Prosecution says gambling case about greed

Milton McGregor walking into the courthouse 6/10/11.
Milton McGregor walking into the courthouse 6/10/11.

A federal prosecutor says VictoryLand casino owner Milton McGregor stood to make hundreds of millions of dollars if he could pass legislation protecting electronic bingo games.

But McGregor's lawyer says he's a longtime Alabama businessman who is the target of a government case built on the testimony of a crook who owed McGregor money.

Prosecutor Justin Shur and defense attorney Joe Espy presented opening statements Friday morning in Alabama's gambling corruption trial in Montgomery. Attorneys for the other defendants will appear later.

Shur says it's a case about greed and corruption, where four indicted legislators sold their votes to McGregor on the pro-gambling bill. Espy says Country Crossing developer Ronnie Gilley, who pleaded guilty, owed McGregor millions for helping with County Crossing and wrote him a bad check.

FOLLOW THE COVERAGE with WSFA 12 News' team of bloggers inside the courtroom. We're updating the events minute by minute. We'll even take your questions! Join us.


U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson has set aside more than six hours for opening statements. Attorneys predict that will last all day and the first witnesses will appear Monday.

Picking the mostly female jury took four days and was completed Thursday afternoon. The defense attorney for casino operator Milton McGregor, Joe Espy, says attorneys didn't look at gender in picking a jury. He says the considered their answers and reactions to questions during questioning.

In addition to McGregor, the case involves two of McGregor's lobbyists, four present and former state senators, and two others.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)