Wednesday, January 12, 2011

BingoGate: Court orders the release of wiretap binders

image In what could be a significant development (jackpot?) in the US v McGregor et al case, aka, “BingoGate,” US Magistrate Judge Wallace Cappel has GRANTED Thomas Coker’s motion to compel the government to produce unredacted wiretap binders and unredacted versions of the 302s. Wiretap binders contain information about the contents of recordings made during authorized and voluntary telephone surveillance. FD-302s are forms used by federal agents during witness interviews. They consist of information provided by the subject in the form of notes taken by agents.

Cappel gave the government until January 31, 2011 to produce the material. If two of the defendants—Massey and his former boss Ronnie Gilley—wish to assert privilege and redact portions of the binders, they will have to do so by tomorrow, January 14, 2011. If they fail to assert privilege, the binders will be released to the remaining defendants for their review.

The defendants moving the court to compel the release of the materials have complained that not having access to unredacted records hampers their ability to mount an effective defense in the case.

Tom Coker, the defendant whose motion the court granted yesterday, was one of the two lobbyists employed by Milton McGregor. Robert Geddie also worked for McGregor. McGregor’s connections to Auburn University and Auburn Trustee Bobby Lowder have led many to believe that some of the wiretapped conversations may have included discussions of alleged shady dealings at AU.  That belief gained momentum by the revelation last week that federal investigators had expanded their probe beyond the scope of the original US v McGregor et al indictments. It was further strengthened when it was learned that Sam Franklin of Lightfoot, Franklin and White, who represents Auburn in all NCAA compliance matters, is also representing Robert Geddie in the criminal trial and representing Bobby Lowder in ongoing federal bank fraud investigations.

The government has told the court and defense counsel that its expanded probe may be compromised if it released the unredacted materials that Coker requested. However, the government also told the court that this would no longer be the case on or about January 31, 2011.

In other words, between now and January 31, we can expect other significant developments in this case. If investigators are close to concluding their expanded investigation, we might also have some significant developments in brand new criminal cases.

You will stay tuned, won’t you?


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