McGregor, others see some charges dropped

Milton McGregor walks with his lead attorney, Joe Espy.
Milton McGregor walks with his lead attorney, Joe Espy.

The judge in Alabama's gambling corruption trial tossed out one bribery charge against VictoryLand casino owner Milton McGregor, but he left all charges against the four present and former state senators who are on trial with McGregor and four others.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson left in place the charges against Sens. Quinton Ross and Harri Anne Smith and former Sens. Larry Means and Jim Preuitt. He also kept the charges against VictoryLand lobbyist Tom Coker and Country Crossing casino spokesman Jay Walker.

McGregor still faces one count of conspiracy, five counts of bribery and 11 counts of honest services fraud.

The one charge tossed by the judge involved $5,000 in campaign contribution to Republican state Rep. Barry Mask of Wetumpka, who helped the FBI with its investigation of Statehouse corruption.

The judge also tossed the conspiracy and honesty services fraud charges against legislative analyst Ray Crosby. The bribery charge against lobbyist Bob Geddie, Jr. was also tossed.

Attorneys and Judge Thompson met in private for over an hour Monday morning and then he dismissed court for the remainder of the day.

The judge told the attorneys that he expected to rule sometime later in the day on whether to order the acquittal of any defendant on any of the charges.

Attorneys said they expect all nine defendants to still face most of the charges when closing statements begin Wednesday.

The defendants are casino owner Milton McGregor; two of his lobbyists, Bob Geddie and Tom Coker; state Sens. Quinton Ross and Harri Anne Smith; former Sens. Jim Preuitt and Larry Means; former legislative employee Ray Crosby; and casino spokesman Jay Walker.

The jury hears closing arguments starting on Wednesday.

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