Bingo case deadline looms for US

Posted by Max Reiss – bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) – Today is the latest deadline for US prosecutors to prove to a Federal Magistrate Judge that they understand their legal obligation to turn over all communications relating to wiretaps.

Phones were tapped and two Alabama lawmakers wore wiretaps which led to 11 people including casino owners, state senators, and lobbyists indicted on federal vote-buying and corruption charges.

US Prosecutors had previously missed several other deadlines to turn over emails to defense attorneys. Hearings were held at the beginning and middle of March where prosecutors and defense attorneys questioned the FBI agents who administered the wiretaps.

During those hearings, it was revealed that many of the agents had never conducted that type of surveillance before and were even trained on the system that same day.

Defense attorneys for Milton McGregor discovered through questioning that wiretap logs were filled out and records were kept even though prosecutors said such logs did not exist.

Federal Magistrate Judge Wallace Capel who has presided over the hearings regarding the wiretaps has called the behavior of US prosecutors, "ridiculous" and their withholding of information was a mixture of "arrogance and ignorance."

Judge Capel has threatened sanctions against Federal prosecutors for their refusal to obey court orders. The specific sanctions have not been specified.

The Justice Department's Public Integrity division has since changed lead prosecutors in the case. Peter Ainsworth who is the chief of the division has been replaced by Justin Shur who is his deputy within the department.

The US Attorneys office has refused comment on the case.

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