Bingo investigation defendants plead 'not guilty'

People gather to show support for the defendants. Photo courtesy Alan Collins.
People gather to show support for the defendants. Photo courtesy Alan Collins.

MONTGOMERY, AL (WBRC) - All 11 defendants in the federal "bribes for bingo" investigation have pleaded 'not guilty' in a Montgomery courtroom. Also, all defendants waived their right to a speedy trial.

The 11 people, including four state lawmakers, are accused in a vote buying scheme to help pass a bill legalizing e-bingo. The trial has been tentatively set for April 4th of 2011.

The lawyer for Victoryland owner Milton McGregor, Joe Espy, says he will not try to change the trial's location because he has confidence in the jury pool from Alabama's middle district, which includes Montgomery. Espy says he believes his client did nothing wrong.

"The charges that were brought against Mr. McGregor, they're nothing more than accusations," said Espy. "They're not fact, they're not proof. Mr. McGregor and the others are presumed under our law, innocent."

Attorneys for the defendants can now access the evidence gathered by the government. Earlier this week, a federal magistrate rejected McGregor's request for wiretap information and any plea deals in the case, saying the request is premature.

Copyright 2010 WBRC. All rights reserved.