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Last month, readers of this blog were treated to a brief analysis of the events and court cases that literally kicked open the barn door. That posting noted that the cases could span from the state house in Montgomery to the President’s Mansion at Auburn University. Key events in those court cases and investigations leading up to them are included in the stand-alone Timeline.
These cases demonstrate why the Auburgeddon that appears to be looming on the Plains is so much bigger than one star quarterback and a father with his hand out. They are also why the Cam Newton investigation is certainly not an orchestrated campaign by enemies of Auburn University or jealous conference competitors. But it is also clear that the cases are connected.
On Saturday, November 13, it became known that AU had again hired Lightfoot, Franklin and White, the Birmingham law firm that has represented the school in numerous other NCAA matters, including the 2002-2004 investigation into the men’s basketball program.
On December 1, the NCAA shocked the media, fans and collegiate sports by declaring Cam Newton eligible after conducting an investigation into the player’s amateur status.
On December 3, indicted Country Crossings owner Ronnie Gilley filed a motion requesting a continuance of his and ten others’ trial on charges of political corruption. One of the co-defendants in the case is Milton McGregor, former Colonial BancGroup Board Member and multi-million dollar booster for Auburn. Oral arguments were heard on December 15, and Judge Myron Thompson refused to move the trial back from its April 4 scheduled date.
So what, you ask?
Sam Franklin, a Senior partner at Lightfoot, Franklin and White, is on the chop list in the court documents filed by Gilley’s lawyer. If the BingoGate case is not connected to an NCAA investigation, then why is Auburn’s NCAA counsel being served court documents in a supposedly unrelated case? What interests are being served by keeping a sports litigator in the loop in a federal criminal trial?
UPDATE: SportsByBrooks is picking this up, with screenshots of the court filings.
UPDATE II: The Dothan Eagle has the complete list of defendants and their counsel.