Federal investigators dig deep at Alabama statehouse

By Alan Collins

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -  A federal probe into public corruption at the Alabama statehouse appears to be unusual, but a state senator continues to say he did nothing wrong.

"Ladies and gentlemen after 32 years in the state senate, my integrity has come under attack," Sen. Bobby Denton of Tuscumbia said.

John Carroll, the dean of  the Cumberland Law School says this is all about lawmakers possibly taking a bribe.

"They are looking to see if there was a bribery or not in the new bingo bill. Was money offered to legislators in exchange for their vote," Carroll said.

Attorneys for a lobbyist for Country Crossing near Dothan, an electronic bingo casino, says their client, Jarrod Massey, is one of the targets of the probe. Federal authorities told the leadership of the house and senate they had substantial evidence of public corruption involving the electronic bingo constitutional amendment which passed the state senate last week. Carroll says revealing that information is unusual.

"Based on my experience it is unusual," Carroll said. "Usually the response you get from law enforcement, this is an ongoing  investigation. We can say anything else, this would be unusual."

Carroll says federal investigators may be trying to free up additional information by revealing the probe. But, critics believe it's an effort to influence the vote in the Alabama house.

Meanwhile Denton says he never accepted any bribe.

"I have never taken anything for any vote as a member of the state senate in Alabama for 32 years," Denton said.

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