Judge Won't End Alabama Bingo Trial
By John Gramlich, Staff Writer
A federal judge has refused to throw out the charges facing current and former Alabama state legislators and others in a criminal trial that has dominated the state's political headlines.
U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ruled that the prosecution has presented enough evidence to continue the trial against two current and two former state lawmakers, two lobbyists and a casino owner, among others. The defendants are accused of conspiring to buy votes on a gambling bill debated by the Alabama legislature last year.
Defense attorneys had asked the judge to dismiss some or all of the charges against their clients, saying the prosecution had not shown enough evidence "for a reasonable jury to find them guilty," the Mobile Press-Register reports . Thompson rejected the defense attorneys' request, though he did announce that he has reservations "as to some of the counts, as well as some of the defendants," leaving open the possibility that he could throw out charges later in the trial.
The case has long been the top political story in Alabama, which has debated gambling for years. The bill at the center of the trial amended the state constitution to legalize electronic bingo games - in order, prosecutors say, to financially benefit the accused.