Federal indictment: 11 Alabama casino heads, senators, lobbyists indicted in vote buying probe

By Phillip Rawls, AP
Monday, October 4, 2010

11 Ala casino heads, senators, lobbyists indicted

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The owner of Alabama’s largest casino, four state senators and several top lobbyists have been indicted on federal charges accusing them of vote buying in an effort to get a bill passed that would have legalized electronic bingo.

The indictment was released Monday as FBI agents made arrests at several locations across the state.

It accused the casino owners and statehouse figures of conspiring to make payments and campaign donations to affect “pro-gambling legislation.”

VictoryLand casino owner Milton McGregor is among those indicted. His casino, now shut down, has more than 6,000 electronic bingo machines. Also indicted was Country Crossing casino developer Ronnie Gilley and state Sens. Harri Anne Smith, James Prueitt, Larry Means and Quinton Ross Jr.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The owner of Alabama’s largest casino and a state senator have been arrested as part of a federal investigation of political corruption.

The arrests come amid Gov. Bob Riley’s efforts against electronic bingo gambling in Alabama.

A federal grand jury in Montgomery has been investigating whether political corruption or vote buying was involved in an unsuccessful effort to pass legislation to legalize bingo casinos.

Sources tell The Associated Press that VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor and state Sen. Harri Anne Smith were picked up Monday morning. The charges were not immediately available.

The sources are familiar with the investigation’s developments and spoke on condition of anonymity because an official announcement is to be made later.

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