Federal grand jury to address electronic bingo bribery issue

By Alan Collins

MONTGOMERY, AL (WBRC) - Next week, a federal grand jury will convene to address allegations of bribery in connection to the bill legalizing electronic bingo in Alabama.

One state senator who was not subpoenaed has already approached investigators with information involved in the case.

"Prior to the gambling vote, offers were made to me I felt were inappropriate. I took the information to the authorities. I am sharing that information with them and will continue to cooperate," Senator Steve French said.
French will not go into detail about the alleged incident because he could be called as a potential witness.

Meanwhile, Prattville Representative Mac Gibson, who voted against the bill in a House committee, says he has been subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury. "I know little about it. I was not in favor from the get-go in that situation, because the bill was not a straight up and down vote for people to vote on."Gibson said.
Senate minority leader Jabo Waggoner of Vestavia Hills was not subpoenaed, but he expects lawmakers and lobbyist will be called before the grand jury. "There were subpoenas served last week and this week. I've heard as many as 50 to 60 pertaining to the bingo issue, maybe to some other issues," Waggoner said.
At first, many Alabama lawmakers thought federal investigators were on a fishing expedition with the corruption probe despite those investigators announcing they had substantial evidence. With the grand jury convening so soon after the end of the legislature, that is changing.

"Hopefully it's a scare tactic. I hope that's the best case scenario, but if something comes out of it, it's a real black eye for the legislature," Representative John Rogers said. Rogers has also not been subpoenaed.

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