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Gilley describes Montgomery politics' underside

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A casino developer who pleaded guilty in a vote-buying scheme is describing the underside of Montgomery politics to federal jurors in Alabama's gambling trial.

Country Crossing's Ronnie Gilley testified Friday about giving campaign money to legislators to sway their positions on issues. He says indicted state Sen. Harri Ann Smith of Slocomb told him "I'm yours" after he gave her as much as $40,000 in donations.

Gilley says he got millions in loan promises from competitor Milton McGregor and was worried about former Gov. Bob Riley listening to his phone calls. Gilley says he and McGregor both used prepaid cell phones so their calls couldn't be traced.

He also says an aide to former Attorney General Troy King advised him to show people in Montgomery "the color of my money." 

The testimony about state Sen. Harri Ann Smith of Slocomb came Friday from Country Crossing developer Ronnie Gilley, who pleaded guilty in a vote-buying conspiracy and is testifying for prosecutors.

Smith didn't initially support Gilley's plan for a gambling center in southeast Alabama, but she later backed the project. Gilley says he wrote two $20,000 checks for Smith and routed them through lobbyist Jarrod Massey, but he doesn't know exactly how much money went to Smith.

Prosecutors say Massey will testify later.

Smith and eight other people are on trial in Montgomery in an alleged scheme to buy and sell votes on gambling legislation.

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

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