Bingo retrial request for January

Attorneys for Sen. Harri Anne Smith are asking for the judge to consider a January retrial date instead of the tentative October date the court scheduled earlier this week.

Defense attorneys and federal prosecutors spoke with Judge Myron Thompson this morning on a conference call to discuss several matters relating to the retrial of the vote-buying corruption case.

Federal prosecutors reiterated their desire to hold separate trials for groups of defendants on the call. Judge Thompson instructed them to file motions to sever defendants and told defense attorneys to file briefs as to why they believe one trial for the remaining seven defendants is all that is necessary.

Six of the defendants are on board with opposing the motions to sever, being in favor of just one trial for the remaining seven defendants.

Attorney David McKnight, who represents lobbyist Tom Coker, told WBRC in Birmingham that he intended to file a motion to sever on behalf of his client. He prefers an individual trial for his client.

The ten week corruption trial ended August 11. Federal prosecutors failed to secure a single conviction on 124 counts against nine defendants. The jury decided on 91 not guilty verdicts and the court declared mistrials on 33 charges including 14 against Victoryland owner Milton McGregor, the alleged lynchpin of the conspiracy.

In addition to McGregor the remaining six defendants are Sen. Harri Anne Smith, former Country Crossing spokesman Jay Walker, lobbyist Tom Coker, former Sen. Jim Preuitt (R – Talladega), former Sen. Larry Means (D – Etowah), and legislative employee Ray Crosby.

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