Bingo corruption trial defendant Ray Crosby found dead

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Former legislative analyst Ray Crosby was found dead in his home late Sunday afternoon.

Crosby was set to stand trial with six other defendants Monday morning in the Montgomery federal courthouse.

The Montgomery Police Department has confirmed it is conducting a death investigation at Crosby's home address according to a spokeswoman. The cause and manner of death remain under investigation and no further details are available at this time.

Crosby had worked for more than 30 years writing legislation for members of the Alabama State Legislature on various topics.

Much of Crosby's responsibilities and work came to light over the past 18 months as he was charged as a defendant in a federal corruption trial with 10 others. It was alleged by prosecutors that Crosby had accepted bribes in return for his work to write legislation in favor of a casino owner, Milton McGregor.

McGregor owned Victoryland, a bingo facility, dog track, and hotel in Shorter, AL. Crosby was listed in Alabama Ethics Commission filings as a consultant to the Macon track which justified his $3,000 per month income from McGregor.

During a nine week trial which began in June 2011 and ended with no convictions, Crosby was painted as a key individual in the conspiracy scheme by federal prosecutors. During opening statements, lead prosecutor Justin Shur spent the first five minutes of his talk discussing how vital Crosby's bill-drafting role was to McGregor and the other defendants.

Prosecutors argued that the monthly payments from McGregor to Crosby were spent in order to maintain McGregor's influence in the legislative process.

Defense attorneys argued that Crosby had done nothing illegal and that he was merely collecting his consulting fee for work he had done with the Macon County Greyhound Track. Defense attorneys never answered directly what the $3,000 per month payments were for from McGregor to Crosby.

Several of Crosby's charges were dismissed by District Judge Myron Thompson who presided over the case. Several weeks later the jury acquitted Crosby of all but one charge against him.

Crosby was going to face a lone federal programs bribery charge against him Monday morning. It is unclear what impact his death will have on the timetable for the trial. Jury selection was supposed to start at 9AM.

Trial sources wouldn't confirm or deny whether officials with the Federal Court of the Middle District of Alabama had contacted them about what Crosby's death will mean for the trial.

Crosby is survived by his son Jack and his daughter Sarah.

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