Friday, July 15, 2011

BingoGate Trial: Lobbyist claims as many as 20 others targeted


imageWe are now five weeks into one of the most significant criminal trials in the history of the state and testimony rolls on. For the past week, lobbyist Jarrod Massey has been on the stand, testifying about crimes he has already confessed to committing—namely, bribing legislators and conspiring with casino owners to rig a vote on a piece of gambling legislation that would have put a constitutional amendment on the 2010 ballot to legalize electronic gambling in Alabama.

Under cross examination by defense lawyers Thursday, Massey stated that he believed federal prosecutors are targeting up to 20 additional individuals in connection with their probe into the Alabama political machine. This should come as no surprise. It’s been known since January that the feds were turning onto a trail that led them well off the reservation of the original October indictment. What wasn’t known then (and remains largely a mystery today) is who and what the expanded probe is targeting. What also wasn’t known (and still remains a complete mystery) is when additional indictments will be unsealed.

From the testimony of confessed co-conspirator and former casino owner Ronnie Gilley, we do know that the probe has not been put to bed and that he expects to be on the stand well into the foreseeable future. And, due to a mishap that occurred Wednesday, we also know the identity of at least one heretofore unindicted co-conspirator—former State Representative Terry Spicer. One of the jurors in the trial was inadvertently provided with a copy of a statement made by Spicer in a “proffer,” a document that includes statements of fact and evidence provided by a defendant who intends to plead guilty. This demonstrates that Spicer is either negotiating a deal with prosecutors now, or has already cut a deal and hasn’t had his day of allocution before the bench.

As was prominently pointed out here, repeated throughout the spring and still reiterated in the Dothan Eagle item here, there have been numerous documents filed under seal and kept away from public eye. There have been just as many closed-door hearings between prosecutors and defense lawyers as there have been hearings in open court. So anyone who tells you with a straight face that they have any clue about who, about what or about when the BOOM is coming is either a raving lunatic or a party to the federal crime of disclosing grand jury proceedings. The same is absolutely true for anyone who claims that there’s nothing to worry about here; that so-and-so is safe and that such-and-such institution or organization is safe. In either case, your best option is to turn and run away.

There are many big-time names that could be among the two dozen or so additional targets that Massey believes he knows about, and Massey would likely not know about every angle the feds are examining in this expanding probe. People in very high circles are nervous, and Massey’s testimony this week shows they’ve got a damned good reason to be.

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