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Jury, judge: Not guilty, mistrial

Alabama gambling icon Milton McGregor leaves the federal courthouse yesterday afternoon. Photo courtesy of Andalusia native Mike Williams

VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor and other defendants in a weeks-long trial in which they were accused of vote-buying were all smiles Thursday afternoon after the jury returned no guilty verdicts.

Jurors sent a note late yesterday morning to U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson that they were deadlocked on a number of counts. After previously sending the judge the same message, they were sent back for more deliberations. This time, they were sent back to the deliberation room to complete the verdict forms.

Lobbyist Bob Geddie and Sen. Quinton Ross, D-Montgomery, were acquitted of all charges.

Prosecutors accused McGregor of being the kingpin in a conspiracy to bribe legislators for their votes. He was found not guilty of three charges, and the jury was deadlocked on 14 others. Similarly, the jury was deadlocked on eight of the 19 charges against Sen. Harri Anne Smith, I-Slocomb. Lobbyist Tom Coker was found not guilty on 11 of 14 counts; former Sen. Larry Means (D-Attalla) was found not guilty on 14 of 16 counts; former Sen. Jim Preuitt,(D-Talladega) was found not guilty on 12 of 15 counts; and former casino spokesperson Jay Walker was found not guilty on 11 of 13 counts. They were deadlocked on the one count against former legislative employee Ray Crosby. In total, the jury returned not guilty verdicts in 91 of the 124 charges. Thompson declared a mistrial in each of the deadlocked counts and said he will set a new trial date within the month.