Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer
The attorney representing Country Crossing developer Ronnie Gilley in the Alabama bingo trial has a federal drug-trafficking conviction on his record.
David J. Harrison, of Geneva, was convicted in March 1997 of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and sentenced to 30 months in federal prison. Veteran investigative journalist John Caylor, editor of insider-magazine.com, has provided documents and other evidence to Legal Schnauzer, showing that a federal jury in Dothan found Harrison guilty and his appeal was unsuccessful. (See court documents at the end of this post.)
Harrison entered an appearance as one of Gilley's attorneys in the bingo case on April 21, 2011. Gilley entered a guilty plea the next day, and he has been testifying this week--although he did not take the stand yesterday because of an illness.
Before Harrison made an appearance, Gilley's lawyers were G. Douglas Jones, Thomas J. Butler, Anil A. Mujumdar, and Jeremy S. Walker, of the Birmingham firm Haskell Slaughter. The Haskell Slaughter lawyers withdrew from the case on May 17, leaving Harrison as Gilley's attorney.
Doug Jones refused to comment about Harrison's background when contacted this morning.
How was a lawyer with a federal drug-trafficking conviction on his record reinstated to the Alabama State Bar? How did said lawyer come to represent Ronnie Gilley in a high-profile federal prosecution? Did Harrison's criminal record put him and his client in a compromised position? Is Gilley's guilty plea legitimate or was he somehow coerced because of his lawyer's history? What role did Doug Jones and the other Haskell Slaughter lawyers play in Harrison's appearance as Gilley's lawyer? How much did lead prosecutor Louis Franklin know about Harrison's background and did he use such knowledge to help ensure that at least some convictions were obtained in the bingo case?