Looks like the east Alabama fambly is breaking up.
Milton McGregor, the casino owner, political powerbroker, former Colonial BancGroup board member and prominent Auburn booster, is seeking to sever his trial with the trials of the other defendants in Alabama’s BingoGate corruption case.
It was all about team unity when the indictments were handed down by a federal grand jury last October. Everybody was professing innocence and sticking together. In January 2011, not so much. McGregor is not “all in,” so to speak.
Via the Associated Press on The Wire blog at al.com:
McGregor's lawyers filed court papers Saturday in Montgomery saying he deserves a separate trial because he's ready for trial on the scheduled date of April 4, but most other defendants want a delay.
McGregor's attorney, Joe Espy, also argued that it will be extremely difficult to try 10 people at once and that such a large trial could result in McGregor being unfairly judged based on evidence of what others did.
Uh huh. That’s a good story, Uncle Miltie, and I’d stick to it.
As regular followers of this story know, the team of federal investigators are nearing the end of an expanded probe that “goes beyond the scope” of the original indictments. You will also recall that two of the original 12 conspirators—Jennifer Pouncey and Jarrod Massey—have both agreed to plead guilty and cooperate with investigators. Pouncey and Massey worked for Country Crossings casino owner Ronnie Gilley, while McGregor employed his own team of lobbyists led by Tom Coker and Robert Geddie.
Recent court filings from Coker to compel the government to disclose the contents of wiretaps and interviews with other defendants and witnesses—especially the interviews with Massey—indicate that there’s some nervousness on the McGregor side of the conspiracy. They want to know exactly who Massey is fingering and what he’s squealing about.
The longer this plays out, the more the pressure increases for someone on McGregor’s lobbyist team to flip and work out a deal. McGregor’s not pushing for severance and against continuance just because he thinks he has a strong defense. He’s trying to run out the clock before somebody rolls on him.
At any rate, the wiretap binders have already been provided by the prosecution (they were due January 18, scroll down to the update), and the FD-302’s (records of agent interviews with witnesses and other defendants in the case) are due on January 31. This is the approximate date on which the federal government says releasing the materials will no longer jeopardize the expanded probe. Statements like this indicate that a new round of indictments are likely, and absolutely no one but the government knows who or what be ensnared a week or so from now.
As the old saying goes, “the price of poker keeps going up.”
Getcha some popcorn and settle in. This should be fun.