The attorney general filed papers Tuesday fighting another effort to subpoena former Governor Bob Riley as a witness in the bingo corruption trial. Riley had been under subpoena in the first trial, but was allowed to be “on call” in case he was to be called as a witness by the defense.
Riley’s lawyers had told the judge last summer he was scheduled to go on a cross country motorcycle trip to Alaska. They argued to hang around the courthouse waiting to testify was unfair.
When he got to Alaska, he wrecked his bike on a dirt road and landed in the hospital recovering from injuries including a broken ribs and a punctured lung.
His attorneys told the court Riley would not be ready testify because of his injuries. Since, defense attorneys only called one witness before every defendant rested in the case, his testimony was not needed.
After hearing almost two months of testimony as the prosecution presented its case, the jurors found two defendants not guilty, found the others not guilty on more than seven dozen charges, and failed to return a verdict on about three dozen others.
It is those undecided charges the federal prosecutors plan to try again next year. It is that case, VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor’s attorneys are preparing to defend.
They are ready to argue threats of raids by Riley’s anti-gambling task force affected how McGregor did business and it was those public threats of raids he was trying to cope with and rather than avoid an FBI investigation into political corruption in Montgomery.
They are also ready to subpoena Riley’s public safety director Chris Murphy. As head of the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, Murphy’s agents were part of Riley’s task force as well as part of the FBI’s team investigating allegations of bribery in the statehouse.
AG claims privilege
Attorney General Luther Strange claims information concerning those investigations is protected by executive privilege. He wants the subpoenas blocked. It is similar to the efforts launched to try to protect Riley from testifying during the first trial.
Riley has claimed since the day the federal indictment was announced a year ago, he had no ties to the statehouse corruption case. He called rumors that he had tried to influence investigators … nonsense.
Riley released a written statement trying to distance himself from the investigation saying, “An independent federal investigation by the Obama Justice Department has resulted in indictments and arrests surrounding the corrupting influence organized gambling has on the Legislature.”
Riley repeatedly called the bill that was the centerpiece of the investigation, “the most corrupt piece of legislation ever considered by the Senate.”
The FBI testified during the trial this past summer they were trying to stop the bill because they saw it as corruption legislation.
Another politician gets protection
In Elba, the city school board is protecting their school superintendent who faces federal bribery charges. Despite court papers saying he will plead guilty to the charges next month, the Elba City School Board decided Monday to keep former state Representative Terry Spicer on the job as the city’s school superintendent.
A motion was brought up to remove him from the position, but no board member would second the motion to allow a vote. Unless the board members change their minds, he’s got a few more weeks to serve.
Country Crossing developer Ronnie Gilley’s lobbyist Jarrod Massey told the court last February he had made payments as high as $3000 a month to Spicer for years. Massey also testified he gave Spicer tickets to concerts and football games and helped him buy a $9,000 boat.
The federal charges Spicer is expected to admit November 15 that from 2004 to 2010 Spicer “did corruptly solicit, demand, accept, and agree to accept something of value intending to be influenced and rewarded in connection with the business, transaction, and series of transactions of such state government…”
The Alabama Association of School Boards says when Spicer pleads guilty, he automatically loses his job as an convicted felon.