Friday, April 1, 2011

BingoGate: Justice makes it official – Ainsworth out, Shur in, wiretaps…

image Via WSFA TV in Montgomery, the Department of Justice made it official just before a hearing began this morning before US Magistrate Judge Wallace Capel. Justin Shur—one of the department’s top criminal prosecutors—is taking over the lead role in the government’s case against Milton McGregor, Ronald Gilley, lobbyist and legislators in the bingo corruption scandal. Shur replaces Peter Ainsworth, another one of DOJ’s best.

You first learned of Shur’s arrival on the case here, earlier this week.

The defense is still clamoring for the wiretaps—the central body of evidence in this case—to be suppressed because the government failed to follow its own rules, broke the law and violated their clients’ constitutional rights. They claim that because some of the phone conversations overheard should not have been recorded at all, all of them should be thrown out.

At the last hearing on the matter, Judge Capel asked defense counsel if there were any precedent for doing so, and the answer was negative.

It should be noted that Capel was again quite abrupt with the government, calling their behavior “ridiculous” despite having an elite team from DC, and again threatening sanctions. At the conclusion of the hearing, he gave the government two days to show him cause why he should not dismiss the case.

The moment of peril has not passed.

Capel gave no time frame on his ruling regarding the wiretaps, but most legal analysts I’ve spoken with believe that he’ll rake the government over the coals in his opinion and let the evidence be heard by the jury. But hey…  I’m not really very good at the prediction thing, so there’s that.

Exit question: Does Ainsworth take the toxic, walking dumpster fire (aka, Brenda Morris) with him?

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