E-bingo attorneys say feds "over-reached"

MONTGOMERY, AL (WBRC) - Attorneys for the ten remaining bingo bribery defendants are trying to exclude wiretapped conversations from evidence.

Testimony began on Monday in Montgomery at a hearing on the matter. Attorneys for several defendants in the case say federal investigators went too far in listening to and recording phone conversations. Those defense attorneys accuse investigators of listening to private conversations that had nothing to do with what a judge said they could monitor. The defendants contend that is a violation of their constitutional rights and, because of it, the recordings should be thrown out of the case.

The wiretaps focused on casino owners Ronnie Gilley and Milton McGregor. They also recorded the phone of Gilley lobbyist Jarrod Massey, who has pleaded guilty in a deal with the government. Other defendants like lobbyist Robert Geddie contend the wide net cast by investigators over-reached, intercepting calls made by Geddie which should not be considered evidence.

Now, investigators gain access to wiretaps by getting permission from a judge. The judge sets a range of what is allowed to intercept, review and record. The defendants believe the government crossed the line in this case.

On the witness stand on Monday, an FBI agent who says investigators intercepted more than 12,000 calls during more than a month.

Douglas Carr says both McGregor and Gilley appeared to suspect their phones were being tapped, only to switch to secondary phones, which were also tapped.

This is one of several motions to be heard in the coming months. The trial is set to begin in June.

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