Judge pushes back gambling corruption trial to June

Federal Courthouse in Opelika
Federal Courthouse in Opelika

OPELIKA, AL (RNN) - In the Federal Courthouse in Opelika, Federal Judge Myron Thompson decided to move the bingo vote buying and corruption trial to June.

"We can try this on April 4, but that's putting a lot of pressure on the court" Thompson said.

Thompson said the 44 or 45 days until the April 4th court date would not be enough time for the court to address additional motions including several proposals to have separate trials.

The trial is tentatively scheduled for June 6, but no firm date has been set.

Initially, several lawyers including those for Sen. Quinton Ross (D - Montgomery) and Country Crossing Casino owner Ronnie Gilley each filed motions to continue the case at a later date.

Victoryland Casino owner Milton McGregor's lead attorney, Joe Espy, has been outspoken about trying the case on the original April 4 date. With the new date he says it won't change his strategy for Mr. McGregor.

"You heard the court. That's when the court can get to it and that's fine with us and we'll be ready in June" Espy said. "It doesn't change our strategy."

The one issue Judge Thompson foresaw with the June court date would have to do with jury selection. He said some jurors could have scheduled vacation time during the time of the newly rescheduled trial date.

Victoryland owner Milton McGregor's attorney Joe Espy said he is still pursuing a separate trial for his client.

Attorneys for Ronnie Gilley, the owner of Country Crossing, and for State Senator Quinton Ross said they were pleased they have more time to prepare for the trial.

The hearing was held in Opelika because Judge Thompson presided over an unrelated case and wanted to issue a ruling as soon as he could on the postponement.

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