Monday, June 27, 2011

Gilley: Randy Owen of Alabama urged senator how to vote

Randy Owen, lead singer of the legendary country band Alabama, pushed then-state Sen. Charles Bishop to vote for legislation that would have helped casinos in the state, according to testimony Monday in a federal corruption trial from Country Crossing developer Ronnie Gilley.
Gilley, who was on the stand for a third day, talked with VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor about Owen talking to Bishop and his wife.
The men were talking in a conversation secretly recorded by the FBI.
McGregor is one of nine defendants in a federal corruption case alleging he, Gilley and other gambling interests tried to bribe state lawmakers to support pro-gambling legislation. Gilley has already pleaded guilty.
Bishop’s wife told Owen her husband was voting for the pro-gambling legislation, but Bishop told the musician he was not, according to Gilley. Bishop is a Republican from Walker County.
Gilley said Owen’s wife and Bishop’s wife are best friends.
McGregor encouraged Gilley to try to have Owen’s wife reach out to Bishop’s wife.
Gilley said Owen, who still lives in the state, was an ambassador for the project and like other country music performers wanted to see Country Crossing succeed.
“They were excited to have a place to perform that wasn’t so far from Nashville,” Gilley said.
Owen is a potential witness in the case.

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