MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The indictments and the subsequent arrests of the 11 people involved in a Federal corruption probe happened just one month before the election. Three of the four State Senators indicted are running for re-election. For that reason, Auburn-Montgomery professor Brad Moody found the timing of the indictments and arrests curious.
"Why is it three or four and a half months since the events ended that the indictments are coming down and the arrests are made," Moody said. "I think that's curious, especially since it's a month before the election."
Moody's opinion was shared by Democratic Candidate for Governor Ron Sparks. He faced off with his Republican opponent Dr. Robert Bentley during a debate in Birmingham.
"Today was an indictment and not a conviction," Sparks said. "These people will have their day in court, but it's pretty suspicious that you drop an indictment 28 or 29 days before an important election."
"They have been indicted (not convicted) and it is a difference, and we need to always remember this," Dr. Bentley said. "However, this shows corrupting influence of gambling".
Assistant U.S. Attorney General Lanny Breuer said during a news conference in Washington that the timing of the indictments had nothing to do with the election.
"We're always sensitive to that, but in a case like this we just had to go with what the facts and law were and we had to make the decision at the appropriate time," Breuer said. "That's a hundred percent what dictated the timing of this case, irrespective of when an election may occur."
While Sen. Jim Preuitt of Talladega is not running for re-election, Moody says the other senators indicted that are running still have the chance to state their case to voters. He also believes these indictments will definitely have an impact on the gambling debate long after the election.