Tyson testifies he has statewide authority

Task Force leader John Tyson in a Macon County court Friday.
Task Force leader John Tyson in a Macon County court Friday.

TUSKEGEE, Ala. (AP) - Macon County officials are asking Circuit Judge Tom Young to extend his temporary order that blocks the task force from raiding VictoryLand, the state's largest electronic bingo casino.

Young recessed the hearing until Monday, and he extended his order until then as well. It was due to expire Friday.

Friday the commander of the governor's task force on illegal gambling testified in court that he has statewide authority to crack down on gambling machines.

John Tyson was called as the first witness in a lawsuit filed by Macon County officials who contend he has no authority in their county because they didn't invite him to investigate the bingo machines at VictoryLand.

Responding to angry questions from District Attorney Paul Jones, Tyson said he was not invited by the sheriff or district attorney but his appointment by the governor as task force commander gives him statewide authority.

Circuit Judge Tom Young is to decide whether to extend or withdraw a temporary order blocking Tyson and the task force from raiding the electronic bingo operation at Shorter.

Victoryland had been protected from another raid by the Task Force because of a temporary restraining order in place for the last ten days. That restraining order expired today.

The judge has three options. Extend the temporary restraining order, deny an extension or grant a preliminary injunction. That injunction would keep the governor's task force off Victoryland's property indefinitely, or until a higher court overturns it.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. WSFA 12 News contributed to this report. All Rights Reserved.)