also cooperated in an uncharged investigation involving former state Rep. Terry Spicer (D-Elba). For several years, Massey paid Spicer thousands of dollars a month to funnel lobbying business to Massey. Gilley gave Spicer several hundred tickets to BamaJam music festival, which Spicer then gave away. Spicer pleaded guilty to federal charges and received a recommended sentence from federal prosecutors of five years.
Massey combative on witness stand
Prosecutors credited Massey, who served as Gilley’s lobbyist, with getting Spicer and Gilley to plea. “Gilley’s decision to plead guilty undoubtedly was affected by the knowledge that much of Massey’s testimony at trial would directly implicate Gilley,” prosecutors wrote in the Massey memo.
But Breuer also cited a number of issues with Massey’s testimony and cooperation. Prosecutors say Massey violated demands that he not read about the trial or interact with the media by calling his wife from jail and asking about Gilley’s testimony. Massey also reached out to a blog called Legal Schnauzer “offering to provide information on improprieties he had observed.”
The government also said that Massey “displayed contempt and disrespect for defense counsel” in the case, against clear demands that he be polite and respectful. At one point, Massey told a defense attorney in front of the jury that “I have a dislike for you and I was getting a little fun out of aggravating you,” which led to admonishments from the court.
Gilley, too, was said to be combative with defense attorneys, but, unlike in Massey’s case, the government chose not to cite examples in the sentencing memo. He was also cited for making a “long, self-serving statement” when he switched his plea from not guilty to guilty. But he was given credit for driving an hour each way to prep for trial with prosecutors, for testifying in both trials, and for his honesty and forthrightness in the early stages of his cooperation.
Last week, Gilley’s attorney asked Judge Thompson to sentence Gilley to three years of supervised release with six months of home monitoring. Massey’s attorney’s suggested sentence was filed under seal.
Gilley, Massey and Spicer are scheduled to be sentenced next Monday, July 16. All of their sentences are ultimately up to the discretion of Judge Thompson.