Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer
Republican legislators acted with racist and political motives when they testified for the prosecution in the federal Alabama bingo case, a U.S. District judge says in a new ruling.
Sen. Scott Beason (R-Gardendale, photo above) and Rep. Benjamin Lewis (R-Dothan) drew harsh words from Judge Myron Thompson. The public likely will focus on Beason's role in the story because he has received national attention for sponsoring Alabama's strict and controversial immigration law. But Lewis, now a state district judge in Houston County, is a close ally to former Governor Bob Riley and was appointed to a judgeship by Riley. Democrats have pointed to that appointment as a possible quid pro quo in exchange for Lewis' no vote on bingo legislation.
Considering Lewis' close ties to Riley, and Riley's close ties to current House Speaker Mike Hubbard, Judge Thompson's ruling could be seen as a full-blown condemnation of the Alabama GOP. Reports al.com:
U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson in an order today lambasted two key prosecution witnesses in the State House vote-buying case as being motivated by political ambition and racial prejudice.
Thompson said Republicans Sen. Scott Beason of Gardendale and former Rep. Benjamin Lewis of Dothan had ulterior motives when they assisted investigators in the case. Beason and Lewis were key prosecution witnesses in the case, in which VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor and others were charged with offering and taking bribes to try to get a gambling bill approved in the Alabama Legislature. The two Republicans said they approached FBI agents after they felt gambling interests made improper offers to try to secure their votes on the bill.- Advertisement -
Ironically, Thompson ruled for the prosecution in the order--while thrashing the prosecution's two key witnesses. At the crux of his order, Thompson found that statements of alleged co-conspirators could be admitted at trial. (See the full order below.)