Thursday, May 19, 2011

BingoGate: Judge allows the wiretap evidence to be heard at trial

image This should come as no great surprise. Last night, US District Judge Myron Thompson filed his decision accepting the recommendations of Magistrate Judge Wallace Capel that the defendants’ motion to suppress the nearly 13,000 recorded phone conversations be denied.

This is pretty much the decision I expected.

While the motions to suppress that and other related evidence represented the greatest moment of peril for the government’s case against Milton McGregor, his army of lobbyists and the legislators they are accused of bribing, the government did everything it could to bungle the matter.

Perhaps that’s why, in his ruling handed down last night, District Judge Thompson is expressly providing the defense with an avenue for appeal following any verdict:


The motions to suppress the wiretap recordings (Doc. Nos. 553, 556, 560, 564, 572, 573, 586, and 588), filed by defendants Milton E.McGregor, Thomas E. Coker, Robert B. Geddie, Jr., Larry P. Means, James E. Preuitt, Quinton T. Ross, Jr., Jarrell W. Walker, Jr., and Joseph R. Crosby, are denied without prejudice and with leave to renew, within seven days after the return of the jury’s verdict at trial, limited to a response to the government’s submission on the duration of minimization with respect to calls minimized (Doc. No. 1082). If the motions are not  renewed, the court will issue an opinion based on the current record. If the motions are renewed, the court will consider the matter anew and issue an order and opinion based on the current record and any additional evidence submitted by the parties in connection with the defendants’ response to the government’s submission on the duration of minimization with respect to calls minimized (Doc. No. 1082).


This pretty much wraps up the pre-trial business of the case. There are a few wranglings left to deal with regarding what the prosecution and defense would like to present at trial, but the heavy lifting has been done.

Jury selection is slated to begin June 6, less than three weeks from now.

Exit Question: The two weeks before the Lee Farkas trial saw several defendants plead guilty and turn against the flamboyant former mortgage banker. Do we see some flipping in the next few weeks here?  My guess is that it’s not likely, but we’ll see.

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