Jury: Bingo defendants not guilty

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 8, 2012

Jurors found VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor and five other defendants not guilty of all charges in the retrial of a government corruption case Wendesday.

Jurors announced that they had reached a decision early Wednesday morning on their seventh day of deliberations.

McGregor; lobbyist Tom Coker; former Country Crossing casino spokesman Jay Walker; Sen. Harri Anne Smith, I-Slocomb; and former state Sens. Larry Means, D-Attalla, and Jim Preuitt, R-Talladega, were accused of offering or accepting bribes in connection with a 2010 gambling bill.

The legislation was aimed at sheltering bingo casinos from state efforts to shut them down by authorizing a statewide vote on gambling.

The case first went to trial last summer. Jurors deliberated for seven days before returning multiple not guilty verdicts but saying they were hopelessly deadlocked on other charges.

Prosecutors presented a dramatically paired — down case this time. Prosecutors put on just two weeks of evidence compared to seven weeks in the first trial.