Clock ticking on AG's response to Task Force ruling

Governor Riley says he is talking with AG King about the ongoing bingo issue.
Governor Riley says he is talking with AG King about the ongoing bingo issue.
Attorney General Troy King must respond to a judge's ruling on the Task Force by Monday.
Attorney General Troy King must respond to a judge's ruling on the Task Force by Monday.

Posted by: Eileen Jones - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A legal deadline is approaching for the Attorney General. Troy King is four days away from sending a Jefferson County Circuit Judge his official position on the Governor's Task Force on Illegal Gambling. Additionally, WSFA 12 News has confirmed a second meeting between the Governor and the Attorney General on electronic bingo and the Task Force.

It was about a week ago that Attorney General Troy King walked across the street from his office to the capitol to meet with the Governor about gambling. That meeting lasted about an hour and a half and the Governor says the same thing happened again this week. "We spent about an hour and a half together yesterday (Wednesday). And, the result of that? Again, it's confidential but we talked and we're continuing to talk and I really can't comment on it any further than that."

And, that pretty much sums up what the Attorney General had to say after the two met for an hour and a half last week. "The Governor and I have had a very good conversation. We've had a good exchange of ideas and I think both of us have a lot to think about now."

But, the Attorney General doesn't have much more time to think. He has a court imposed deadline that forces him to decide the fate of the Governor's Task Force on Illegal Gambling. It's the Task Force that's raided one gaming facility and attempted raids on two others. And, because King is the state's top law enforcement officer, Judge Robert Vance said in his order, only with King's OK can cases be prosecuted in Alabama. And on Monday, Judge Vance wants to know if the Task Force has King's blessings, and if not what does King plan to do about it?  The Governor says he doesn't even want to guess. "I'm not going to be presumptuous enough to make a determination on what the Attorney General should do, but a straight answer to your question - we are talking." The Governor was also asked, "Have you had a change of opinion, a change of heart, a change mind on anything you have said previously about bingo or gambling?" His answer was short and to the point, "No."

That means, after the Governor thought about the electronic bingo machines for a week, it seems nothing's changed. "One, it's not bingo. Two, they are slot machines. Three, it's not my opinion. It is the opinion of the Alabama Supreme Court, three circuit judges and a federal judge."

The Attorney General on Monday could tell the court he wants to do nothing, or spell out exactly what he wants the Task Force Commander John Tyson to do, or he could tell the Task Force to just let him do the legal work himself.

King has said previously that the question of whether the electronic bingo machines are legal or not should be answered by the courts and not by troopers in early morning raids on bingo operations.

And, here's a reminder. Friday morning  there's a hearing in Macon County to determine whether to extend the temporary restraining order keeping the Task Force from raiding Victoryland.

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