No guilty verdicts in Alabama bingo corruption trial

MONTGOMERY, AL (WBRC) - After nearly two months of testimony, seven days of deliberation and numerous "important notes" from the jury, the verdicts on some of the counts in the federal gambling corruption trial were announced Thursday—all not guilty.

Against Victoryland casino owner Milton McGregor, the jury only came to a unanimous decision—not guilty—on three of his charges. He was found not guilty of attempting to bribe Sen. Quinton Ross and on two honest services charges.

Lobbyist Thomas Coker was found not guilty on 11 of 14 counts. The jury was hung on the remaining three.

Lobbyist Robert Geddie was cleared on all counts.

Former State Sen. Larry Means was found not guilty on all counts, except for two charges of conspiracy and bribery, in which the jury was hung.

Former State Sen. Jim Preuitt was found not guilty on all charges, aside from charges on conspiracy, bribery and lying to the FBI, in which the jury was hung.

Current State Sen. Quinton Ross (D-Montgomery) was cleared on all counts against him.

Current State Sen. Harri Ann Smith (I-Slocomb) was found not guilty on 11 charges, and the jury was hung on eight counts against her.

Country Crossing spokesman Jarrell Walker was found not guilty on all charges, aside from those for conspiracy and bribery of Preuitt, on which the jury was hung. Country Crossing owner Ronnie Gilley plead guilty to his charges before the trial started.

The jury could not reach a unanimous decision on the count against former legislative employee Joseph Crosby.

McGregor's attorney, Joe Espy, said he was pleased with Thursday's results and said he is not worried about a future trial because in this one, the defense did not present any arguments.

"We did not play our hand, we did not play our hand," Espy said. "There was a reason for what we did."

Susan James, the attorney for Walker, said the defense's silence spoke volumes.

"This jury did not give the government a thing, not a thing," James said. "And not one defendant said a word. I think that says something."

Smith's attorney, the often animated Jim Parkman said he will have to do a better job in a new trial convincing the jury that the senator is not guilty on the remaining charges against his client. Parkman said new jurors won't hear the same thing again from him.

"They just don't know how crazy I am," Parkman said.

After his client, Ross, was cleared on all charges, Lewis Gillis said that the federal government was duped by the defendants in this case who plead guilty. He said lobbyist Jared Massey would believe the lies he told. Gillis was reluctant to say Sen. Scott Beason (R-Gardendale) duped the government, saying only that he didn't know.

The announcement comes after the jury went back to work Wednesday morning to finish deliberations. Late Tuesday afternoon, the jury sent a note to Judge Myron Thompson saying they had reached a unanimous decision on some charges but felt they could never reach a unanimous decision on others.

Wednesday morning, Judge Thompson urged the jury to continue deliberating and reach a verdict on all counts.

Earlier today, the jury came back with another note, saying they were still deadlocked. The judge this afternoon told the jurors to announce their unanimous verdicts.

Nine defendants, including two state senators and two former state senators, are accused of attempting to purchase votes for favorable gambling legislation before the Alabama legislature.

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