Monday, June 13, 2011

Judge: Gov. Riley can't be subpoenaed for bingo trial

Bob Riley on motorcycle.JPGFormer Alabama Gov. Bob Riley rides a motorcycle into a 2006 press conference at the Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds. A judge has decided the defense in the State House vote-buying trial did not show why the former governor's testimony would be relevant. Riley can now begin a motorcycle trip to Alaska, as planned.

MONTGOMERY, Alabama — A judge on Sunday blocked efforts by casino owner Milton McGregor to subpoena former Gov. Bob Riley to testify in the government corruption against him and eight others.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Terry Moorer ruled McGregor's lawyers failed to show the relevancy of Riley's testimony. The judge also blocked McGregor's efforts to subpoena three high-ranking state police officials from Riley's administration.
The ex-governor's attorney, Matt Lembke, said the ruling cleared the way for Riley to leave, as planned, on Monday for a motorcycle trip from Alabama to Alaska.
Lembke argued in a court hearing Saturday that there was no reason to subpoena Riley. He said the judge's order Sunday night confirmed that.
"Governor Riley had nothing to do with the Obama Justice Department's investigation of this alleged bribery case," he said.
Defense lawyer Joe Espy told the judge Saturday that he wanted to question Riley about whether there was a connection between the federal investigation and efforts by the ex-governor's gambling task force to shut down McGregor's electronic bingo casino in Shorter last year.
The judge said McGregor's lawyers never showed why the testimony by Riley and state police officials was necessary for his defense. He said the lawyers had not talked to or tried to question Riley and the Department of Public Safety officials and did not know what information they might possess.
The judge left open the possibility that McGregor could try to subpoena the four again later if testimony in the trial shows they might be relevant witnesses.
Prosecuting and defense attorneys chose a jury for the trial Thursday and gave opening statements Friday. Prosecutor Louis Franklin said testimony will begin Monday with Republican state Sen. Scott Beason of Gardendale, who wore a recording device for the FBI while talking to some of the defendants

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