MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - In his first televised interview after the corruption trial, Sen. Quinton Ross (D – Montgomery) said he felt the entire investigation into the Alabama State House in 2010 was orchestrated in part by the state's executive branch.
"You had agents of the state working in close conjunction with the federal government" Ross said. "There's no way that anyone who was a highly ranking elected official in the state of Alabama did not know that this was taking place."
Ross wouldn't explicitly say that former Gov. Bob Riley had to do with the eventual indictment of Ross and ten others in an alleged vote buying scheme but did say it wasn't fathomable that he wouldn't have been in the loop.
The jury acquitted Ross and lobbyist Bob Geddie of all charges in the corruption trial that ended August 11. Ross said he didn't think the government had any evidence to convict the remaining seven defendants either.
"I don't think they wanted the truth" Ross said. He indicated the government did not have a concern for "pursuing justice" but that the prosecution team simply wanted to put all of the defendants behind bars regardless of proof.
The most shocking moment of the trial for Ross he said was the fact that one of the FBI agents who testified, George Glaser, said the Department of Justice "couldn't let a tainted piece of legislation pass."
Ross, as a third term state lawmaker, said he wanted to jump out of his chair in the courtroom to dispute that claim.
"It's one thing to investigate crimes but it's another thing when you use that authority to usurp our constitutional right in this state to set laws and make laws" Ross said.
He said SB380 was a referendum that would have given people the right to vote. He says the government took that right away from the people when the investigation was announced, effectively killing the legislation immediately after its passage in the Senate.
The remarks about the patrons of Greene Track being "aborigines" that came from Sen. Scott Beason (R – Gardendale) weren't a shock to Ross. He said, "I was disappointed to hear that but not naïve enough to believe that doesn't go on."
According to Ross, the two have always had a cordial relationship throughout their time as colleagues in the Senate. Sen. Harri Anne Smith (I – Slocomb), who is facing another trial on bribery charges, called for Beason's resignation after the comments came to light. She said at the very least he should resign his position as chairman of the powerful Senate Rules Committee. That body controls which bills make it to the Senate floor for debate.
Ross did not demand for Beason's resignation directly, but he didn't rule it out either.
"He maybe needs to take a step back" Ross said. "You know if everybody is going to feel as though they're going to get a fair shot because you never know. People may be hesitant to approach the rules chairman about getting a piece of legislation on the agenda."
The remaining defendants are Victoryland owner Milton McGregor, former Country Crossing spokesman Jay Walker, Sen. Harri Anne Smith, former Sen. Larry Means (D – Etowah), former Sen. Jim Preuitt (R – Talladega), lobbyist Tom Coker, and former legislative bill writer Ray Crosby.
Ross will be spared a retrial. "I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy" he said.