Ronnie Gilley pleads guilty to 11 counts - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

SENTENCING DATE SET

Ronnie Gilley pleads guilty to 11 counts

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File Photo: Ronnie Gilley File Photo: Ronnie Gilley
No photos were taken of Gilley Friday. He was transported in a heavily tinted vehicle and cameras were not allowed in the courtroom. No photos were taken of Gilley Friday. He was transported in a heavily tinted vehicle and cameras were not allowed in the courtroom.
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Country Crossing casino developer Ronnie Gilley learned Friday afternoon when he'll hear his fate for pleading guilty in a federal corruption probe. The sentencing date is scheduled for November 15 of 2011.

The sentencing date comes just 8 hours after Gilley officially entered a guilty plea to 1 Count of Conspiracy, 4 Counts of Money Laundering and 6 Counts of Bribery. Several of the guilty pleas could result in fines of more than $250,000 each and more than 10 years in prison.

Gilley is the third person in the probe to plead guilty to attempts at buying pro-gambling legislation in the Alabama Legislature. Nine other defendants, including casino owner Milton McGregor, are scheduled for trial June 6.

"The closer I got to the flames, it seems I became engulfed by the fire instead of putting it out," Gilley said in court. "I'm sorry, I'm wrong, and my plea is guilty."

Photos of Gilley Friday were not possible. He was transported to the courthouse in a heavily tinted vehicle and cameras were not allowed inside the courtroom.

[Gilley's guilty plea consent form (.tif)]

Gilley has been in jail since February. A judge agreed to give him a 24-hour pass Friday so he can be with his son who is having surgery. He'll have to wear an electronic monitoring device while he's out of jail. He must return to the Montgomery City Jail at the end of the furlough.

TIMELINE

10/04/10 - Indictment

10/07/10 - Tells WSFA 12 News he'll fight charges.

10/15/10 - Gilley, others arraigned in court.

10/28/10 - Defense gets 3,000 Gilley/McGregor recorded phone calls.

12/14/10 - 9 defendants ask for more time before trial.

12/20/10 - Massey pleads guilty to charges.

12/31/10 - Gilley attorney's ask for more time to focus on Massey info.

01/06/11 - Prosecutors seek to pull Gilley's bond.

01/13/11 - Gilley placed under house arrest.

02/07/11 - Gilley jailed.

02/14/11 - Gilley seeks suppression of wiretaps.

02/28/11 - Hearing on wiretaps begin.

03/10/11 - Gilley denied jail release request.

A hearing is scheduled for Monday to discuss the terms of Gilley's bond.

Gilley, who has staunchly maintained his innocence up to this point, chose to change the plea a result of negotiations with the U.S. Attorney's office.

Gilley had been seeking release from incarceration for some time but has been unsuccessful because a judge was unwilling to reinstate his bond. The guilty plea will apparently make a difference, however.

Custody is being transferred from U.S. Marshals to the Federal Bureau of Investigation until May 31, 2011 at which point Gilley will be remanded back into the Marshal Service's custody. He'll be allowed out of jail, though he'll have to wear a GPS monitoring device.

Gilley's two lobbyists, Jarrod Massey and Jennifer Pouncy, pleaded guilty earlier and agreed to help prosecutors. They admitted offering millions of dollars to legislators to support pro-gambling legislation.

The investigation included three legislators wearing wires and a wiretap on Gilley's phone, court testimony showed.

One of the legislators who helped the FBI, Republican Sen. Scott Beason of Gardendale, declined comment Thursday.

One of the indicted legislators who was a major supporter of Country Crossing, independent Sen. Harri Anne Smith of Slocomb, said she was unfamiliar with Gilley's decision, but plans to fight the charges against her.

"I'm innocent and look forward to proving my innocence," she said.

Gilley was arrested in October on charges accusing him of buying and selling votes on pro-gambling legislation that would benefit his Country Crossing development in Dothan. Country Crossing has been closed for more than a year.

Count on WSFA 12 News for full coverage as this story develops.

Copyright 2011 WSFA 12 News. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.


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